An Example of How Professionalism and Boundaries can Become Compromised
This was being discussed in comments sections from an anonymous source in another venue.
What is described below is a situation where there is a risk of a meditation group becoming socially and psychologically inbred.
1) One should not combine the role of meditation teacher and therapist
2) A person who is a therapist and also a meditation teacher should keep those functions separate and never use the therapist role to recruit for his or her religious community, nor should that person use the meditation teacher role to recruit for his or his wife's therapy practice.
3) It is hazardous to offer therapy sessions for free unless one does this as part of a clinic that offers free or sliding scale sessions and you are checking in regularly with colleagues.
In the context of a meditation group, getting free therapy sessions from a group teacher who is also a therapist can lead to a very dangerous degree of dependence.
By contrast, there is a Zen community whose ethics guidelines forbid any member of that community to use membership community as a recruitment pool for his or her private practice.
If a meditation teacher sees that someone is in distress, he or she could have a list of recommended therapists--but that persons spouse should not be on the list.
For...how can a person who feels attached to that meditation group feel free to refuse an offer of free therapy from the group leader?
And what if a member of the mediation group has therapy sessions with the leader, or with the leaders' wife and decides that the therapeutic alliance is not working, or something feels wrong or 'icky' about the therapist?
If that person finds he or she distrusts the therapist, he or she may fear speaking up because that would mean losing harmony within the meditation group, as well as having to risk unpleasantness or worse from the therapist.
Therapist/couselors/psychologists seem to be a category looking for any handle to stand out and be noted for being of quality
I surmise this
I sat with one guy who headed a (Buddhist) sitting group he put flyers on the butsudan of his and his wife's therapy groups (she belonged to the same zendo he did).
It felt like he was using the group to bolster his private practice.
Years later as metta (loving kindness practice) he offered free therapy sessions to folks sitting in his sangha.
At first glance these things appeared harmless, as gestures of helpfulness.
Maybe they were.
Mine was a different response I thought there was confusion with boundaries true all is one but therapists need a healthy sense of where they end.
There seemed to be a smooshing together of buddism and psychology
these are not the same
no matter what the practitioner's faith helping a person or a couple or a family means discovering what is theirs
helpful is helpful no matter what religious medal is around the practioner's neck
what has budhism got to do with it? got to do with it?
I'm just asking.
I might very well seek help from a Jewish or a Christian therapist--but I would not likely go to them if they advertised themselves as a Jewish Psychologist or Christian Psychologist
I'll go see the rebbe or the priest if I need a relgious take on a matter
November 2, 2009 4:39 PM
A final note: some who combine the function of Buddhist meditation teacher as well as that of licensed therapist, may become quite famous as meditation teachers and be in demand to lead retreats, sometimes all over the country.
If your therapist is constantly out of town leading long meditation retreats, it doesnt matter how brilliant he or she is..that person will not have the day to day stablity to
needed to do depth therapy.
If one needs psychotherapy plus meditation practice, find a therapist who has stable ties to the community and is not travelling all over the country as a dharma celebrity.
There are only 24 hours in a day and as a Yiddish proverb put it, you cannot dance at two weddings with one tochas