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Psychotherapy without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective Paperback – October 28, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Psychotherapy without the Self is mandatory reading for anyone seeking to understand today's axial event in psychoanalysis—the encounter of the Freudian and subsequent schools with the Buddhist psychological tradition. Epstein's insights are utterly penetrating, brilliant in uncanny comparisons and clear critical contrasts, altogether illuminating. It is elegantly and wittily written—a real pleasure to read. And don't worry, there is a self, just different from the one that can't be found!"—Robert A. F. Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Buddhist Studies, Columbia University, author of Inner Revolution and Infinite Life

(Robert A. F. Thurman) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mark Epstein, M.D., is a psychiatrist in private practice and clinical assistant professor of psychology at New York University. His previous books include Thoughts without a Thinker, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart, Open to Desire¸ and Going On Being.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300143133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300143133
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Larry R. Decker on December 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is an invaluable book for all therapists. Epstein does a masterful job of connecting analytic thought with Buddhist teachings. He apparently speaks from experience when he discusses the difficulties we all encounter along our paths. Then he goes a step further and shows how these insights can help direct the therapeutic encounter. This is a genuine, sincere, honest expression from the heart. I am very grateful.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'd really hoped that Epstein's latest book would be similar to his other books, but unfortunately it isn't. It's a book written more for therapists than for people in general and features previously published academic articles. While the prose isn't too terribly hard to read or filled with academic jargon, it's clear that the intended audience probably has a deeper schooling in therapy than the average reader would.

It's an interesting perspective on Epstein's psychotherapeutic history and how his perspective has changed, but if you're looking for something, I'd recommend reading his earlier books instead.
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I highly recommend this book for those who question the borderland between spirituality and psychotherapy. As a growth oriented psychotherapist, I have an ongoing curiosity about what defines psychotherapy as different from spiritual growth and realization. This book provides some key understandings of the correlations between buddhist practices and how they can be understood from a psychoanalytical perspective. Both camps benefit from this kind of intelligent communication between the two disciplines. I especially appreciated how concentration meditation can mislead a person into thinking they have "arrived" as they access a symbiotic experience, and not realize the further development of consciousness through the separation/individuation process, which unfolds out of this initial merged experience.
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This is a wonderful book by a practicing psychiatrist, perfect for this point in my life. Based on a deep knowledge of both Buddhism and psychotherapy, Epstein resolves for me the perplexing apparent contradiction between Buddhism's "no-self" and psychotherapy's focus on the Self and its difficulties. Subtle, personally engaging and well-written, it is full of wisdom based on Epstein's broad study,reflection, and his own life experience.
Because it is a collection of articles and essays written over many years, there is some repetition, but it never hurts to hear these insights more than once.
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By Ramatruda on November 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is made up of a variety of papers that Mark Epstein has written over the course of his career. He uses a very formal language that is occasionally hard to understand. I found the content to be of use, but if I had known the writing style and layout of this book before I bought it I would most likely have thought twice about purchasing this particular text.
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Format: Paperback
Why is Buddhism only meditation ??
And why is Psychotherapy only Psychoanalysis ? This book was a very important step to connect Buddhism with Therapy, but now, there are better book on the market....
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I like all Mark Epstein's books and I often reread them. I like his perspective and I find his books to be easy to understand. Of course, I also embrace his kind of pragmatic synthesis of western psychotherapy and eastern Buddhist views of the Self (or not Self, if you prefer).
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