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Brilliant Sanity: Buddhist Approaches to Psychotherapy Paperback – March 3, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0976463849 ISBN-10: 0976463849 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Universities of the Rockies Press; 1 edition (March 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976463849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976463849
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #718,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


BRILLIANT SANITY is a rare feat. This engaging and informative book is sure to become essential for psychotherapy scholars, acceptance and mindfulness researchers, and clinicians alike. This is one not to be missed.

-- DOUG MENNIN, Ph.D. Yale University -- Book Cover

Celebrating contemplatively informed psychotherapy, this exciting volume contains a rich sampling of thought and practice that emerges out of the ongoing dialogue between the liberating tradition of Buddhist wisdom and meditation, and the modern healing tradition of psychotherapy. I strongly recommend this work for those interested in expanding their vision through a variety of perspectives in the emergent world of contemplative psychotherapy.

-Harvey B. Aronson, Ph.D., author Buddhist Practice on Western Ground, -- Book cover, full version

From my first contact with Buddhism I realized it's virtual simpatico with the therapeutic process. Various elements in Buddhism rang a bell.The concept of immediacy as a form of dynamic transference; the self translating into the observing ego, and being receptive to induced feelings.I received the same psychological nutrients as I had in the most significant moments of therapeutic leverage. I was at home in the arena of Buddhism and I was going west because there was so much more to gain. When I met Chöygam Trungpa, I knew I was in the presence of a Master. Almost everything he said I could fit into my treatment schema. I absorbed his incorruptable honesty in pursuing and confronting pathology and I made it part of the warp and woof of my professional functioning. The same spirit emanated from all his faculty and community, and above all they showed me the presence of resistance and habitual patterns that hold us prisoner. This book opens the door to a vital appreciation of working with patients in the moment. To overlook it, is to overlook the essence of our craft.

- Louis Ormont, Ph. D. Author of The Group Therapy Expereince -- Book Cover, full version

Many patients arrive at psychotherapy seeking quick solutions for permanent, pain-free happiness, but both Freud and the Buddha knew that this was not essential human nature. This excellent book succeeds at a daunting task: the integration of Buddhist core values into Western psychotherapy practice and training. It provides the reader of multiple perspectives, yet it is remarkably well written and easy to read. One should not assume that an Eastern philosophy can be easily integrated into Western culture, and this is one of the most culturally sensitive psychotherapy books I've read. Openness of mind involves feeling pain; clarity means accepting things as they are, and compassion involves letting go of self-protection. I recommend this book to all clinicians - Buddhist or not - interested in thinking more about how to help people uncover their brilliant sanity.

-Eleanor F. Counselman, Ed.D., ABPP, Harvard Medical School -- Book Cover, full version

When Chöygam Trungpa started to train psychotherapists in Buddhist meditation more than thirty years ago, he envisioned a new therapy that would be informed by wisdom, compassion, and scholarship. This collection captures this vision. It brings forth the heart of Buddhism as applied to the contemporary practice of psychology. - The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, author of Turning the Mind into an Ally and Ruling Your World. -- Book Cover

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Leanne K. Beasley on September 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Brilliant Sanity: Buddhist Approaches to Psychotherapy. The many contributors to this work highlight the multi-faceted, compassionate Buddhist view of working with clients in a clinical setting. In the process we, as therapists, discover and rediscover own own wisdom and Brilliant Sanity. I have found in my own practice that clients resonate with the teachings that they are fine as they are; that they have the choice to make changes in their lives or not; and that life is a journey that includes suffering. The work of therapy is to understand our suffering and let go of attachments and the beliefs we hold that are not true. Finally we discover that the more responsibility we take for our own thoughts, feelings, attitudes and actions, the more we are able to make the informed decision that we can trust ourselves to make our lives workable. This book is a brilliant compilation of many of the important Buddhist teachers who have brought, and continue to bring, the important Buddhist view to Western psychotherapeutic practice. Anyone interested in learning how eastern and western approaches to psychotherapy enhance each other will find this book a valuable resource.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey M. Price on May 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Brilliant Sanity" is based on the teachings of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the man credited with bringing Buddhism to the West in the early 1970's. The articles by the editors and other authors (especially those by Dr. Karen Wegela, Dr. Robert Unger, Dr. Mark Epstein, Matthew Tomatz, Michael Dow, Elizabeth A. Olson, and others) explain in detail how psychotherapy (including brain chemistry) and Buddhism can beautifully and profoundly come together when working with special populations, group therapy, the therapeutic environment and more. The ground, of course, is to relieve suffering. The importance and value of mindfulness and awareness, lynchpins of a Buddhist practice, pervade each chapter. Taking brilliant sanity to heart, in my own private practice I try to help my clients and groups focus on the here-and-now while maintaining my own presence. Needless to say there is much work for me to do (inner and outer), but books like this help so much. "Brilliant Sanity" puts it all into words and, if taken to heart, the world of psychotherapy will be benefit from it. I believe this book is an important exposition on how to help others. I now carry it around with me wherever I go. In a word, it is brilliant.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A book to read over a long time, savoring the wisdom there. I am biased because I went to Naropa and know many of these teachers, however, it is undeniably a rare compilation of this kind. Many are long time practitioners, all are very interesting people, with a very wise spin on therapy from a Buddhist Point of view.
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More About the Author

Louis Hoffman, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and faculty member at Sabyrook University in Oakland, California, where he also serves as director of the Existential, Humanistic, and Transpersonal Psychology Specialization as well as serving as co-director of the International Psychology and Socially Engaged Spirituality Certificates. Dr. Hoffman is also a past-president of the Society of Humanistic Psychology and co-founder of the Zhi Mian International Institute for Existential-Humanistic Psychology. Although the majority of his published works are scholarly in nature, he is also a published poet with interest in diverse genres of writing and literature. His first several books explored the interface of religious and spiritual issues with psychology, often integrating an existential, humanistic, and depth psychology perspectives. In Existential Psychology East-West, Dr. Hoffman's focus shifted to a more primary focus on the existential perspectives in psychology. In addition to writing and teaching, Dr. Hoffman also maintains a clinical practice, is a regular speaker at conferences, and travels to China to engage in dialogues and provide trainings on existential psychology and the psychology of religion/spirituality.

More information on Dr. Hoffman's scholarly work can be found at:

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Brilliant Sanity: Buddhist Approaches to Psychotherapy
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