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To work something through means to change one’s view; if we try instead to change the emotion, we may achieve some short-term success, but we remain bound by forces of attachment and aversion to the very feelings from which we are struggling to be free.

—Mark Epstein

Official Short Bio

Dr. Mark Epstein is a psychiatrist in private practice and the author of numerous books about the interface of Buddhism and psychotherapy, including Thoughts without a ThinkerGoing to Pieces without Falling ApartGoing on BeingOpen to Desire, Psychotherapy without the SelfThe Trauma of Everyday Life, and Advice Not Given. 

His recent book, The Zen of Therapy, reflects on one year of sessions with his patients, observing how the therapy relationship is a spiritual friendship where a therapist can help patients realize that there is something magical, something wonderful, and something to trust running through their lives, no matter how fraught.

For years, Dr. Epstein kept his beliefs as a Buddhist separate from his work as a psychiatrist. Content to use his training in mindfulness as a private resource, he trusted that the Buddhist influence could, and should, remain invisible. But as he became more forthcoming with his patients about his personal spiritual leanings, he was surprised to learn how many were eager to learn more.

Jon Joseph Roshi of San Mateo Zen and PZI created this series to support the hardworking innovators and shining voices of modern Zen: scholars, writers, poets, translators, activists, artists, teachers, and more.