Buddhist Chaplaincy

Individual Counseling sessions of
50 minutes / $90.00

Group sessions of
90 minutes / $60.00

By Appointment only

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Questions and Answers about Buddhist Pastoral Counseling

The answers I give here refer specifically to the way that I engage in Buddhist Pastoral Counseling. Other Buddhist chaplains may do things differently.

Q: How is Buddhist Pastoral Counseling different from other kinds of counseling?

A: The help that other therapies provide often focuses on areas such as problem solving, making changes in your behavior, dealing with strong emotions, making changes in your thinking, fixing things you think are wrong with you, finding ways to be a better you. Buddhist Pastoral Counseling may lead to such accomplishments, but that is not its goal.

Q: What is the goal of Buddhist spiritual counseling?

A: In Buddhist Pastoral Counseling the emphasis is on connecting with who you are as a human being and how you and the world are interconnecting in your life right now. This means paying attention to how the ordinary experiences of your life feel to you (and unusual events also of course). This generally comes down to not fighting with yourself to be different from who you are and to find contentment in being alive.

Q: What if I am not a Buddhist?

A: Chaplains are trained to help people of all denominations. This does not mean that I will know the particulars of your religious belief system. Still I may be able to help you to bring a spiritual perspective to your life situation. I think I should disclose here, however, that the Buddhist view that will probably underlay the way I listen and think is that fundamentally and without exception, all beings are good.

Q: What if I’m not spiritual?

A: We may not be a good match. I like to work with people who can allow for there being aspects of life that cannot be accounted for using explanations, scientific or otherwise. In other words, sometimes there are reasons for things, and sometimes there are not. It can be frightening to not know, but finding peace with the fact that at times in our lives we simply do not know can help us relax into a world beyond our conceptualizations. If we open to it, often that world will share its wisdom with us so we come to have a different kind of knowing rather than something that can be proved or thought through. And sometimes we learn to simply rest in the don’t know mind.

Learn more about Dr Norma Harris