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Becker, E. (1961). The Psychotherapeutic Meeting of East and West. Am. Imago, 18(1):3-20.

(1961). American Imago, 18(1):3-20

The Psychotherapeutic Meeting of East and West

Ernest Becker, Ph.D.

Zen's appeal to a sprinkling of philosophically-oriented minds in the West never attracted unusual attention. Nor did the young artist's or poet's death-grip on a fresh source of enigmatic profundity. The West has long since accepted the Orient as a provisioner of strange staples. The appeal of Zen to Western professional psychotherapists is quite another matter, and has sent many serious students scurrying back to dependable translations to see if they haven't missed anything. Minds which have been responsible for a good deal of recent intellectual history—like Jung—have intimated sympathy for Zen. Horney, reputedly, was a serious student of Zen. And, more recently, there was an effort to broaden Zen's inspirational potential away from the intimately personal, and to make it public domain by a week's seminar on Zen held at Fromm's Cuernavaca home—to which were invited Western psychotherapists and Dr. D. T. Suzuki.

At first fertilization from a new stock, results are often curious. The equation of shock therapy with the satori experience, (Wolf, 1957) for example, is at least professionally sound.

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