Buddist and Zen Therapies

Psychological .

Buddist and Zen Therapies

Sometimes something a little different is needed, and although the Buddist and Zen Therapies may be considered as alternative therapies, they have been working effectively for many thousands of years.  With our incredibly busy and cluttered lives, taking time to rest, calm the mind and look inward may be exactly what you need.

Here at My Family Psychologist we have experts who practice these therapies to bring you peace of mind and regain balance in your life.

Get in touch with us to learn more about how this fascinating therapy can help you and your family.

Buddhist and Zen Principles

What is Zen Buddism? 

Zen Buddhism developed from traditions of study and ritual, its emphasis on personal experience makes it a practice-orientated tradition. People often mistake these principles to relate to religious practice but you don’t have to be religious to practice it. Zen Buddhism and Psychology actually have a lot more in common that people might think. 

How Buddist Principles are  applied in therapy? 

Gestalt Therapy

This therapy is an approach created by Fritz Perls and incorporates Zen Buddhism by including mindfulness practiced and focusing on the present moment. 

Existential and Humanistic Psychology 

Both of these therapies are made of models of psychology which stress the importance of both freedom of choice and personal responsibility which are central to Buddhist ethics and psychology.

Humanistic psychology focused on developing ‘a fully functioning person’ and ‘self-actualization’ which is similar to the Buddhist attitude of self-development as the ultimate human end.

Person centered therapy can also be compared to Buddhist attitudes which places the individual as responsible for their own development. 


Mindfulness meditation has been viewed as way to practice person centered psychotherapy and has been found to enhance empathy and non-judgmental openness. 

Positive Psychology 

The growing field of Positive psychology does share a Buddhist view by encouraging a focus on developing positive emotions and improving well-being by focusing on personal strengths and virtues. 

More recently, clinical psychologists, theorists and researchers have incorporated Buddhist practices in widespread formalized psychotherapies.

Buddhist Mindfulness practices have been explicitly incorporated into a variety of psychological treatments including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Pain Management (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Intervention (MBI), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Restructuring. 

What can Zen Buddhism help with? 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional Regulation 
  • Acceptance
  • Being in the present moment
  • Reducing impulsivity when making decisions
  • ‘Letting go’ of judgemental thinking
  • To enlighten the human mind and body 
  • Having a perception and awareness of ‘self’.

These principles encourage us to look at our inner selves with openness and acceptance rather than judgment.

How many sessions would I need?

This will depend on the individual. You will be encouraged to practice these techniques in quiet space in your own time to promote independence. 

An example of some exercises that might be used: 

Observation of the breath

It’s best to sit on a padded mat or cushion; sitting on a chair is also acceptable. Awareness is directed towards a certain object of meditation, generally observation of the breath and more specifically the way it moves in and out of the belly area. This method fosters an abiding sense of presence and alertness.

Take a deep breath in and hold for 5 seconds and then release for 5 seconds. This is repeated how many times that the therapist may wish for you to do so. This is an exercise which is good for anchoring yourself and managing any anxiety or tension. 

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