Western psychology places its focus on alleviating symptoms within emotional or psychical suffering. Buddhist psychotherapy (BPT) has a more wholistic approach, including the interrelationship between the mind and the body. The insights of BPT have been won through thousands of years of “inner research” of practitioners about the workings of the human mind:
- What is the nature of the human mind?
- What is the mechanism through which mental states arise (cause and effect)?
- What are the natures of emotions and feelings?
- How can one transform one’s mind towards positive, wholesome mental states?
A very important insight: every single human being experiences suffering at some point in life. Much of it is unavoidable, for example, we age, we may become seriously ill, at some point we will die. Or people we love leave us, either through separation or possibly death. But much of our suffering is avoidable, namely an unwholesome reaction to unavoidable suffering. Some examples of avoidable suffering are anger, hate, self-doubt, brooding, obsessing, self-admonishing, etc.
BPT has developed many techniques that help to increase wholesome mental states such as happiness, compassion, unconditional love, and joy, and at the same time to decrease step by step unwholesome mental states, and thus achieve equanimity and inner peace.