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Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy 1/2006

01-03-2006

HISTORICAL ASPECTS OF MINDFULNESS AND SELF-ACCEPTANCE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY

Auteurs: Windy Dryden, Arthur Still

Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy | Uitgave 1/2006

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Abstract

We describe some of the historical conditions that made possible Kabat-Zinn’s [(1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Delacorte] very successful use of mindfulness in his stress management program. The ground had been prepared by the nonjudgmental acceptance of people and symptoms by Humanistic psychotherapists, and by the increasing assimilation of Buddhist ideas into Western psychology and psychotherapy. In addition the word “mindfulness,” as the translation of the Pali sati, came to refer to both the manualized practice that provides the evidence for its efficacy in the hands of Kabat-Zinn and others, and the more complex process of clear comprehension and recollection that is described in his more discursive writings, and is similar to Ellen Langer’s use of “mindfulness” in her book of that name.
Voetnoten
1
Psychoanalysis has often shown a similar acceptance, based on Freud’s recommendation of “evenly suspended attention”, and the variations of this in Karen Horney, Bion, and Winnicott (Epstein, 1995). This is certainly more than the moral nonjudgmental acceptance that is part of the medical approach of many therapists, but if it is mindfulness it is by the therapist rather than the client. Free association also involves a nonjudgmental acceptance, in this case on the part of the client, and bears some resemblance to mindfulness. But the acceptance of symptoms we are referring to is more characteristic of Jung than of Freudians, with his active acceptance of the shadow aspects of the psyche. Another breakaway psychoanalyst, Otto Rank, is one of the precursors of the humanistic movement, and had a well-documented influence on Carl Rogers and the core condition of unconditional positive regard (DeCarvalho, 1991). There is also an interesting but diffuse Christian impact, not considered here (Cooper, 2003).
 
2
Theravadan Buddhist meditation was often divided into two kinds, samatha or concentration, one-pointed focus on an object, and vipassana, or insight meditation. The latter, which seems to have been the Buddha’s discovery, involves a looser focus, often on the breath, allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go without judgment or clinging. This is similar to what is often now referred to as mindfulness meditation. The insight which results is into impermanence, emptiness of self and suffering (anicca, anatta, dukha)
 
3
“[sati] is one of the most difficult words ...in the whole Buddhist system of ethical psychology to translate. Hardy renders ‘conscience,’ which is certainly wrong; and Gogerly ... has ‘meditation’, which is equally wide of the mark. I have sometimes rendered it self-possession. It means that activity of mind, constant presence of mind, wakefulness of heart, which is the foe of carelessness, inadvertance, self-forgetfulness.” (Rhys Davids, 2001, p. 58; originally published 1895–1910).
 
4
Nyanaponika Thera and Nanavira Thera were Europeans who became monks in Sri Lanka, and inevitably took with them philosophical preconceptions, which affected their understanding of Pali concepts. Nyanoponika Thera was German, and his notion of bare attention and occasional use of “sense-data” suggest a traditional representational realist approach, in which the mind forms representations that are a mirror of the world. Nanavira Thera was an English mathematician, but drew on phenomenology and existentialism (especially Sartre and Heidegger) in his construal of Buddhist philosophy, which led to a less dualist metaphysics. The implications for psychology of these metaphysics have been discussed in Still and Good (1998). The implications for our understanding of Buddhism remain to be considered.
 
5
And later even lectured on Buddhism (Taylor, 1996, p. 147).
 
6
To highlight their similarity, Morrison (1997, p. 211) juxtaposed this passage with an account of mindfulness and clear comprehension from the Pali suttas.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
HISTORICAL ASPECTS OF MINDFULNESS AND SELF-ACCEPTANCE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY
Auteurs
Windy Dryden
Arthur Still
Publicatiedatum
01-03-2006
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy / Uitgave 1/2006
Print ISSN: 0894-9085
Elektronisch ISSN: 1573-6563
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10942-006-0026-1