#269 – The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism with Pilar Jennings, Ph.D.


Pilar Jennings, Ph.D. is a writer and researcher who has focused on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation practice. She received her Ph.D. in Psychiatry and Religion from Union Theological Seminary, and has been working with patients and their families through the Harlem Family Institute since 2004. Dr. Jennings is also a researcher at the Columbia University Center for Study of Science and Religion, as well as a facilitator of a Columbia University Faculty Seminar. Dr. Jennings is a long-term practitioner of Tibetan and Vipassana Buddhism. She has also trained as a Buddhist chaplain through the Zen Center for Contemplative Care. Dr. Jennings lives in New York City.

Her 2010 book, Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism, explores the interpersonal dynamics between Buddhist teachers and their Western students, in comparison to the relationships between psychoanalysts and their patients.

Dr. Jennings is a researcher at the Columbia University Center for Study of Science and Religion, where she explores the impact of narcissism on environmental issues. She is also a facilitator of a Columbia University Faculty Seminar addressing topics related to slavery and memory. In her ongoing psychotherapeutic work with inner city families, Dr. Jennings has sought to explore the impact of racism on children. With her unique approach to clinical work, she has integrated traditional psychological healing models and meditation.

Through her training in contemplative care at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City, Pilar has brought the combination of her divergent interests and background to another population in need of sensitive psychological and spiritual care. As a contemplative care provider, she has made efforts to explore the psychological and spiritual needs of disenfranchised populations.

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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. PhD Koty Lapid
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    David, thank you for this podcast also! I enjoyed it very much. I hope I understood it correctly what Pilar Jennings PhD said, about the Buddhism. That is also at the Buddhist belief, there is some \’higher entity\’ like God, but a Buddhist person, will not call it God. I will be very happy if somebody else who heard this wonderful podcast, will answer to my \’question\’ above. Take care, Koty

  2. reji larco
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    I will persue this very good question recently commented on, in the meantime Dr. Pilar Jennings\\\’ wonderful book Mixing Minds I am sure provides some of the answers, lets continue to read her book, I am sure many more questions will follow naturally as we all struggle with the depth of this subject,

  3. Dr. William Moore
    Posted May 20, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Mixing Buddhism with Psychotherapy and
    Psychoanalysis is a dangerous undertaking
    Both for Buddhism and Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis.
    Even though clinicians in the West attempt to
    converge the two it is impossible, unethical, and
    A major disservice to clients. No amount of training
    In Dharma and psychological theory can even
    Come close to a merger of the two.

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