Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy: Deepening Mindfulness in Clinical Practice

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Overview

Although wisdom and compassion are seldom discussed in the mental health literature, few would disagree that these qualities are important elements of all good treatment. But what exactly is wisdom? What is compassion? What is their relationship to psychological well-being, suffering, and psychotherapeutic change? Bringing together leading scholars, scientists, and clinicians, this volume integrates insights from ancient contemplative practices and modern research. It presents powerful methods that therapists can use to cultivate wisdom and compassion in themselves and their clients.

 

Seamlessly edited, the book features numerous practical exercises and rich case examples. It illuminates the nature of wisdom and compassion both for therapists new to this area and those already familiar with mindfulness- and acceptance-based practices. Chapters examine whether these qualities can be measured objectively, what they look like in the therapy relationship, and how to integrate them into treatment planning and goal setting. Emphasis is given to how wisdom and compassion allow us to overcome experiential avoidance--to tolerate, accept, and even grow from suffering. Effective strategies are provided for addressing specific clinical challenges including anxiety, depression, trauma, substance abuse, suicidal behavior, couple conflict, and parenting stress. Innovative clinical techniques are described and the theory and research that supports them is summarized. The book also probes the neurobiological foundations of wisdom and compassion, including compelling findings on the effects of mindfulness meditation on the brain.

 

Engaging, accessible, and inspiring, this volume is essential reading for clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, family therapists, and counselors. Its strong research base and practical, real-world focus also make it a useful text for graduate-level psychotherapy courses.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I am very happy to see that ancient teachings and practices from the Buddhist tradition can be of benefit today when they are employed by Western scientists and therapists. In today's world, many people turn to psychotherapy to understand what is making them unhappy, and to discover how to live a more meaningful life. I believe that as they come to understand compassion and wisdom more deeply, psychotherapists will be better able to help their patients and so contribute to greater peace and happiness in the world."--from the Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

"The essential message of this book is one of hope. Ably guided by the contributors to this important volume, therapists are invited to peer beyond therapeutic tools and techniques and glimpse the vast potential that compassion and wisdom hold for healing and self-transformation."--Zindel V. Segal, PhD, CPsych, Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada

"A rich introduction to--and rigorous exploration of--the current dynamic convergence of Buddhist psychology and Western psychotherapy. Thoughtful and eminently practical, this timely volume will be a key reference for counselors and psychotherapists, and is also important reading for students preparing for careers in the field. It will serve those looking for ways to offer the fruits of their personal mindfulness practice to their clients and colleagues."--Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness and Lovingkindness

"The deep message of the movement toward acceptance- and mindfulness-based methods is that the world without and the world within are interlinked. We need to begin to treat ourselves as we would want others to treat us: with kindness, patience, and wise attention. This book explores profound issues and describes powerful new methods for clinical practice that will carry far beyond the doors of our consulting rooms."--Steven C. Hayes, PhD, Foundation Professor of Psychology, University of Nevada

"With this enlightening volume, Germer and Siegel bring the dialogue between contemporary psychotherapy and Buddhist psychology to a new level, proposing that compassion and wisdom--like mindfulness--are capacities that can be deliberately cultivated to promote health and well-being. Enlisting contributions from fields as diverse as neuroscience, theology, trauma studies, and positive psychology, Germer and Siegel have put together a book that is stimulating, scholarly, and, above all, clinically relevant. This book illuminates fresh directions and resources for psychotherapy, bringing an inspiring sense of possibility to the 'impossible profession.'"--David J. Wallin, PhD, private practice, Mill Valley and Albany, California

"This book examines the nature of wisdom and compassion in psychotherapy from every conceivable perspective. Buddhist psychology, neurobiological foundations, psychological research, and clinical applications all receive thoughtful and comprehensive treatment. Clinicians, scholars, teachers, and students interested in the alleviation of human suffering will appreciate this volume, especially its emphasis on the cultivation of mindfulness and loving-kindness skills as paths toward the wisdom and compassion that are so essential to effective psychotherapy."--Ruth A. Baer, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky

