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Zen and Psychotherapy

Partners in Liberation

Foreword by Norman Fischer
LIST PRICE $25.95

A new take on the interplay of emotional and spiritual development.

“Please read this book. Joseph Bobrow is a true meditation teacher who walks his talk and enjoys his practice.”—Thich Nhat Hanh

This book is an intimate dialogue that examines the interplay of emotional and spiritual development through the lens of Zen Buddhism and psychotherapy. Zen and Psychotherapy artfully illuminates the intrinsic connections between the two practices, and demonstrates how the traditions can be complementary in helping to live a truly fulfilled and contented life.

Zen teacher and psychologist Joseph Bobrow deftly shows how the major themes of trauma, attachment, emotional communication, and emotional regulation play out in the context of Zen and of psychotherapeutic practice, and how, in concert, both provide a comprehensive, interactive model of fully functioning human life.

“A masterful exploration… nuanced, sensitive, perhaps poetic, and certainly non-reductive. I am not aware of another book that plunges so deeply into theory, with equal respect and appreciation for both disciplines. Bobrow’s voice from the Zen teaching seat is clear, compassionate, encouraging, deep, yet modest. Those adjectives apply to the book in its entirety.”

– from the foreword by Norman Fischer

“This is a quiet book that works you, not simply informs you. Bobrow embodies unconscious affective communication between psychoanalysis and Buddhism. He’s lived it. The book carries it. The reader experiences it.”

– Charles Spezzano, PhD, author of Affect in Psychoanalysis and co-editor of Soul on the Couch

“Joseph Bobrow shows how fertile it can be to study both Zen and psychotherapy simultaneously. This book is smart, lively, and provocative.”

– Mark Epstein, MD, author of Thoughts Without a Thinker

“A fine book, brimming with life, and resonant with integrity and heart.”

– Ajahn Amaro, abbot of Amaravati Monastery

“Writing in an electrifying prose that lights up continuously brilliant connections between psychoanalysis and Zen, Bobrow is nonetheless New York in motion: the New York of Whitman, Mailer, and Heller … Brilliant, moving, and unforgettable.”

– Christopher Bollas, author of Meaning and Melancholia: Life in the Age of Bewilderment

“Bobrow offers many reminders that a psychotherapy focused merely on problem solving or cognitive understanding can leave out central aspects of ongoing human experience. Similarly, meditation or mindfulness can be insufficiently relational to help with some of our most pressing preoccupations and dilemmas. This wise book provides a context for both psychotherapists and students of Buddhism to think in new and helpful ways. Its implications for trauma therapy, in particular, are substantial. I gained a lot from this book and highly recommend it to others.”

– John Briere, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Southern California and director, Psychological Trauma Program, Los Angeles County and USC Medical Center

“Zen master and psychoanalyst, Joseph Bobrow has a rare depth and subtlety of experience in both disciplines and ways of life. After nearly 40 years of practice and teaching in each, he has written a definitive, clear and compassionate book that argues persuasively that Zen and psychotherapy are complementary traditions. Each challenges and enriches the other. Even enlightened Buddhist practitioners can expand themselves as individuals and in their relationships. Therapists and their patients can become more meaningfully aware of the depth of experience that lies beyond individuality and individuation. Mindful of differences, but also indivisible links, Bobrow challenges us to realize the integration of the personal and the universal in our daily lives. Anyone interested in psychological or spiritual ideas or practice will find much of value in this deeply gratifying and informative work.” 

– Gerald I. Fogel, co-editor of The Psychology of Men