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To Heal a Wounded Heart: The Transformative Power of Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Action (Paperback)
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Early on in her clinical practice, psychoanalyst Pilar Jennings was presented with a particularly difficult case: a six-year-old girl who, traumatized by loss, had stopped speaking. Challenged by the limitations of her training to respond effectively to the isolating effect of childhood trauma, Jennings takes the unconventional path of inviting her friend Lama Pema—a kindly Tibetan Buddhist monk who experienced his own life-shaping trauma at a very young age—into their sessions. In the warm therapeutic space they create, the young girl slowly begins to heal. The result is a fascinating case study of the intersection of Western psychology and Buddhist teachings. Pilar’s story is for therapists, parents, Buddhists, or any of us who hold out the hope that even the deepest childhood wounds can be the portal to our capacity to love and be loved.
About the Author
Pilar Jennings, PhD, is a psychoanalyst in private practice with a focus on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation. She has been working with patients and their families through the Harlem Family Institute since 2004. A visiting lecturer at Union Theological Seminary and a guest lecturer at Columbia University, she is the author of Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism.
“Wow. Pilar Jennings brings her readers deftly through the fascinating and impressive therapeutic adventures of the extraordinary six-year-old Martine, the wise and hilarious Lama Pema, and the abiding and reflective therapist, Pilar. This is a story of painful losses and their permanent imprints on our lives, contrasted with Buddhist teachings on impermanence, and the tension in Jennings’s own inner life between psychotherapeutic and Buddhist views of love and loss. Most of all, it’s a page-turner of a story. Don’t miss it.”—Polly Young-Eisendrath, PhD, author of The Present Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Discovery
“Tracing the steps and missteps of a young therapist entering the field, learning to marshal her strength, skills, perception, and most importantly her self-knowledge (which we all need if we are to come into our own as professionals), this masterful book is one I wish I’d had when I was first entering the ‘impossible profession.’”—Kirkland C. Vaughans, PhD, author of The Psychology of Black Boys and Adolescents
“A wonderful conjunction of the heart of Buddhism with the heart of psychotherapy. A sharing work that enriches the art of person-to-person being and healing.”—Michael Eigen, PhD, author of Faith
“[To Heal a Wounded Heart] illustrates how Buddhism and psychotherapy each respond to suffering and the process of healing differently: while Buddhism helps us tie our experiences to the collective, psychotherapy helps us excavate the stories and experiences that are uniquely our own.”—Tricycle: The Buddhist Review