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Shoulder to Shoulder, Eye to Eye: Relationships in Buddhism & Psychotherapy
Dates: Jul 30, 2020 - Aug 02, 2020
Days: Thu - Sun (3 Nights)

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

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In many ways, Buddhism and its practices are 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.

Learning Intentions:
To explain the similarities and differences between “subjective” and "intersubjective” experiences; apply basic skills of mindfulness to surveying subjective experiences; identify the differences between “objective” and “subjective” meanings in your life and relationships; apply principles of mindfulness to the skills of speaking for yourself and close listening to another; work with psychological projections in the context of contemplative practices, therapy, and everyday relationships; acquire tools to calibrate the intersection of deepening subjective awareness (vertical dimension) and a broad range of cultural and affective landscapes (horizontal dimension).

Noble Silence and Mindful Speech:

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

Experience Level:

Suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.

CEU's: This program has been approved for 5 Social Work Continuing Education hours for relicensure, in accordance with 258 CMR. NASW-MA Chapter CE Approving Program, Authorization Number D81010.  The application for 5 continuing education credits for psychologists has been submitted for this course.   We are not able to offer CEU's for Counselors (NBCC).  Please contact us at (978-355-2347/contact@buddhistinquiry) for the status of CE accreditation. Click here for more information.

  • 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.

  • 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.