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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Psychotherapeutic factors of naturally occurring long-term meditation Lawrance, Scott


Various forms of meditation are being used by an increasing number of people in North America. Practiced both within the context of an overarching spiritual path and as a self-regulation strategy, meditation is sometimes a supplement to traditional forms of psychotherapy. At other times, meditation, as part of a spiritual practice, is used as an alternative approach to mental health and well-being. A multiple case study research format is used to understand the pattern of experience involved in long-term meditation from the perspective of the meditators. Five meditators were interviewed for their accounts of their experience with meditation over a minimum of ten years. The interviews were organized into five narrative accounts and summarized as a general account which in turn revealed twelve common themes. The stories take the form of a movement from alienation and estrangement, through struggle and problem solving, toward an eventual consolidation of meaning and engagement with the world. This movement is accomplished through the resolution of three major tasks: the clarification of the relationship with the teacher; mastery of the techniques involved; and a cognitive restructuring based upon the optimal resolution of the first two tasks. Theoretical implications of the study, such as various relationships between meditation and psychotherapy, are presented. Finally, the practical implications of the study for general counselling, counselling with meditators, and counsellor growth are discussed.

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