For more than half a century there’s been a growing interest in the relevance of Buddhist psychology and meditation to psychodynamic treatment. Carl Jung, along with Karen Horney, Nina Coltart, and many other clinicians across analytic orientations, have made stalwart efforts to explore how a traditional psychoanalytic approach to healing might be enhanced by a Buddhist understanding of suffering and its end.
In this course, Dr. Pilar Jennings will examine how these contrasting traditions understand the roots of personal suffering, and how their complementary though highly divergent methods for alleviating suffering, offer increased opportunities for healing when used in tandem. As a psychoanalyst and long-term practitioner of both Theravada and Tibetan Buddhism, Dr. Jennings will offer her understanding of how these traditions are mutually supportive without losing the integrity of their respective methods.
Given the widespread interest in mindfulness and its clinical applications, this course will focus more specifically on the unique practices found within the Tibetan tradition, including the use of archetypal imagery and visualizations, and how such methods intersect with a psychoanalytic focus on unconscious material, and early relational experience. For clinicians, this course will provide a nuanced exploration of how the analytic treatment of common psychological struggles including depression and anxiety, as well as more complex forms of trauma, may be supported and enhanced by Buddhist insights and methods for both patients and therapists. For meditators, this course will offer ways to more fully understand and address the psychological content that can arise in one’s spiritual practice through a psychodynamic approach to internal life and its development.
Pilar Jennings, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst in private practice who has focused on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation. She received her Ph.D. in Psychiatry and Religion from Union Theological Seminary, and has been working with patients and their families through the Harlem Family Institute since 2004. Prior to this training, she earned a Masters in medical anthropology from Columbia University, where she focused on illness narratives, and a Bachelors in interdisciplinary writing from Barnard College of Columbia University. Pilar is a researcher at the Columbia University Center for Study of Science and Religion and Co-chair of the Columbia Faculty Seminar on the Slavery of Memory, where she explores the intergenerational transmission of trauma. She is the author of Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism.