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Prescribing the DharmaPsychotherapists, Buddhist Traditions, and Defining Religion$
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Ira Helderman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469648521

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648521.001.0001

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Over the Borderline

Over the Borderline

Integrating Religion Approaches

(p.209) Chapter Seven Over the Borderline
Prescribing the Dharma

Ira Helderman

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter surveys clinicians’ integrating religion approaches to Buddhist traditions. Here psychotherapists seek to incorporate Buddhist and psychotherapeutic elements in such a way that both remain recognizable. Some believe that common elements or shared ultimate aims make Buddhist and psychotherapeutic “compatible.” Others design methods to overcome what they otherwise portray as fundamental incommensurables (e.g., dissonances between Buddhist and therapeutic conceptions of the self). At times, therapists explain their integrative efforts to be what they call “hybrids” consistent with those of previous locations of Buddhist transmission (e.g., medieval China). The chapter considers whether scholarly concepts such as hybridity or religious repertories used to describe historical religious mixing could be useful in describing these contemporary activities. Or, alternatively, whether the combinativeness here is unique and without historical precedent: the bricolage of the religious and the not-religious, scientific or biomedical. To some therapists, integrating Buddhist and psychotherapeutic frames necessitates asking questions of definition (whether Buddhist traditions are properly classified as religious; psychotherapy as not-religious, etc.). Some take up cultural rhetoric surrounding the term “spirituality” in this context to argue that their activities are neither religious or not-religious.

Keywords:   Comparisons of Buddhist and psychotherapeutic traditions, Rebirth, Medieval Chinese Buddhism, Non-self, Interdependence/inter-relatedness, Feminist/relational-cultural psychotherapies, Therapeutic culture, Relational psychoanalysis, Cultural psychology, Religious eclecticism and eclectic/integrative psychotherapy, Spirituality as category

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