Workshop Description & Objectives
Day one
Foundations of Mindfulness: An Introduction to Buddhist Psychology

The use of mindfulness methods and techniques in psychotherapy has enjoyed increasing popularity. This workshop addresses the theoretical roots of mindfulness in Buddhist psychology, beginning with the Middle Way theory of Mādhyamika Buddhism, which demonstrates the interdependence, impermanence, and emptiness (lack of essence) of phenomena and proposes viewing phenomena as conventionally real but not having inherent reality. We next consider the concept of self from this perspective of emptiness, applying the understanding of “no-self,” and emphasizing how psychological dysfunction arises when we reify conventional concepts such as self and treat them as having inherent existence. Subsequently, we survey meditation techniques, focusing on awareness of created mental processes and immediate physical sensations as a way to assist in seeing that phenomena, including self, lack permanent essence. The workshop then articulates a rationale for the use of mindfulness in psychotherapy and describes examples of mindfulness methods and techniques from various psychotherapy approaches. A special illustration of understanding „no self“ comes from

Workshop Objectives:

  • Define the concepts of dependent origination, impermanence, and emptiness and their relevance to human dysfunction and effectiveness as described by the Middle Way theory of Mādhyamika Buddhism
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of meditation and psychotherapy techniques that focus on awareness of created mental processes and immediate physical sensations
Day two Precursors to Postmodern Psychology

Postmodern approaches to psychology and psychotherapy have enjoyed increasing popularity, emphasizing a view of knowledge as humanly constructed, fallible, and open to revision, and of psychotherapy as focusing on meaning-making, collaboration, and a plurality of perspectives. These concepts have a long history, the understanding of which may help us to more fully comprehend and embrace their implications. This workshop addresses the historical ancestry of postmodern psychology, beginning with a consideration of three perspectives from over 2000 years ago in ancient Greece, Rome, and India (Sophism, Skepticism, and Buddhism), and subsequently surveying more recent viewpoints from 19th and 20th Century Europe and America (Perspectivism, Pragmatism). The workshop then summarizes and synthesizes several postmodern themes and approaches to implementing a pluralistic perspective on psychology and psychotherapy.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Comprehend the difference between modernist/foundationalist/realist and postmodern/constructivist/antifoundationalist views of the nature of phenomena and human knowledge
  • Appreciate the view of “truth,” “reality,” and “self” as socially constructed rather than as correspondence with independent entities.
  • Develop an appreciation of the implications of a postmodern perspective for a psychology of human possibility.