Contemplative Psychotherapy is based on the understanding there is nothing essentially wrong with the us. It is from this ‘sane’ foundation we directly observe the processes that lead to suffering.
Brilliant Sanity means that within us we carry an inherent wisdom and dignity. Our essential nature is one of openness, clarity and compassion. This inherent sanity may be hidden by a lifetime of conditioning and trauma and once we see the spark of this brilliant sanity it can be nurtured and grown. Contemplative Psychotherapists are trained to recognise the seeds of sanity even in confused and distorted states of mind.
We understand patient in the sense of patience and the root of the word from old French pacient and directly from Latin patientem "bearing, supporting, suffering, enduring, permitting".
The therapists role is to metaphorically walk alongside the patients experience as closely as they can, supporting the patient to ‘stay with’ and not take flight from difficult feelings, offer alternative perspectives and encourage them in their path of self knowledge.
As the ‘patient’ we practice forbearance, developing the capacity to witness pleasant & unpleasant feelings, with attentive, wise, compassion. In this direct witnessing we begin to deeply understand the nature of the mind and soften fixed views about self, other and the world.
Contemplative Psychotherapy combines Buddhist theory & practise with Western Psychotherapy. It arose out of a dialogue between the Tibetan Buddhist Master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Western psychoanalysts, psychologists and psychiatrists.
In 1978 Edward M. Podvoll, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, opened the Department of Contemplative Psychotherapy at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.