Buddhism and Psychotherapy 2ABSTRACTThis thesis was designed to explore the experiences of psychologists in Australiawho work as psychotherapists, and who have an interest in Buddhism. The core researchquestion was:
What are the professional and personal experiences and perspectives of psychologists in Australia who are informed by Buddhism in the way they conceptualise,approach, and conduct psychotherapy?
Two related supporting questions were:
How do Buddhist principles inform different aspects of psychotherapy (e.g., therapist self-care,client interventions)?
In what ways do therapists incorporate Buddhist concepts(e.g., compassion) and techniques (e.g., mindfulness) into psychotherapy?
In Study 1, the qualitative core of the research, I explored the experiences andimpressions of psychologists interested in bringing a Buddhist perspective to psychotherapy. Initial and follow-up interviews were conducted with 14 participants.Buddhist understandings, including suffering, compassion, and mindfulness, werediscussed in relation to psychotherapy. Participant psychologists revealed that certainBuddhist ideas and techniques contributed to their perceived efficacy and wellbeing astherapists, as well as to good therapeutic processes and outcomes for clients. Using aninterpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach, the two guiding principles of
emerged from the interviews. Under the guiding principle of compassion, the two major themes that emerged were:
the truth of suffering
an acknowledgement of suffering
causes of suffering
suffering as a path
). Theguiding principle of wisdom also incorporated two major themes:
a present orientation
the primacy of direct experience
being with what is
empowerment through understanding