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Shoulder to Shoulder, Eye to Eye: Relationships in Buddhism & Psychotherapy
Dates: Sep 02, 2022 - Sep 05, 2022
Days: Fri - Mon (3 Nights)

Instructor(s): Polly Young-Eisendrath, Mark Unno

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Buddhist practices can be understood as inquiries into individual experience within a community, whereas analytic psychotherapy is an inquiry into mutual discovery through a dyadic relationship. While Buddhism invites us to investigate the subjective and objective worlds, psychotherapy especially invites us to investigate the intersubjective. In this course, we will explore both the resonances and divergences between psychotherapy and Buddhist practice in these regards, focusing on selected strands in depth psychology and psychoanalysis, on the one hand, and Zen, Pure Land Buddhism, and Vipassana Mindfulness, on the other. Themes of subjectivity, objectivity, and intersubjectivity will be especially helpful in thinking through Buddhism in a Western context, where the majority of practitioners are living in couple and family relationships. The course emphasizes both embodied practice and reflective inquiry.

Noble Silence and Mindful Speech: 

Noble silence will be observed following the evening session through breakfast the following morning.

Experience Level:

This course is suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

Three spaces will be held for self-identified BIPOC participants until eight weeks before this course begins when they will be released generally. Therefore, we encourage you to join the waitlist even if the course appears full as additional spaces may become available. Please see our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies for more information.

As we work to become a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming; please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.

  • Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst, psychologist, and psychotherapist in private practice. She is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont and the founder and director of the Institute for Dialogue Therapy. She is past president of the Vermont Association for Psychoanalytic Studies and a founding member of the Vermont Institute for the Psychotherapies. Polly is also the chairperson of Enlightening Conversations, a series of conversational conferences which bring together participants from the front lines of Buddhism and psychoanalysis.

  • Mark Unno, PhD, is the Thomas F. Herman Distinguished Teaching Award associate professor of East Asian Buddhism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Oregon. He is also an ordained Shin Buddhist priest and author of Shingon Refractions (2004) as well as many articles on Shin and Zen Buddhism and comparative religion.