Words of Wisdom:

"The reward of suffering is experience." - Papyrus

Suffering

  • Date Submitted: 05/18/2011 05:25 AM
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Suffering and the Relationship with the Problem

in Postmodern Therapies

    Curiously, the therapy community speaks seldom of “suffering,” yet one might argue that suffering is precisely what people come to therapists for: to alleviate suffering. Over the past 100 years in the West, we have developed psychological constructs and methods attempting to alleviate suffering, and yet we largely ignore numerous traditions from culture and others that have been devoted to the alleviation of suffering for millennia. In recent years, psychotherapists have begun to tap the potentials of Buddhist psychology to glean new approaches to alleviating suffering. Buddhism is viewed primarily as a religion in the West, yet as an atheistic religion it has many and perhaps more parallels with Western psychology than it does with Judeo-Christian religions.

    Essentially, Buddhism is about how to engage and alleviate human suffering. Some experiences that give rise to suffering are inevitable: birth, sickness, loss, and death. In other cases, our suffering can be understood as products of the way we construct the world, our expectation, and attachment. Buddhism offers long established practices for the first. We will explore how these ideas compare and contrast with certain family therapy traditions, specifically postmodern therapies, and how Buddhist ideas can be brought to enrich therapeutic practice.

    Viewing suffering as central to the human experience me seem similar to existentialism, but Buddhist thinking adopts a more optimistic response based on a unique form of empirical psychological research, an insight-oriented “contemplative science”. The findings of this empirical study, systematically duplicated and documented over the course two and a half millennia, are that suffering is perpetuated by grasping or attachment and can be alleviated b the practice of non-attachment . Non-attachment does not involve ignoring what are ultimately inescapable and ineradicable...

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