I am student in my final year of the MA in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Roehampton. As part of the course, students must submit an 8000-word research project, and for mine I have chosen to investigate the ways in which counsellors and psychotherapists who identify as Buddhist experience and use the influence of their Buddhist faith and beliefs in their therapeutic practice. The project has full University of Roehampton ethical approval.

There appears to be an increasing influence on Western approaches to facilitating positive human growth and development through psychotherapy by Eastern spiritual values and practices, in particular Buddhism.

Although the theoretical links between Buddhism and psychotherapy have been recognised in the past, most notably in the work of Jung, there has been a recent expansion of therapeutic practices where such links have become more apparent. This is particularly noticeable in the development of meditation and mindfulness-based theory and practices within the psychotherapeutic sector and a concomitant increase in publications associated with research and academic enquiry into their scope and effectiveness.

However, despite this trend towards integration of Buddhist practices (e.g. meditation, mindfulness etc) into therapeutic practice, current research has tended to focus at a theoretical level or on the introduction of particular techniques from Buddhist practice into therapeutic practice. Relatively little research appears to have been focused on how Buddhist practitioners have integrated their beliefs at an individual level.

This project therefore attempts to explore at a phenomenological level the extent, limitations and potentialities of this integration by reviewing in detail how a sample (4-6) of UK-based counsellors and psychotherapists who identify as Buddhist perceive, pursue and evaluate such integration in their counselling and psychotherapeutic practices.

To this end, I hope to recruit 4-6 participants and interview them individually either face-to-face in their professional premises or a suitable public setting in the vicinity of where they live or work, or by Skype, or in a private room at the University of Roehampton. Interviews will last 60-90 minutes. The interviews will be digitally recorded in confidence and anonymised and any data arising and stored securely under guidelines laid down by the University.

By way of personal background, my training and experience in counselling and psychotherapy extends over the past 5 years. I have also had contact with Buddhist beliefs and practices through my regular attendance on study courses, retreats and meditation practice at the London Buddhist Centre over the past 2 years.

If you would be interested in participating in this project, please reply to my University email address (jonesm3@roehampton.ac.uk) and I will contact you to forward further details and subsequently to agree a date, time and place for the interview.

It is anticipated that interviews will take place during March 2019.

Thank you in anticipation.

Melvyn Jones