Change versus not change. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a very interesting question. But when you contemplate the various psychological philosophies, of Buddhism and Western psychotherapy, striking differences seem to occur.
Buddhist psychotherapy, which partly incorporates mindfulness therapy, is all about not change. In other words, it is about developing self acceptance, and enhanced self-awareness, through nonjudgemental moment by moment tracking of internal and external experience in the present moment, without an express intention to change. It is further elaborated within this framework, that, our intense yearning for change, or in other words not wanting things to be as they are, are precisely what leads to suffering in the first place.
More traditional forms of Western psychological counselling approaches and hypnotherapy, stressed the importance of the opposite philosophy, namely, achievement and change at all costs. On this extreme, we can see a narcissistic preoccupation with change, like a rabbit hole or a rat race, or a bottomless bucket that can never be filled. That’s right. An endless loop of chasing one’s tail or trying to quench an impossible thirst but always getting thirstier and thirstier in the process.
As you might have guessed, one approach is no better or worse than the other. Both have a lot to offer and both have possible limitations. An integrated balance is crucial. When you choose a counsellor, psychotherapist or hypnotherapist, make sure that they are trained and experienced in a discipline which meets with your broader philosophical worldview regarding how change will occur for you. Then again, if you are extremely outcome driven in your life, and find it difficult to just be, you may benefit from a more contemplative and relaxed approach, such as Buddhist psychotherapy of mindfulness therapy which cultivates self acceptance and trains you to be a human being, rather than a human doing.
Melbourne’s Adam Szmerling works out of Bentleigh and is trained in both Buddhist psychotherapy, and Western forms of counselling. He is also a trained hypnotherapist in both Ericksonian and traditional methodologies. He integrates the best of East and West to provide his valued clients with whatever they need in collaboration with him., whether that be change, self- acceptance or both.