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Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism Paperback – December 1, 2010
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"An engaging account that puts the relational encounter of two human beings at the center of both practices. Jennings enriches stories about her own analyst and her Tibetan lama with an easy and wide-ranging fluency in both psychoanalytic theory and Buddhist thought." (Barry Magid, author of Ending the Pursuit of Happiness)
"Mixing Minds is at once skillfully dialogical and comparative, showing how Buddhist and psychoanalytic notions of relationality may be complementary without either being reduced to the terms of the other." (Mark Unno, editor of Buddhism and Psychotherapy across Cultures)
"With a deeply personal, erudite, and poetic voice Pilar Jennings tackles the paradox inherent in all the Buddhist traditions: while the Buddha attained his enlightenment as a solitary effort, we must do so in relationship. And Mixing Minds makes you yearn for just that kind of transformative relationship." (Arnie Kozak, author of Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants)
"Jennings is a long-time practicing Buddhist and psychotherapist, who is well-placed to discuss how contrasting approaches to wellness can affect our relationships. She explores the synergy, examining why the focus on relationships is relevant to religion and how, although they do differ, Buddhism and psychoanalysis are actually compatible healing traditions. A useful and readable adjunct to the libraries of Buddhist students, and people in analysis, as well as their analysts: in fact, anyone who wants to be well and free from suffering." (Mandala Magazine: Editors Choice)
About the Author
Jeremy D. Safran, PhD, is a professor of clinical psychology at the New School for Social Research in New York. He received his doctorate in psychology from the University of British Columbia in 1982 and his postdoctoral certification in psychoanalysis from New York University in 2001. To learn more about his psychotherapy research lab, visit www.safranlab.net
Top Customer Reviews
She begins with her own story. Dr. Jennings emphasizes that no mature understanding of psychoanalysis or Buddhism can rely on facile summaries. Her study, grounded in theory but alighting on her everyday life, delves into both approaches. Here a student and teacher, patient and doctor, come together to help the injured recover a sense of wholeness. She favors emptiness, a fundamental dharma concept, as essential. She suggests that counselors open themselves and their clients up to a more playful, open-ended evolution of their psychic encounters into the "pregnant void" where the fluid Buddhist model, of no-self and impermanence, allows more freedom for both the expert provider and the searching supplicant.
Coming to terms with a self which learns not to trust in fixed goals or settled moods may help fragmented Westerners, whether or not Buddhist practitioners, to understand as lived behavior these arcane concepts of "no-self" and "emptiness.Read more ›
This book has a fairly specific target audience. I think it will be most relevant and useful to practicing psychoanalysts and psychotherapists looking to integrate or at the very least understand Buddhist practices, and/or other spiritual and religious beliefs, in the context of their work. It also is an invaluable read for any Buddhist teacher teaching in the West, as it explores the cultural differences that historically impacted the development of both psychoanalysis in the West, and Buddhism in the East. These cultural differences are often at the heart of misunderstandings between teachers and students, and Ms. Jennings' insights into these are illuminating.
Of course anyone interested in either psychoanalysis, Buddhism, or both will also appreciate this book, especially any Buddhist practitioner also engaged in or considering psychoanalysis. But it is an erudite read, often comparing and contrasting psychoanalytic theories and theorists that most people outside the field will not be familiar with. That being said, I appreciated this book greatly, and I was not familiar with many of the theories discussed (beyond those of Freud and Jung).
I thought Ms.Read more ›
Robert A. Jonas, Ed.D.
In "Mixing Minds," psychoanalyst and Tibetan Buddhist practitioner Pilar Jennings focuses on "the power of relationship in psychoanalysis and Buddhism." For her, there is a crucial core of relationality in both practices, namely the teacher and student in Buddhism, and the analyst and analysand (patient) in psychoanalysis. Jennings asks how these pairs both parallel and differ from each other, and how the respective practices might inform each other to create a more healing environment.
Jennings seeks an answer to these questions by examining Buddhist and psychoanalytic approaches to some common themes, such as desire, aggression, and idealization, and the goal of each practice. As she surveys these large and complex ideas, she provides enough grounding in both analysis and Buddhism that readers unfamiliar with one or both subjects can still appreciate her conclusions. In her best moments, she also offers stories of her own life and practice (of both Buddhism and analysis) in a strikingly genial and humble voice.
In Jennings' view, Buddhism and psychoanalysis aim at similar but distinct goals, and thus can meaningfully complement but not replace one another. As she sees it, Buddhism tends to treat the individual as primarily an instance of the overarching type of deluded suffering that afflicts all people.Read more ›