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Buddhadharma : Summer 2017
70 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 2 0 1 7 ➤ Here’s an example of how a psy- chotherapist might help transform psy- chological patterning. When a client begins to feel vulnerable, she may hear a harsh voice inside calling herself stupid or weak. With exploration, we may dis- cover that that voice is exactly how the parent treated the client when she was a vulnerable child. That voice maintains the status quo; it keeps the vulnerable feelings at bay. The client calls herself weak or needy and tries to beat back these feelings with harshness and self- blame. But the harsh voice is serving a protective function, as the vulnerable feelings would have overwhelmed the child without a soothing parent to help her with them. The psychotherapist interprets the defensive nature of this harsh voice and points out that it no longer serves the client to suppress her vulnerable feelings. The vulnerable child can be invited to express herself, and the psychotherapist can respond with care and compassion. Instead of the model of harshness that was taken in from the parent, a new accepting stance is taken in, and the client learns how to treat her- self with kindness. In this way, a secure attachment is formed to the therapist. This is what Siddhartha already possessed when he began his quest for freedom; it is essen- tial for the development of a healthy sense of self. When this does not occur in childhood, it leaves us lacking. Where do adults go to meet unmet dependency needs, needs for mirroring of their authentic selves, encouragement of their true strivings, safety, and empathy? Where can adults go to finally grow up? Psychotherapy conducted from a developmental perspective—meaning therapy that takes into account the need for a secure attachment composed of safety, empathy, mirroring, nurtur- ance of the client’s authentic strivings and the deleterious effects of this not being offered in an optimal way dur- ing childhood—offers a developmental re-do. Clinicians will encourage and support the development of clients’ deepest yearnings, their true interests, and the expression of their gifts. As they are expressed and find an outlet in the world, these aspects of self that were frozen in childhood begin to grow again. Developmentally attuned psycho- therapy, therefore, is not just a working through of old patterns and belief sys- tems but also a second chance at becom- ing the true and authentic person that we were meant to be. The inner child that we’ve all heard so much about does not have to remain a child, fro- zen in time forever. With commitment and resolve, the client can become an emotionally mature adult. For all of its power, this is something that a solitary meditation practice cannot provide. Meditation can, however, support the therapeutic process. As painful thoughts and feelings emerge in treatment, a med- itator will initially be more likely than a non-meditator to understand that thoughts and feelings are internal phe- nomena that do not have to be acted on. This is a crucial step in ending problem- atic behavior and growing in conscious- ness. This skill, in combination with the internalization of the psychotherapist’s Institute of Buddhist Studies & BCA Center for Buddhist Education present Rev. John Paraskevopoulos is an ordained Shin Buddhist priest based in Australia and author of Call of the Infinite, The Fragrance of Light, and The Unhindered Path. He is editor of the online Journal of Shin Buddhism (Mur yoko). All titles available at the BCA Bookstore SUMMER PACIFIC SEMINAR – 21ST CENTURY Rev. John Paraskevopoulos www.BuddhistChurchesofAmerica.org email@example.com • (510) 809-1460 All titles available at the BCA Bookstore Keynote Speaker: Rev. John Paraskevopoulos August 18-20, 2017 Jodo Shinshu Center Berkeley, California Register online by 7/18/17 SHIN BUDDHISM: Current Challenges and Future Prospects BCA_CBE1_SmrPac_Buddhadharma.indd 1 3/14/2017 12:39:14 PM ZAZEN & YOUR ZEN SANGHA Jundo Cohen, teacher www.treeleaf.org Treeleaf is the online practice place for people who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health, location, work, childcare or family needs. We provide netcast Zazen, Retreats, discussion, Jukai, the support of fellow practitioners, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online, accessible anytime, without charge. The focus is Shikantaza “Just Sitting” Zazen. online, any place, any time you need Come build the future of online Zen Community and Practice