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Porter, K. (2004). Is There Something Happening Here? Buddhism and Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: An Unfolding Dialogue, edited by Jeremy D. Safran (2003). Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 443 pages.. Psychoanal. Perspect., 2(1):91-100.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 2(1):91-100

Book Review

Is There Something Happening Here? Buddhism and Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: An Unfolding Dialogue, edited by Jeremy D. Safran (2003). Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 443 pages.

Review by:
Kenneth Porter, M.D.

What is it all about, the recent interest among psychoanalysts in the philosophy and practice of the 2,500-year-old tradition of Buddhism? Is this a quirky fad on the fringe of our field, or is there something happening here, as Bob Dylan once said, and we don't know what it is? This excellent compendium of original contributions put together by Jeremy Safran, a relational psychoanalyst at the New School for Social research, and himself a long-time practitioner of Buddhism, goes a long way toward answering this question.

Safran's book might be jokingly subtitled “Buddhist Psychoanalysts Come Out of the Closet.” It represents the most comprehensive appearance in print of senior analysts who are themselves practitioners and teachers of Buddhism: Joseph Bobrow of the Northern California Psychoanalytic Institute, Jack Engler of Harvard Medical School, Mark Finn, Robert Langan, and Sara Weber of William Alanson White, Barry Magid of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, Raul Moncayo of the Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis, Jeffrey Rubin, and Polly Young-Eisendrath. These analysts wisely and touchingly discuss how their practice of Buddhism has affected their clinical practice of psychoanalysis, and reveal to us that there has been far more exploration of the interface between these two venerable traditions than many of us (including myself, a spiritually-oriented psychoanalyst), had even begun to suspect.

In

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