Phillip Moffitt’s qualities as a therapeutic trainer reflect his uniquely combined experience as a mindfulness meditation and Buddhist teacher and his lifelong study of body-mind practices, including Jungian psychology, yoga, Aikido, and somatic awareness. He has studied the yogic science of consciousness with Rishi Prem Varni in Rishikesh, India, and received certification in somatic awareness from the Cherner Institute in California. He earned his certification to teach mindfulness meditation from Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern California where he is currently a member of the Teachers Council and an instructor in the Spirit Rock teacher training program.
Phillip has written numerous articles on psychology and meditation/yoga for Yoga Journal, Shambhala Sun, and other publications. His book Dancing with Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering has been used as a text in numerous courses on coping with life’s difficulties. Phillip underwent Jungian analysis and spent several years in specialized study with Dr. Joseph Henderson and served on the boards of the Jung Foundation of New York and the Jung Institute of San Francisco. Additionally, he has taught stress management and impulse control utilizing yoga and meditation in a federal prison.
Programs for Psychotherapists
Phillip Moffitt teaches daylong and weekend workshops for therapists on integrating Buddhist psychology and mindfulness techniques and tools in the therapeutic process. To schedule a workshop, contact the Life Balance Institute at 415-435-3141. Following are descriptions of some of Phillip’s recent trainings for therapists:
Finding Freedom from Difficult Emotions
Empower your clients to “respond” rather than “react” to challenging situations. Learn what causes difficult emotions to arise from a Buddhist psychological perspective, how the ego gets confused and overwhelmed when difficult emotions arise, and what Buddhist psychology says about how to use mindfulness techniques to transform these emotions. In particular, the emotions of anger, anxiety, disappointment, helplessness, and feelings of inauthenticity are addressed. The Buddhist practices of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity are taught as skillful tools for working with difficult emotions.
Five Ways Mindfulness Can Be Used in Psychotherapy
Help your clients develop their cognitive capacity through mindfulness. Learn specific techniques that will help them stay present to all life experiences regardless of the emotional intensity, deal with feelings of ambiguity and ambivalence, and establish an inner ground from which they can develop authenticity. Also learn intervention techniques that cultivate mindfulness.
Buddhist Psychological Tools for Self-Comfort & Self-Motivation
Help your clients learn to manage their existential angst, fear, and uncertainty utilizing specific Buddhist techniques for self-soothing. Teach them how to recognize complex emotional states and how to attend to each one, how to establish priorities in their lives, and how to make decisions. Specific techniques taught include: utilizing body awareness for self-comfort, reframing and reinterpreting experience, and understanding “contracting mind” and how to release it.
Buddhist Psychological Types
Buddhist psychology has a unique typology for understanding propensities and tendencies of the mind. Learn the subtle variations in the three basic Buddhist types and develop new insights regarding your clients. Help clients identify the type they are, as well as recognize the challenges that come with being that type and how to cope with them. Teach clients how to recognize the challenges of dealing with other “types” and learn skillful techniques for dealing with the “difficult persons” in their lives.
What Therapists Are Saying
Through the years, Phillip Moffitt has been a genuine source of true wisdom and direct modeling of pure presence for me. His profound grasp of Buddhist and Western psychological theories have encouraged me to deepen my own understanding of the relationship between these two disciplines, which has radically altered my practice of psychotherapy. My patients aren’t just feeling better; they are waking up and into a mind that is unhindered, clear, intrinsically joyful, and luminous. This work is such a joy.”
Mindfulness-based psychotherapist and licensed M.F.T., San Francisco Bay Area
Phillip’s wisdom is well known throughout dharma circles. However, I especially appreciate the respect he has for the work of the therapist. His care for us is palpable and energizing. After I attended two training sessions with Phillip, I felt a new respect for my own work, which has energized me and allowed me to bring more to my clients.”
The marriage of Phillip’s astute psychological understanding and his dharma teachings is indeed strong medicine for both me and my clients. When I listen to his talks, he entrains me, deepening my growth and spiritual understanding. He grounds the wisdom of the dharma in practicality, which both broadens andsharpens my focus and understanding. And, because of the specificity of Phillip’s teachings, I have been able to help clients experience more spaciousness, meaning, and clarity in their lives.”
Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist, Corte Madera, Calif.
Phillip has given me the tools and the confidence to take more of my mindfulness practice into my work with psychotherapy clients, and he has deepened my understanding of a body-oriented approach to healing. The fact that his life and healing tapestry was woven together with mindfulness and multiple strands of psychotherapy also makes him a strong voice helping bridge east and west, mindfulness and psychotherapy. I came away from the workshop much more able to help my clients stay with their body-oriented experience, much more able to help my clients move out of their heads and into their here and now felt experience, the only place, I believe, where true healing can happen.”
Whether Phillip is starting from the Four Noble Truths, the Brahma-viharas or the breath, he weaves together Buddhist psychology and the body in such a way that the therapist has a direct experience of causes of suffering and the potential for the end of suffering. Phillip is gifted in inviting participants to experience the moment-to-moment unfolding of the body-mind, pointing the way toward freedom from difficult emotions. The methods used in this cultivation of awareness and choice have direct clinical application. They have rich and potent gifts for the therapist, and they can be enlisted in therapeutic work with clients.”
Psychotherapist, M.S.W., A.C.S.W., Seattle
Knowing the dharma bloomed after reading Dancing with Life. After listening to Philip’s dharma talks for years, his book articulated the path simply—I began to live it more easily. My understanding of the dharma continues to provide an essential basis for accountability, efficacy and spirit in my practice as counselor.”
Psychotherapist, M.A., Maui, Hawaii