Buddhist Psychology and its Integration into Modern Psychotherapy Cristina Michele Pina
Theories of Personality
Siddartha Guatma Buddha, an enlightened man who lived humbly centuries ago still lives today through his teachings. He has left a legacy of wisdom, peace and virtue that is still practiced today primarily in Eastern cultures. However there is an increasing influence of Buddhist philosophy in our Western culture today. Despite the perceived clash of cultures and ideologies, Eastern philosophy has been getting more recognition over the years. Recently Eastern practices such as Buddhism has made an impact in Western psychotherapy by integrating Buddhist philosophy and its core teachings such as the Four Noble Truths, the Eight-Fold Path and its central themes into psychotherapy and has proven to be successful in treating certain disorders and has also had a significant impact in grief counseling. The influence of Buddhist philosophy has even made certain therapies known today as “the Third Wave.” With the integration of these Eastern practices in Western psychotherapy even cognitive behavioral psychotherapy now emphasizes certain Buddhist philosophies despite the differences in their ideologies, which makes its impact even more significant. It is fascinating how these two distinct cultures and thought paradigms have made an alliance and together collaborate and help others. Buddhist psychology is now a growing paradigm in Western civilization that is getting more and more recognition each day. In his paper I will discuss the History of Buddhism starting with Siddartha Guatma Buddha, his journey for truth that inevitably lead to the teachings still known and practiced today centuries later; and how his philosophy has been integrated into cognitive psychotherapy, a theory embedded by learned cognitions and ones culture, and how the two approaches have been integrated by some therapists and proven successful especially in treating people who are currently undergoing grief counseling due to loss of a loved one. History
Siddhartha Guatama Buddha (566 bc – 486 bc) was born in a small country in what is now southern Nepal. He was the son of a king who ruled this country and his name was Shuddodana Guatama. His wife Mahamaya named him Siddartha, which means “he who attains his goals” (Personality Theories, Buddhist Psychology).
Siddhartha lived in three palaces, each for a period of time as he grew up and lived like the son of a king far away, almost secluded and prevented from experiencing anything ordinary people might perceive as commonplace. He was not allowed to see the elderly, the sick, the dead, or anyone who had dedicated to spiritual practices. He naturally grew restless and became curious to see the people of his lands, which the King permitted with conditions. He did not want Siddhartha to see the kind of suffering he feared would lead him to a religious life. But the man who always attained his goals inevitably saw old people, sick people and even death. He became pensive and distraught and asked a friend and squire by the name of Chandaka the meaning of all these things and was told all people get old, sick and eventually die, the simple truths that marked the beginning of his epic journey. He later saw an ascetic monk who had renounced the pleasures of the flesh. The peaceful monks stayed with Siddhartha for a long time to come. Later when looking back at that time Siddhartha said “When ignorant people see someone who is old, they are disgusted and horrified, even when they too will be old some day. I thought to myself: I don’t want to be like the ignorant people. After that, I could not feel the usual intoxication with youth anymore (Personality Theories, Buddhist Psychology).
At age 29, Siddhartha realized that he could not be happy living as he had been. His goal, his reason to live was to discover how one might...
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