Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy

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December 16, 2016 -- From the Editor 


 Integrating Time-Limited Dynamic Psychotherapy and a Buddhism-Inspired Aversion/Attachment Model of Client Suffering: The Cases of "Beth" and "Amy"

*** Jason Samlin, Commonwealth Psychology Associates, Newton, MA 


***  Donald Morgan, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rugers University-New Brunswick  

*** Thomas E. Schacht, James H. Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennesee State University  

Response to Commentaries 

*** Jason Samlin, Commonwealth Psychology Associates, Newton, MA  

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Buddhist-inspired mindfulness meditation, developed from ancient Eastern religious and spiritual traditions, is seemingly in dialectical contrast with Western-developed psychotherapies, like cognitive-behavior therapy and psychodynamic therapy. These latter come from scientifically inspired, modern, secular traditions. And yet mindfulness meditation has become very popular as incorporated by Western-developed psychotherapies.

The present issue explores this dialectic among three psychotherapy scholars and practitioners, each of whom has had personal connections to Buddhist ideas and practice. Specifically, the issue begins with two cases, “Beth” and “Amy,” who were seen in therapy by Jason Samlin. Samlin employed a model that integrates “Time-Limited Dynamic Psychotherapy” (TLDP), from the psychoanalytic tradition, with Buddhist psychological concepts that are organized by Samlin in an approach he titles the “Aversion/Attachment Model of Client Suffering” (A/AMCS).

The A/AMCS was technically integrated into TLDP in two ways. First, Buddhist-derived acceptance practices and “skillful means strategies” were woven into the TLDP therapy. Second, formal mindfulness meditation practices were employed for each client by conducting eight half-hour practices before sessions 6-13, in the context of therapy that lasted 23 sessions for Beth, and 20 sessions for Amy.

Beth presented with symptoms of major depression, and Amy, with symptoms of an anxiety disorder anxiety focused around her relationship with her father and brother. A distinctive finding, which Samlin discusses, is that on both standardized quantitative and qualitative measures, Beth, whose presentation showed intensive disturbance, had a therapy outcome that was highly successful, while the therapy was only moderately successful for Amy’s less intensive disturbance.

In the commentaries, Donald Morgan emphasizes the positive potentials for the secular absorption of Buddhist ideas into Western psychotherapy, while Thomas Schacht emphasizes the philosophical and religious reasons why we should be skeptical of this absorption. In his response, Samlin addresses the dialectic, with an emphasis on the pragmatic grounds for employing Buddhist concepts to augment Western psychotherapy, as rooted in the details of the Beth and Amy cases.


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2. The Client
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Vol 12, No 4 (2016)

Table of Contents

Case Study

Integrating Time-Limited Dynamic Psychotherapy and a Buddhism-Inspired Aversion/Attachment Model of Client Suffering: The Cases of "Beth" and "Amy" Abstract PDF
Jason Samlin 238-308
On How Psychotherapy Can Be Helpfully Integrated Into Mindfulness Practice Abstract PDF
Donald Morgan 309-318
A TLDP Therapist Meets the Buddha on a Road and No One Is Killed Abstract PDF
Thomas E. Schacht 319-335
On the Skillful Integration of Buddhist Psychology and Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy Abstract PDF
Jason Samlin 336-347