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The Zen of Helping: Spiritual Principles for Mindful and Open-Hearted Practice

ISBN: 978-0-470-33309-9
224 pages
August 2008
The Zen of Helping: Spiritual Principles for Mindful and Open-Hearted Practice (047033309X) cover image


Bring compassion, self-awareness, radical acceptance, practitioner presence, and caring to the relationships you have with you patients by utilizing the advice in The Zen of Helping: Spiritual Principles for Mindful and Open-Hearted Practice. As a mental health professional, you will appreciate the vivid metaphors, case examples, personal anecdotes, quotes and poems in this book and use them as a spiritual foundation for your professional practice. Connect Zen Buddhism with your human service and address issues like dealing with your own responses to your client’s trauma and pain.
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Table of Contents

Foreword (Edward R. Canda, PhD).

Foreword (Joan Halifax Roshi, PhD).



1. A Spiritual Framework for Our Clients and Ourselves (Beyond Spiritual Neutrality).

2. Sitting with Clients on Uncertain Ground: Strong Back, Soft Front (Beyond Evidence-Based Practice).

3. Radical Acceptance of Clients, Context and Self (Beyond Carl Rogers' Positive Regard).

4. Mindfulness: Steadying the Mind and Being Present (Beyond Empathy Skills and Counter-Transference).

5. Curiosity, Compassionate Caring, and Inspiration (Beyond Professional Warmth).

6. Bearing Witness to Trauma and Pain (Beyond Clinical Distance).

7. The Middle Way: Embracing Contradiction and Paradox (Beyond Dualistic Thinking).

8. Having the Conversation: Making Space for Client Spirituality (Beyond the Great Taboo).

9. Dealing with Failure (Beyond Cognitive Solutions and the Paradigm of Blame).

10. Swimming Upstream with a Warrior's Heart (Beyond Working a Human Services Job).

Appendix: Brief Introduction to Buddhism and Zen.



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Author Information

Andrew Bein, PhD, LCSW, has twenty-three years of experience as a clinician, consultant trainer, and researcher. His professional experience includes work in child welfare, public schools/special education, youth programs, multiservice centers, substance abuse, and private practice. Dr. Bein has been a Zen student for ten years and is a Full Professor with the Division of Social Work at California State University, Sacramento.
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"….aims to guide workers dealing with difficult clients with wrenching problems." (The Sacramento Bee, 9/14/08)

"Andrew Bein’s The Zen of Helping provides a wonderfully insightful, compassionate, and practical resource. Few publications provide the helping professional with guidance on how to develop the presence, nonjudgmental acceptance, compassion, and connection that are at the heart of helping relationships. Dr. Bein fills this gap in a compelling volume that reflects his extensive experience as a teacher and helping professional, combined with his deep grounding in Zen practice, and his compassionate caring in response to human suffering. I highly recommend this book."
—Alfred W. Kaszniak, Ph.D., University of Arizona, Head, Department of Psychology, Professor of Psychology, Neurology, & Psychiatry

"Through the gathering of wisdom of his teachers, the insights of his own clinical experience, and the deep spiritual exploration of his own personal journey, Dr. Bein has created a remarkable roadmap of "pointing instructions" and guidance through the complexities of our hearts and minds for all of us in the healing professions. His book is valuable tool for anyone engaged in the work of healing the suffering of others, and the work of healing the suffering of one's self."
—Larry Yang, LCSW, Guiding Dharma Teacher, East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland, CA

"The Zen of Helping offers spiritual principles and practice wisdom in a profound yet delightfully readable manner. While grounded in Zen thought, concepts are presented in a framework accessible and acceptable to helping professionals from diverse spiritual traditions. Readers will find guidance for self-care as well as for effective practice in this deep and thoughtful book. This book makes a significant contribution to the literature on spirituality and counseling practice."
—Ann W. Nichols, PhD, Arizona State University, School of Social Work and Director, Society for Spirituality and Social Work

"The Zen of Helping is a must-read, must-have book for anyone who is serious about helping those in need of care, understanding, and comfort. It is relevant across the spectrum from the novice student to the experienced therapist. Detailed case examples and personal narratives breathe life into this nuanced and revealing, well-crafted, multi-dimensional book."
—Shauna L. Smith, MSW, MFT, co-founder, Therapists for Social Responsibility

"I have read the book with great heart and joy. It is so well-written, original, clear, helpful, and wise. I think this book will be an invaluable contribution, not only to social work, but many other disciplines."
—Joan Halifax Roshi, Ph.D., Upaya Zen Center

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The Zen of Helping: Spiritual Principles for Mindful and Open-Hearted Practice (US $45.00)

-and- Empowering Dialogues Within: A Workbook for Helping Professionals and Their Clients (US $44.00)

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