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30-09-2015 | Uitgave 4/2015

Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy 4/2015

Assumptions and Conclusions: Fundamental Distinctions Between Tibetan Buddhist and Western Approaches to Happiness

Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy > Uitgave 4/2015
Gustavo Szpilman Cutz, Jill Rathus, Hilary B. Vidair, Ruth DeRosa


The cultivation of happiness is the stated goal of Tibetan Buddhism and of Western models of psychotherapy alike. Yet these two traditions differ sharply in their identification of the conditions that give rise to happiness. Since both traditions present themselves as empirical systems of investigation open to confirmation or refutation, it may prove useful for practitioners in each tradition to become familiar with each others’ theories and claims regarding the causes of happiness. This paper discusses the questions asked and models proposed by Western psychologists researching happiness and how these differ from the questions asked and models proposed by the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of psychology. It also presents an overview of scientific findings related to each of these models, and suggests possible benefits of investigating the basis for underlying assumptions of theories of happiness and the effects of such assumptions on the outcomes derived from different models of psychology.

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