On the evening of March 17 1959, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (23 years of age at the time) embarked on a perilous journey escaping Tibet’s capital, Lhasa into exile, disguised as a Chinese soldier. Along with his retinue of cabinet members, family members and bodyguards, Tibet’s political and spiritual leader was followed by 80,000 fellow Tibetans opposing China’s brutal military occupation.
As a life-long student of Buddhist psychology (in the Mahayana Tibetan tradition) and currently a student of psychotherapy and counselling (in the Western model), this historically significant world event compels me to honour and acknowledge— that if not for this bold act of resistance — the so-called ‘third wave’ and paradigmatic shift in the field of psychotherapy, as we know it, plus contemporary psychotherapeutic modalities inspired by principles of Tibetan Buddhism exported to the West with the Dalai Lama: CBT, DBT, ACT, CFT, Compassionate Inquiry, MBSR and manifestations of Mindfulness-based modalities, would not have been likely, or even possible.
Depicted among these photos is the Dalai Lama with the late Aaron T. Beck MD,, globally recognized as the Father of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and one of the world’s leading researchers in psychopathology. The American Psychologist called him “one of the five most influential psychotherapists of all time.” In 2005 and 2014 Dr Beck engaged in public and private dialogues with the Dalai Lama and concluded that CBT and Buddhism have much in common.
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