Epstein discusses the rise of his interest in psychotherapy
and Buddhism, combining ideas from both approaches to human life. He explains how early in his life he felt
psychologically empty and did not know who he was, and he found that while a
psychologist told him he was suffering from the Oedipal Complex, Buddhist
teachings, and his learning from Ram Dass and even the Dalai Lama, showed him
that he is was alright to feel empty, and that he did not necessarily have to
try to rid himself of that feeling. He
also emphasizes that Buddhism does not advocate that we should try to rid
ourselves of emotions, and he says that many Buddhists he has known have been
full of emotion. Indeed, while western
mental health seeks to eliminate bad feelings, such as unhappiness, grief, regret,
and anxiety, Buddhism recommends accepting oneself as one is, and becoming free
by giving up a striving to be different.
This is the central idea all through this audiobook, and Epstein uses a
variety of stories about himself and other people he has encountered to explain
it. He has been influenced by psychoanalysis, especially the work of DW
Winnicott, as well as modern psychiatry and ancient and modern Buddhist
thought, and this is a fascinating combination.
speaker, Epstein is calm and straightforward on this audiobook. Of course, the experience of listening is
very different from that of reading, and probably most people would be able to
get more detailed knowledge from a printed book. Nevertheless, this is a useful introduction to the connections
between Buddhism and psychotherapy.
© 2002 Christian Perring. First Serial Rights.
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is
Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is
editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in psychiatry. He is especially interested in exploring
how philosophers can play a greater role in public life, and he is keen to help
foster communication between philosophers, mental health professionals, and the