PsycCRITIQUES

"A...very important aspect of this book is its breadth of perspectives on the topic....Will appeal primarily to practicing psychotherapists who desire an in-depth conversation about the theory and research of compassion and wisdom because it has a heavier focus on practice than do some other volumes. The other nice aspect of this volume is that the Buddhist foundations for the concepts used in therapy are very clearly laid out. Because Part III focuses on specific clinical applications of principles of compassion and wisdom introduced throughout earlier sections, it will appeal to clinicians working with these specific groups."--PsycCRITIQUES
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781462503766
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/9/2012
  • Pages: 407
  • Sales rank: 1,415,781
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

 

Christopher K. Germer, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice, specializing in mindfulness, acceptance, and compassion-based treatment. He has been integrating the principles and practices of meditation into psychotherapy since 1978. Dr. Germer is Clinical Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School and a founding member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He lectures internationally on mindfulness and self-compassion, is coeditor (with Ronald D. Siegel and Paul R. Fulton) of the professional book Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, and is author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions.

 

Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD, is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, where he has taught since 1984. He is a long-time student of mindfulness meditation and serves on the board of directors and faculty of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. Dr. Siegel teaches internationally about mindfulness and psychotherapy and mind–body treatment, while maintaining a private clinical practice in Lincoln, Massachusetts. He is author of The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems and coeditor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy.

 

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Table of Contents

Foreword, His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Introduction, Christopher K. Germer and Ronald D. Siegel

I. What are Wisdom and Compassion? Why Should We Care?

1. Wisdom and Compassion: Two Wings of a Bird, Ronald D. Siegel and Christopher K. Germer

2. Mindful Presence: A Foundation for Compassion and Wisdom, Tara Brach

3. Building Lives of Compassion and Wisdom, Barbara L. Fredrickson

II. The Meaning of Compassion

4. Compassion in Buddhist Psychology, John Makransky

5. The Compassionate Therapist, Elissa Ely

6. The Science of Self-Compassion, Kristin D. Neff

7. Cultivating Compassion in Psychotherapy, Christopher K. Germer

8. The Neurobiology of Compassion, Richard J. Davidson

III. The Meaning of Wisdom

9. Wisdom in Buddhist Psychology, Andrew Olendzki

10. The Wise Psychotherapist, Ronald D. Siegel

11. The Science of Wisdom: Implications for Psychotherapy, Robert J. Sternberg

12. The Wisdom of Connection, Janet Surrey and Judith V. Jordan

13. Self and No-Self in Psychotherapy, Jack Engler and Paul R. Fulton

14. Neurobiological Foundations of Wisdom, Thomas W. Meeks, B. Rael Cahn, and Dilip V. Jeste

IV. Clinical Applications

15. Suicidal Patients with Complex Disorders, Marsha M. Linehan and Anita Lungu

16. Substance Abuse and Relapse Prevention, G. Alan Marlatt, Sarah Bowen, and M. Kathleen B. Lustyk

17. Anxiety Disorders: Acceptance, Compassion, and Wisdom, Lizabeth Roemer and Susan M. Orsillo

18. Depression: Suffering in the Flow of Life, Paul Gilbert

19. Working with Trauma: Mindfulness and Compassion, John Briere

20. The Heart of Couple Therapy, Richard Borofsky and Antra K. Borofsky

V. In and Around the Consultation Room

21. Mindful Parenting as a Path to Wisdom and Compassion, Trudy Goodman, Susan Kaiser Greenland, and Daniel J. Siegel

22. Drawing on the Wisdom of Religious Traditions in Psychotherapy, Kenneth I. Pargament and Carol Ann Faigin

23. Compassion and Wisdom: Growing through Ethics, Stephanie P. Morgan

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