This handout summarises the therapeutic model taught on Amida courses
Core Principles of Other-Centred Approach
Other-Centred Approach is a term used to describe approaches which see mental health as a function of the person’s relationship with ‘others’. It places its emphasis on exploring and improving that relationship, increasing other-esteem and the ability to empathise.
Other-centred approaches are grounded in Buddhist psychology. This proposes:
• The self is created as a defence against knowledge of dukkha. It is an attempt to create stability and permanence in the midst of sickness, old age and death.
• The self is created and maintained through a cyclical process of expectation, distorted perception, reaction and habit formation.
• It is built up initially through habits of sensory distraction. When the sense of self is no longer sufficient distraction, craving for non-being may follow.
• Self material manifests both in the sense of identity and in the perceived world.
Buddhist psychology offers a number of possible ways of working therapeutically.
Other-centred approach particularly centres on aspects of self process which relate to the world view. The immediate state of mind of the person is conditioned, by the object of attention. People seek out objects of perception which support their identities. Exploring the process of perception gives leverage on self-formation and maintenance without directly challenging the identity, so is an effective way to work therapeutically at this level. Exploration can take one of two directions: exploration of the conditioned view (rupa) and exploration of the reality that lies beyond it.
Exploration of the perception of objects reveals the self-structures (rupa)
• The perception of objects (rupa) is conditioned. In other words, we see what we anticipate seeing, we understand and label the world according to prior experience, and we seek out situations which support our world view. We see things selectively or even mistakenly. In this way the objects of perception are mirrors for the identity. They have power to catch our attention.
• Exploring rupa energies can help us understand the person’s karmic patterns (psychodynamics). Skills associated with such exploration include amplification and distancing or containing methods.
• Other-centred approaches are interested in exploring the client’s world as it manifests in the physical space which the client inhabits.
Mental health involves a healthy relationship with the object-world (reality).
• Other-centred approaches primarily focus upon moving a person from a self-centred, introspective view point towards a more complex viewpoint which is appreciative of others and has the capacity to empathise with them.
• Other-centred methods include investigation of reality, encouraging empathy for third parties, role-reversal, esteem, appreciation.
• Other-centred approaches place emphasis on seeking objectivity and truth and do this by gathering evidence.
• Other-centred approaches see the centre of psychological support as being outside the person. We are dependent beings, supported by benevolent conditions.
• Other-centred approaches see human dependency, vulnerability and fallibility as the norm, and recognise an unequal state in which we are recipients of positive conditions of life. The universal dimension is seen as non-judgemental and beneficent.
Other-centred approaches tend to focus on
• Observation and collection of data about external matters
• Increasing interest in others, whether third parties, environmental factors or objects
• Increasing empathic understanding of others
• Multiple viewpoints
• Appreciation and gratitude
• Recognition of ones own dependence on others
• Recognition of one’s tendency to distort perception to fit the personal script or expectations
Brazier, C 2003 Buddhist Psychology, Constable Robinson UK (also published as: Buddhism on the Couch Ulysses US )
Brazier, C 2009 Listening to the Other O-Books UK & US
Brazier, C 2009 Other-Centred Therapy O-Books UK&US
Brazier, D 2009 Love and its Disappointments O-Books UK & US
Naikan and Morita therapy are presented in
Krech, G 2002 Naikan: grace, gratitude and the Japanese art of self-reflection Stonebridge Press, California USA
Reynolds, D 1980 The Quiet Therapies, University of Hawaii, Honolulu
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