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Zen Meditation in Psychotherapy: Techniques for Clinical Practice

ISBN: 978-0-470-94826-2
272 pages
November 2011
Zen Meditation in Psychotherapy: Techniques for Clinical Practice (0470948264) cover image
"The world and all that is in it expresses reality. Every therapy session, each moment in your life, is a koan to be solved, an opportunity to learn about your deeper being. How you respond is your choice. You always have the option to respond with your most enlightened nature."
from Zen Meditation in Psychotherapy

A thoughtful and pragmatic guide for integrating Zen meditation into traditional psychotherapy

Grounded in both neuroscientific and clinical evidence that supports the use of Zen meditation to improve clients' mental health, this inspiring "how-to" guide encourages creative use of its techniques to suit your personal therapeutic style as well as your clients' needs.

Zen Meditation in Psychotherapy provides you with methods that can be seamlessly integrated into ongoing treatments for a broad range of psychological problems, as well as with ways to enhance your own life, both professionally and personally.

It covers:

  • General protocol for integrating meditation into treatments at every phase

  • Applying meditation for problems such as depression, anger, addiction, and weight management

  • Meditative ways to reduce anxiety, stress, and burnout

  • Meditative training to enhance therapeutic sensitivities

Filled with vivid case examples and writings from traditional texts, modern interpretations, meditation research, and illustrative legends, Zen Meditation in Psychotherapy encourages a therapeutic process in which clients move their attention from outside concerns to inner mindfulness. With a range of techniques that embrace the diversity and uniqueness of clients, this book offers methods and tools for seeing feelings and problems directly and objectively, which can lead to a profound shift in perspective.

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Introduction ix

Part I Research and Efficacy

1 The Psychology of Meditation and Its Efficacy for Clinical Practice 3

2 Neuroscience Findings: How Meditation Can Change the Brain 19

Part II What Is Zen?

3 Zen Traditions 35

4 Zen Philosophy 59

5 Zen Practices 73

Part III Overcoming Clients’ Suffering

6 The Way of Zen Therapy: Following the Path for Treatment 97

7 Regulating Affect for Anger and Depression 113

8 Dissolving Anxiety and Trauma 135

9 Taming Impulse for Addiction and Weight Management 153

10 Fostering Loving Relationships 171

Part IV Facilitating Therapists

11 Relieving Stress and Burnout 193

12 Developing Acumen 209

Conclusion: Living Life as an Art 223

Appendix: A Quick Tour Through the Brain 227

References 239

Index 253

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C. Alexander Simpkins, PhD, and Annellen M. Simpkins, PhD, have extensive training in psychotherapy, meditation, yoga, and Zen. They have clinical, teaching, and research experience using meditation either as the primary method or in conjunction with other forms of therapy. They have written several books on meditation, yoga, psychotherapy, and hypnosis, as well as books on several eastern philosophical traditions.
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"From the Simpkins' lifelong collaborative study of both Zen and the nuts and bolts of hypnotherapy, they synthesize the latest scientific findings--about connection, mirror neurons, attachment theory, for example--with the most ancient of meditation forms. Zen tales, and their own poems and case studies offer a treasure trove of accessible techniques we can bring into our fast paced therapies. Their approach respects the uniqueness of each client and situation, coaxing them, breath, mind and heart, to explore uncharted capacities to feel, to heal, to relate, and to be present in this moment."
Michele Ritterman, Ph.D., Author of Using Hypnosis in Family Therapy and The Tao of a Woman

"Finally, a book that not only gives us the latest scientific evidence about the benefits of meditation for clinician and clients, but details specific and practical ways to bring the meditation process to bear on the common problems brought to therapy. The Simpkins have written an accessible book on applying Zen methods of focus and insight in therapy, sprinkled with stories to engage, illuminate and inspire."
Bill O'Hanlon, Bill O'Hanlon is a licensed marriage and family counselor who has been a featured guest on Oprah and is the author of Do One Thing Different

"Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy is good reader-friendly book for both people new to these concepts as well as the seasoned meditator, yogi or yogini who wants to deepen their knowledge and practice with clients. The Simpkins are at their best in describing how everyone can learn to integrate their own brain, body, and mind to facilitate a creative synchrony of healing and well being."
Kathryn Lane Rossi, Ph.D., Los Osos, California

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