Awhile back Sensei Alex Kakyuo posted a blog stating that Buddhism is not therapy.
This prompted a lot of comments and discussion among various camps in Buddhism. Some see Buddhist practice as a self-help tool, while others see Buddhism as a religious practice. Then there are some who see it as a both—a middle way, if you will.
One aspect that was brought up is that being a trained mental health therapist is not the same as being an ordained monk, lay priest, or long time practitioner. Alex talked about how some people approach him with their issues and problems as though he were a therapist. We thought this would be a great discussion so we invited Barry Magid, a psychoanalyst and Zen teacher to be a guest on our podcast along with Gesshin Claire Greenwood.
Barry Magid established The Ordinary Mind Zendo, where he became the founding teacher and in 1998, he received Dharma transmission, which gave him full authorization to teach Zen independently. He is the author of Ordinary Mind: Exploring the Common Ground of Zen and Psychoanalysis (2002), Ending the Pursuit of Happiness (2008) and Nothing is Hidden: The Psychology of Zen Koans (2013). His psychoanalytic orientation integrates Self Psychology, the school founded by Heinz Kohut, with contemporary Relational psychoanalytic theory. He is on the faculty of The Mitchell Center for Relational Studies, The Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and has served on the board of The International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP).
Gesshin Claire Greenwood is a feminist author, Buddhist priest, and mental health worker. She is the author of Bow First, Ask Questions Later: Ordination, Love and Monastic Zen in Japan, and has been practicing Vipassana and Zen for over 12 years. An ordained Zen priest, she spent over 5 years in Japan, training in monasteries, studying, and teaching. Alongside James Ford, she is involved with Empty Moon Zen Sangha, and leads Buddhist retreats throughout California
Sensei Alex Kakuyo is a former Marine, author, and Buddhist teacher in the Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism. He teaches a nonsectarian approach to the Dharma, which encourages students to seek enlightenment in everyday life. You can find him by visiting his blog, The Same Old Zen,Twitter: @sameoldzen and hear some of his Dharma talks on YouTube.
Listen as we discuss how Buddhism and psychotherapy complement each other, how they intersect and some common misconceptions on whether it can be a self help tool or not.
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