Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 592–601 | Cite as

Total Exertion: Zen, Psychoanalysis, Life

  • Paul C. CooperEmail author
Original Paper


This paper integrates Zen and psychoanalytic concepts; introduces the Zen concept of total exertion; elaborates the profound implications that the notion of total exertion has for the psychoanalytic encounter and the psychotherapist’s capacity for maintaining an optimal attentional stance; addresses anxiety-driven interferences to both the psychoanalytic process and deepened Zen practice. Clinical vignettes, personal experiences, poetry and psychoanalytic theory serve to demonstrate the abstract aspects of the discussion.


Zen Zazen Meditation Psychoanalysis Dogen Bion Total exertion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New YorkUSA
  2. 2.National Psychological Association for PsychoanalysisInstitute for Expressive AnalysisNew YorkUSA

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