PAPER TOPICS II: REL 407/507 Buddhism and Psychotherapy

Due Tuesday, Feb 21, in class.

Choose one of the topics below.

1. Jeremy Safran, "Cross-Cultural Dialogue," and Harvey Aronson, "Buddhist Practice in Relation to Self-Representation"
In these two articles from Buddhism and Psychotherapy Across Cultures, Safran and Aronson examine Buddhism and psychotherapy in cultural context, discussing such themes of the understanding of self as autonomous individual versus self in communal context, Buddhist practices of insight into "reality" versus psychotherapeutic attention to interpersonal problems involving emotions. Identify two such themes (you can use the ones outlined here if you like) they share, describing the different contributions by the two authors, and then discuss one theme each that is unique that author.

2. Julie Hanada-Lee, "Shan-dao's Verses on Guiding Others and Healing the Heart"
In this article from Buddhism and Psychotherapy Across Cultures, Hanada-Lee discusses the course of her Clinical Pastoral Education program (CPE), she had to learn to see and embrace (or be embraced) in her own difficult emotions in order to learn to work with clients. Discuss this in light of the individuation process in Jung's Analytical Psychology as described by the Moacanin chapter we read for Week 3 (or Ann Ulanov's Creativity and Madness), especially the aspect of confronting and integrating the shadow. What are possible limitations of seeing Hanada-Lee's story in light of the Jungian individuation paradigm of Analytical Psychology?

3. Karen Kissel Wegela, The Courage To Be Present
In this work, Wegela defines "exchange" taught in the context of the Contemplative Psychotherapy program at Naropa University as the "direct experience of another being," in which one can 'pick up' the feelings being experienced by another, such as a client. Discuss the story of Hanada-Lee from the perspective of the practice of "exchange," especially as found in the relation between Hanada-Lee's supervisor and herself, then herself and her client. Comment on any relevant cultural factors that might influence the process or practice of "exchange." 

4. Culture and Mind
Apply cultural observations made by Engler, Safran, and Aronson (from readings in Week 5) to practices and/or life experiences described in one of the readings from Week 6 to illuminate the nature of mind dealt with in psychotherapy and/or Buddhist practice. What aspects are culturally shaped? What aspects seem more universal? You do not have to use all three articles. You can choose ideas from two of the three: Engler, Safran, Aronson articles from Week 5.

5. Select your own topic
Identify one passage from among the readings from Weeks 5 and 6 that relate to a topic concerning Buddhism and psychotherapy that you would like to develop further. Formulate a one paragraph description of the topic that you would like to pursue, in terms of a) a psychological problem that you would like to examine, in a clinical sense; b) a philosophical problem of the similarities and differences between a particular Western psychological view of mind and a Buddhist one; c) a comparison and contrast between Buddhist views of practice and psychotherapeutic views of therapy. Discuss how the passage you have selected helps to address the topic or question that you have selected to work on. If there is another topic you would like to do on your own, then please see me.