About this Book
Although psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism derive from theoretical and philosophical assumptions worlds apart,
both experientially-based traditions share at their heart a desire for the understanding, development, and growth
of the human experience. Paul Cooper utilizes detailed clinical vignettes to contextualize the implications of Zen
Buddhism in the therapeutic setting to demonstrate how its practices and beliefs inform, relate to, and enhance
transformative psychoanalytic practice.
The basic concepts of Zen, such as the identity of the relative and the absolute and the foundational principles of
emptiness and dependent-arising, are given special attention as they relate to the psychoanalytic concepts of the
unconscious and its processes, transference and countertransference, formulations of self, and more. In addition,
through an analysis of apophasis, a unique style of discourse that serves as a basic structure for mystical
languages, he provides insight into the structure of the seemingly irrational Zen koan in order to demonstrate its
function as a pedagogical and psychological tool.
Though mindful of their differences, Cooper’s intent throughout is to illustrate how the practices of both Zen and
psychoanalysis become internalized by the individual who engages in them and can, in turn, inform one another in
mutually beneficial ways in an effort to comprehend the ramifications of an individual or collective expanding vision.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Riding the Elusive "Ox" of Zen: The Problem of Definition. The Zen Koan: Speaking the Unspeakable.
First Encounters: Zen through the Lens of the Jesuit Missionary. Does a Dog Have Buddha Nature or Not?
Nihilism, Absolutism, and "Joshu's Mu." Sand in Rice: One Koan, Infinite Possibilities. The Unconscious and
Unconscious Processes in Zen and Psychoanalysis. The Crazy Cloud of Attention and Inattention. Sense and Non-
sense. Unitive Experience and the Pervasive Object. The Gap between Being and Knowing
About the Author
Paul C. Cooper, L.P., NCPsyA currently serves as Dean of Training at the National Psychological Association for
Psychoanalysis, where he is a senior member, training analyst, clinical supervisor and on the faculty. He is a
faculty member at the Institute for Expressive Analysis, where he also serves as a training analyst and clinical
supervisor. He serves on the Board of Directors and is the Chair of the Spirituality and the Psyche Committee for
the International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education. He also serves on the Board of Directors and is a
faculty member for the Association for Spirituality and Psychotherapy. On the Editorial Board for Psychoanalytic
Review and Groundwater: Journal of Buddhism and Psychotherapy, he has written numerous award-winning
poems and articles and was the recipient of the 1996 Ernest Angel Award for his article "Affects and Self States: A
Case Study on the Integration of Buddhist Analytic Meditation and Psychoanalysis." He edited Into the Mountain
Stream: Psychotherapy and Buddhist Experience (2007, Jason Aronson) and co-edited Psychotherapy and
Religion: Many Paths, One Journey (2005, Jason Aronson). Paul Cooper maintains a private psychotherapy
practice in Manhattan and Westchester, NY.
The Zen Impulse and the Psychoanalytic Encounter
By Paul C. Cooper
Binding: Paperback (also available in Hardback)
Published by: Routledge
Publication Date: 1st August 2009
(Available for Pre-order)
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