Flowing Bridges, Quiet Waters

Japanese Psychotherapies, Morita and Naikan

Edited by David K. Reynolds

Series: SUNY series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology
Paperback : 9780887069642, 187 pages, July 1989
Hardcover : 9780887069635, 187 pages, July 1989

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This book is the first to discuss experiences of the Morita and Naikan ways of life in the Western World. Although Morita and Naikan are therapies—perspectives on neurotic habits and their correction—the vision is educational rather than medical. The approach offers a way of acknowledging feelings while engaging in constructive living.

With roots in Zen, the principles of this constructive living were formulated over 80 years ago by Shoma Morita, a Japanese psychiatrist. Like Zen, these principles are thoroughly grounded in the reality of the here and now. Morita's methods are aimed at the person who suffers from anxiety, shyness, phobias, and obsessions that often manifest in physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, stomach disorders, and heart palpitations. However the techniques are available and beneficial to people at widely different stages of self-development, not just to those whose lives are plagued by neurotic suffering.

Reynolds offers a look at the adaptations necessary to transform and transport these Japanese methods into techniques useful to Westerners. Cultural-psychological insights are presented by the author who is both an anthropologist and clinician. Flowing Bridges offers a unique case study of directed change of a psychotherapeutic system. What is Eastern, what is Western, and what is commonly human becomes more clear from this example of importation of Japanese ideas into the West.

For psychotherapists, there are extensive accounts of hands-on treatment methods. For those interested in adding these very effective techniques, the first-person accounts of a variety of contributors will be helpful.

David K. Reynolds is Director of the ToDo Institute in Los Angeles and Co-Director of the Health Center Pacific in Hawaii. Formerly on the faculty of the UCLA School of Public Health and of the University of Southern California School of Medicine, he is the author of seventeen books.


"What I like most about this book is its clarity and readability. The two central themes of Morita and Naikan therapies, that behavior rather than feelings and thoughts must be the focus of therapy and that if we reflect deeply enough, our lives will naturally be one of gratitude and service, are conveyed well. " — Mike Sayama, Institute of Zen Studies