Psychotherapy with a Wise Heart
Guiding Principles & Embodied Practices of Buddhist Psychology
Application to Clinical Practice (Clinical Supervision)
September 2019 – June 2020
At the core of our being there is an indestructible “tender soft spot,” a place of openness through which life moves. It is the source of our basic goodness. When encountering threatening situations, we instinctively attempt to protect that soft tender spot in the center of our being. Over time, the protective layer becomes the habit of mind that thinks this small hut we have built for ourselves is who we are, and we become disconnected from our wise resourceful center. We forget that the only real safety is found in our innate wisdom and compassion, that the only sure protection for our vulnerability rests in openness.
How do we find our way back to the ground of our being, to the home in our heart? How do we guide others on this journey? Training the mind in the ways of nature is a place to begin. One of the words for mind in Buddhism is citta, which means heart. It is through the heart-mind that we come to know what is true, and trust in this knowing. It is only with the heart that one can see clearly says the Little Prince.
Our approach to psychotherapy is guided by specific principles, which in turn give rise to creative methods. A skillful therapist abides in these principles as a way of being, cultivated over time through intentional study and embodied practice.
The therapeutic process relies on a mature human presence, one that is responsive to the unique situation of each individual. It is a way of being that ensures the effective use of methods and techniques: a nonviolent approach that involves the relational abilities to protect and not manipulate, to give and receive, to be and be with, to harmonize and differentiate, and to touch and liberate. As therapists, we help a client to safely observe themselves more fully, and allow change to come about organically rather than attempting to change their behavior directly. We trust a client’s ability to become self-aware, self-caring and self-responsible, and to become emotionally mature beings.