Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 357–370 | Cite as

Sense and Non-sense: Phenomenology, Buddhist and Psychoanalytic

  • Paul C. Cooper


The author uses and extends Wilfred Bion's concepts of “invariance” and “transformation” to discuss the integration of Buddhism and psychoanalysis. Observable descriptive similarities between Buddhism and psychoanalysis, according to the author, function as artifacts that can overlay and obscure the primary subjective and experiential nature that the two disciplines have in common. The author discusses the nonpathological nature of unitive experiences and argues that over-emphasis on technical similarities can function as a resistance to deepening unitive experiences with patients. The terms “sense,” “non-sense,” and “no-sense” function as neutral words with which to discuss basic ineffable and unknowable experiences that both systems can access. The author comments on the concepts of faith and spirit in relation to both disciplines. The integration of Buddhism and psychoanalysis, for individuals who practice both disciplines, according to the author, is primarily an internal process. An unrelenting search for lived truths forms the basis of this process.


Unitive Experience Technical Similarity Internal Process Experiential Nature Neutral Word 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Blanton-Peale Institute 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul C. Cooper
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Spirituality and PsychotherapyNew York

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