Contemplative psychotherapy, is a branch of therapy integrating Eastern Buddhist philosophy and the therapeutic practice with the clinical traditions of modern Western psychology, and is rooted in the belief that all people are gifted with the internal wisdom necessary to heal from pain.
What to expect?
People seeking therapy to enhance self-awareness, improve overall health, and encourage a general sense of well-being might find contemplative therapy to be a beneficial approach.
How does it work?
The primary goal of contemplative psychotherapy is to enhance self-awareness and improve well-being. The duty of the contemplative psychotherapist is to assist people uncover and understand their authentic selves. Contemplative psychotherapists are equipped to see the strength and “sanity” in each and every person in therapy.
The techniques and practices employed by contemplative psychotherapists include the following:
- Shamatha Mindfulness Sitting Meditation: Therapists assist people explore the duality between being present and non-present through this sitting meditation. The practise of mindfulness allows people to identify the biases and ego expectations keeping their touch with reality.
- Maitri: Therapists help people taking the therapy accept their selves and their experiences. People are typically taught space awareness and may discover several ways to resist challenging their true selves. People in therapy may learn ways to approach their experiences with curiosity and warmth. The goal is frequently to only instill a sense of “unconditional friendliness” toward the self and toward others.
- Touch and Go: Therapists make use of this technique to stay present for those in therapy. They “touch” their experience as it rises up and gradually let it go in order to avoid getting lost in the emotional response. This process incorporates and rejuvenate both mindfulness and maitri: in mindfulness, the therapist devote attention the experience as arises, and in maitri, the therapist permits the experience to be what it is and lets it go. For example, if a person becomes dreaded and weeps before at the therapist, the therapist might initially feel saddened. The therapist will note the response, accept it for what it is, and finally let it go. This can often have a positive impact on the interaction between the therapist and person in therapy.
When is it used?
It is often used when the people is wishing to increase mindfulness. Increased mindfulness helps an individual to recognize and deal with the effects of mental health concerns. Contemplative Psychotherapy is used for those people who have faced trauma or abuse, it helps them to address and accept any pain they may carry from these events. Negative feelings, including those undergone as a result of conditions such as anxiety or depression, may persist throughout life.
Role of Therapist:
Contemplative psychotherapists assumes that people are inherently good and have the capacity for brilliant sanity. This core concept is that contemplative psychotherapy upholds as the fundamental nature of human beings: all people have natural wisdom inside them, and this wisdom can be used to achieve self-awareness and healing. Brilliant sanity is considered to be ever-present, even when it is not fully manifested. Thus achieving the goal contemplative psychotherapy, which is to help people uncover this brilliant sanity and tap inner resources to experience an improved well-being.
Loizzo, J.J., Peterson, J.C., Charlson, M.E., Wolf, E.J., Altemus, M., Briggs, W.M. ... Caputo, T.A. (2010). The effect of a contemplative self-healing program on quality of life in women with breast and gynecologic cancers. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 16(3), 30-37.
Wegela, K. K. (2014). Contemplative psychotherapy essentials. New York, NY: W. W. Norton and Company.