Paul C. Cooper, N.C.Psy.A


Article Abstract
Journal of Religion and Health

Journal of Religion and Health
37 (4): 357-370, Winter 1998
Copyright © 1998 Blanton-Peale Institute
All rights reserved

Sense and Non-sense: Phenomenology, Buddhist and Psychoanalytic

Paul C. Cooper, N.C.Psy.A.
Psychotherapist in private practice in New York City and Director of Development at the Center for
Spirituality and Psychotherapy in New York (1998- 2001).


The author uses and extends Wilfred Bion's concepts of “invariance” and “transformation” to discuss the
integration of Buddhism and psychoanalysis. Observable descriptive similarities between Buddhism and
psychoanalysis, according to the author, function as artifacts that can overlay and obscure the primary
subjective and experiential nature that the two disciplines have in common. The author discusses the
nonpathological nature of unitive experiences and argues that over-emphasis on technical similarities can
function as a resistance to deepening unitive experiences with patients. The terms “sense,” “non-sense,”
and “no-sense” function as neutral words with which to discuss basic ineffable and unknowable
experiences that both systems can access. The author comments on the concepts of faith and spirit in
relation to both disciplines. The integration of Buddhism and psychoanalysis, for individuals who practice
both disciplines, according to the author, is primarily an internal process. An unrelenting search for lived
truths forms the basis of this process.

Article ID: 419009