Contemplative Psychotherapy Essentials: Enriching Your Practice With Buddhist Psychology

Hardcover | November 4, 2014

byKaren Kissel Wegela

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Both Western psychotherapy and the Buddhist spiritual path are journeys toward increased self-awareness, understanding, and well-being. By drawing on the Buddhist psychological teachings, Contemplative Psychotherapy provides a deeper, richer approach to client work, one that can greatly enhance and expand a clinician’s therapeutic repertoire.

While much has been written recently about mindfulness in psychotherapy and the underlying theory of Buddhist psychology, no book has yet been written that explains to therapists how to apply these teachings in their day-to-day clinical work with clients.

This book will answer that need.

Karen Kissel Wegela, a leading practitioner and teacher of contemplative psychotherapy, eloquently walks readers through the foundational concepts of this approach and its specific clinical practices, providing lucid guidance on what Buddhist psychology means in the context of therapy work and how to practice it.

As Wegela explains, five basic competencies underlie all that a contemplative therapist does: (1) being present and letting be, (2) seeing clearly and not judging, (3) recognizing and appreciating differences, (4) connecting with others and cultivating relationship, and, finally, (5) acting skillfully and letting go. Having a personal mindfulness-awareness practice helps therapists to develop these competencies, and this book offers a step-by-step description of how to establish such a practice.

The book explores the nuances of contemplative therapy practice, beginning with creating genuine therapeutic relationships and learning how to recognize “brilliant sanity”—not only psychopathology—in our clients, and goes on to consider sowing the seeds of mindfulness, making skillful use of mindlessness practices, investigating emotions, cultivating compassion, and working with anger.

Filled with client vignettes and practical guidance in an eminently wise, openhearted tone, Contemplative Psychotherapy Essentials makes the increasingly popular pairing of Buddhist psychology with traditional therapy accessible for any clinician, putting readers and their clients in better touch with the present moment—their bodies, emotions, and minds—for more enduring change.

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From the Publisher

Both Western psychotherapy and the Buddhist spiritual path are journeys toward increased self-awareness, understanding, and well-being. By drawing on the Buddhist psychological teachings, Contemplative Psychotherapy provides a deeper, richer approach to client work, one that can greatly enhance and expand a clinician’s therapeutic repe...

Karen Kissel Wegela, PhD, is an author, private practitioner, and professor at Naropa University. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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The Courage to Be Present: Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Awakening of Natural Wisdom
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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.48 × 6.47 × 1.1 inPublished:November 4, 2014Publisher:WW NortonLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0393708675

ISBN - 13:9780393708677

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[U]seful as a reference or text for students of counselling and practicing psychotherapists. . . . [C]ontemplative psychotherapy and techniques are increasingly important in the context of our (overly) busy schedules. . . . This book helps us to turn some of our normal activities and make them more mindful, so as to lead a life of engagement, joy, purpose and peace. — British Journal of Guidance & CounsellingKaren Kissel Wegela’s experience as both a clinician in private practice and as a professor for the MA Contemplative Studies program at Naropa University comes through in this warm, informal ‘cookbook’ suitable for beginning trainees in Buddhist psychotherapy. . . . More experienced practitioners will benefit from deeper themes of working with emotion and resilience in clientele, compassion practices for practitioners and patients, and supervision and consultation in a contemplative practice. — PsycCRITIQUES[Wegela’s] descriptions of Buddhist philosophy, and her concise explanations of how to integrate those concepts into conventional therapy, are masterful. . . . If you’re curious about how Eastern philosophy can seamlessly combine with and enhance an otherwise Western-based approach to mental health, this book is a must-read. — PsychCentralThis is a thoroughly comprehensive and practical study that would enhance the practice of any therapist, but I also recommend it as valuable and interesting reading for any educated audience, and especially for college students in the field. — Metapsychology Online Reviews[T]he concepts Wegela taught me in this book . . . changed my approach, altered my behavior, and in effect lead to a more genuine, connected, loving relationship with my clients. — Somatic Psychotherapy TodayMastery is rare and precious—Dr. Wegela is a true master of transformative conversations grounded in contemplative wisdom. Personal, conceptually penetrating, and concretely practical, this book is both a comprehensive manual of therapeutic practice and a springboard to spiritual awakening. — Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and WisdomContemplative Psychotherapy Essentials is a lucid guide to the rich healing work that has grown from the convergence of Buddhism and psychology. Sure to be a seminal text for students, established professionals in the field will also find it indispensable. I’m happy to think of the wholesome seeds that will grow from this contribution by Dr. Wegela. — Sharon Salzberg, co-Founder of The Insight Meditation Society and author of Real Happiness At WorkWritten with a rare balance of honesty, clarity, and wisdom, this book provides an inspirational yet practical guide to psychotherapy grounded in Buddhist Psychology. Replete with vivid personal and clinical illustrations as well as accessible, step-by-step guidance based on decades of experience, Dr. Wegela richly brings to life the practice of Contemplative Psychotherapy. It’s a must-read for clinicians who wish to tap the full potential of mindfulness-oriented psychotherapy. — Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School, author, The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems