Zen Meditation and the Development of Empathy in Counselors

  • Lesh T
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Abstract

39 graduate students enrolled in counseling courses participated in an experiment designed to learn if practicing zazen could assist counselors to improve their empathic abilities. Experimental Ss, who volunteered for meditation, practiced zazen 30 min. each weekday over 4 wk. Of 2 control groups, which did not meditate, 1 consisted also of volunteers for zazen and 1 of meditation refusers. Tests of affective sensitivity (empathy), of openness to experience, and of self-actualization were administered to all Ss before and after treatment. Experimental Ss improved their empathic abilities significantly; control Ss did not. The effect is greatest in persons with low initial abilities. Both openness to experience and self-actualization are positively related to empathic ability. Depth of concentration reached in zazen is positively related to openness to experience. (50 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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Authors

  • Terry V. Lesh

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