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Contemplative Psychotherapy Essentials


Contemplative Psychotherapy Essentials (2)

The book begins with a personal introduction. An overview and thank you to those who influenced her. She mentions meetings and direct teachings with multiple Tibetan Buddhist teachers including His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Anam Thubten Rinpoche, Chagdud Tulku to name just a few. As well, she notes her “dharma sisters, Pema Chödrön, Dale Asrael, Judy Lief and Judith Simmer-Brown.” And her “root guru, the Vidyadhara, the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.” Her interactions with more well-known Buddhist teachers include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, and Sharon Salzberg. You get the picture that this woman has been involved in Buddhism a long time and that her experience is steeped in tradition, ritual, belief. You also learn that her life has been spent supporting others through teaching and client work, that compassion is not simply a word she bandies about but is a way of being.

Her writing, for me, was a slow, methodical pace. When I sat down and started to read with an agenda in mind, felt rushed to get through the chapter, I found myself slowing, breathing. I settled into the chair. The have-to-do’s vanished. I was simply and completely present with the text. Wegela offers quotes from other Buddhist teachers, case examples from clients and students. Terms are defined and demonstrated. The material is accessible, user-friendly. A true invitation to not only read about but to also personally experience it, try it out, let it flow within and through. I know my presence with the material is why I shifted during my client session mentioned in the opening scene. I didn’t think about the book, didn’t think about judgment, compassion, love. I was quite close to being lost in old patterns of thought and response. But, the concepts Wegela taught me in this book, rose to consciousness and changed my approach, altered my behavior, and in effect lead to a more genuine, connected, loving relationship with my clients.

You can read the review written by Nancy Eichhorn, PhD, here

You can also read a chapter from Karen’s book, here