I was recommended this book by my university supervisor when she discovered that for my mini research project I was attempting the subject of counselling as a spiritual process. For this reference, I shall always be thankful to her. ZEN THERAPY has been of immense use for my assignment but also, regardless of that, I have found it to be quite enlightening (no pun intended).
David Brazier writes in a way that makes you stop in your reading tracks and think about what he has just said. Although the insight may only be 'small' it never seems trivial. Plus, you know that he is writing from a very personal space - you know that he truly believes in what he is teaching.
The book is organised in 3 parts:-
Part 1 - Foundations
Part 2 - Buddhist Psychology
Part 3 - Therapy as a Zen Way
Whilst reading the first part of the book, I tagged loads of pages that I felt had an important passage for what I was looking for academically. And although there were times when I felt that Brazier was echoing my tutors, his words seemed much more tangible and thought out. For example, tutors on a counseling course shall try and impress upon you the importance of 'being there' for your client within the counselling room. Brazier describes this as follows:-
"Deeper acceptance begins with the therapist creating space inside themselves: a positively receptive frame of mind" (p.23). He then goes on to relate a story of Zen intellectual who visits a Zen master, who serves them tea. As the master pours the tea into a cup, he does not stop when the cup fills and then overflows. The explanation is that you liken the mind to the cup - if it is full it shall overflow. "If we are going to learn anything, we must first empty our minds" (p.24).
This probably sounds very twee, but ZEN THERAPY is one of the most heart-felt books that I have ever read. If you are a counsellor / psychotherapist or someone who has an interest in Buddhism, this book should be included in your library. While person-centred tharpists will easily be able to read and relate to this book, I also think that all therapists, regardless of their theoretcial background should read this. If you are serious about counselling ZEN THERAPY will challenge and inspire you.