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Psychotherapy East and West by Alan Watts

Psychotherapy East and West by Alan Watts

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Published by Shikari Sher
Psychotherapy East and West by Alan Watts
Psychotherapy East and West by Alan Watts

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Published by: Shikari Sher on Feb 21, 2014
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09/06/2014

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 Psychotherapy East and West 
byAlan Watts
The following text consists of excerpts from Alan Watts' book, Psychotherapy East and West, selected by Heron Stone.
** 
means that part of a paragraph is missing. Editorial comments have been added and appear within brackets.
 
 1. Psychotherapy and Liberation
If we look deeply into such ways of life as Buddhism and Taoism, Vedanta and Yoga, wedo not find either philosophy or religion as these are understood in the West. We findsomething more nearly resembling psychotherapy. This may seem surprising, for we[many] think of the latter as a form of science, somewhat practical and materialistic inattitude, and the former as extremely esoteric religions concerned with areas of thespirit almost entirely out of this world. This is because the combination of ourunfamiliarity with Eastern cultures and their sophistication gives them an aura of mystery into which we project fantasies of our own making. Yet the basic aim of these ways of life is something of quite astonishing simplicity, beside which all thecomplications of reincarnation and psychic powers, of superhuman mahatmas, and of schools of occult technology, are a smoke screen in which the credulous inquirer canlose himself indefinitely 
.
**
The main resemblance between the Eastern way of life and Western psychotherapy is inthe concern of both with bringing about changes of consciousness, changes in our waysof feeling our own existence and our relation to human society and the natural world.The psychotherapist has, for the most part, been interested in changing theconsciousness of peculiarly disturbed individuals. The disciplines of Buddhism andTaoism are, however, concerned with changing the consciousness of normal, socially adjusted people. But it is increasingly apparent to psychotherapists that the normal stateof consciousness in our culture is both the context and the breeding ground of mentaldisease. A complex of societies of vast material wealth bent on mutual destruction isanything but a condition of social health.Nevertheless, the parallel between psychotherapy and, as I have called them, theEastern "ways of liberation" is not exact, and one of the most important differences issuggested by the prefix psycho-. Historically, Western psychology has directed itself tothe study of the psyche or mind as a clinical entity, whereas Eastern cultures have notcategorized mind and matter, soul and body, in the same way as the Western. But Western psychology has to some extent so outgrown its historical origins as to become

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