Constructive Living

University of Hawaii Press
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Constructive Living is a Western approach to mental health education based in large part on adaptations of two Japanese psychotherapies, Morita therapy and Naikan therapy. Constructive Living (CL) presents an educational method of approaching life realistically and thoughtfully. The action aspect of CL emphasizes accepting reality (including feelings), focusing on purposes, and doing what needs doing. The reflection aspect of CL enables us to understand the present and past more clearly and to live in recognition of the support we receive from the world.
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About the author

David K. Reynolds is recognized as the leading Western authority on Japanese psychotherapies. He is a former faculty member of the UCLA School of Public Health, the USC School of Medicine, and the University of Houston. His books have been published by university presses (California, Chicago, Hawaii, and New York) and popular presses in the U.S., Japan, China, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. In 1988 the World Health Organization sent Dr. Reynolds to China to train psychiatrists there in Constructive Living. He currently lectures and conducts workshops around the Pacific, including approximately three months in spring and three months in fall in Japan lecturing and consulting in Japanese. He is the only non-Japanese to receive the Kora Prize and the Morita Prize by the Morita Therapy Association of Japan.

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Additional Information

University of Hawaii Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 1984
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Psychology / General
Psychology / Psychotherapy / Counseling
Self-Help / Personal Growth / General
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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.
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