Sunday, April 19, 2009

A little info on Contemplative Psychotherapy

There is an article here about Contemplative Psychotherapy, which is the MA that I (Tristin) will be working towards for the next three years. It is the best description I have come across, and it should answer any questions that people might have (Thanks to Jennifer Patsy for the link).

In a nutshell, Contemplative Psychotherapy is the lovechild of Buddhist philosophy and Western Psychology. It is based on the assumption that we are all sane, brilliant individuals that suffer from a lack of clarity. This viewpoint is in opposition to the prevalent Western assumptions that everyone is broken at the core and inherently evil. When a Contemplative therapist looks at you she sees a shining soul rather than a bleeding heart. Mental health is often just a blink away rather than a million hours of therapy away.

I love the Contemplative approach to psychology for several reasons. One of the reasons is that it jives so well with the LDS belief in the wise soul. While church doctrine states that the natural man is evil and the flesh is subject to temptations of all kinds, the soul within has a desire to do good and--in its natural state--is happy. The less-than-ideal events of life and our failures to be honest with ourselves culminate in a perception of existence that is inaccurate and unhelpful. A person with such a perception is considered ill. The truth is that they simply need some help shedding the layers of garbage to see clearly again.

Granted, there are cases of severe mental illness that can be attributed to genetics and brain chemistry. There are some cases of severe mental illness that (possibly) cannot simply be fixed with a 50-minute conversation. I'm not talking about those cases right now. I'm talking about unhappy people who have complete control over their ability to be happy and need to take responsibility for that control, which is somewhere between 90-99% of humanity.

Hopefully I just cleared up more questions than I created. When I feel the urge I'll post some more about what I'm learning and my own personal thoughts about what it all means.

1 comment:

  1. Trisin, Nice to meet you! I think what you are studying is beautiful. It's the core of Ayurveda Psychology and I love teaching the same thing to my own clients. I wish you the best and hope to get to know you as time goes on. It's wonderful to meet an open soul right here in my own back yard. I look forward to many more connections. By the way, your baby girl is beautiful! Thanks for the pictures on your Twitter! Namaste, Gwen Nitya