The reception of Buddhist Psychology in Western Psychotherapy

Project description
This research reflects on and further develops the contemporary discourses on the dialogue between Indian/Buddhist and Western approaches to mental health. Critical terms in psychotherapy (most prominently ‘mindfulness’, Pali sati, Buddhist hybrid Sanskrit smti) are transculturally clarified, described, interpreted, and compared, based on source texts of the involved Eastern and Western systems. The main goal is to foster the epistemological understanding of indigenous psychologies East and West and to provide new strategies for cross-cultural psychological (cross-cultural psychology defined in its wider sense including cultural psychology and indigenous psychologies) and psychotherapeutic research.

Project management
Dr. Gerald Virtbauer

Current state

Project start

End of project
The end of the first phase of this research is planned for 2016


Virtbauer, G. (2013). Bewusstsein und Achtsamkeit in der buddhistischen Psychologie. In U. Anderssen-Reuster, S. Meck & P. Meibert (Eds.), Psychotherapie und buddhistisches Geistestraining: Methoden einer achtsamen Bewusstseinskultur (pp. 263–276). Stuttgart: Schattauer.

Virtbauer, G. (2012). The Western reception of Buddhism as a psychological and ethical system: developments, dialogues, and perspectives. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 15(3), 251–263. doi: 10.1080/13674676.2011.569928

Virtbauer, G. (2011). Bewusstsein und Beziehung im Mahāyāna-Buddhismus. Ein integrativ religionspsychologischer Ansatz. e-Journal Philosophie der Psychologie, 15. Retrieved from

Virtbauer, G. D. (2010). Intersubjektivität: Psychologisch-anthropologische Grundlage in Mahāyāna-Buddhismus und relationaler Psychoanalyse. Wien: Sigmund Freud PrivatUniversitäts Verlag.

Virtbauer, G. D. (2010). Dimensions of intersubjectivity in Mahāyāna-Buddhism and relational psychoanalysis. Contemporary Buddhism, 11(1), 85–102. doi: 10.1080/14639941003791584