Written by John Welwood,

How to Use the Best of Two Worlds

Review by Gunnel Minett

John Welwood is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who combines Western psychology with Eastern teachings, in particular Buddhism, in a very successful way.
In this book Welwood examines the strengths and weaknesses in both approaches and shows how, by bringing the best of the two worlds together, we can reach a better understanding of the whole spectrum of the human psyche, personal, interpersonal and transpersonal, in a way that neither Western psychology or Eastern religion can offer on its own.

In part one of the book Welwood discusses ways of integrating psychology and spirituality, in terms of principles of inner work, path or pathology, ego strength and egolessness and psychological space.

Part two deals with psychotherapy in a spiritual context. Here Welwood looks at the healing power of unconditional presence in the therapy situation, the potential of vulnerability, power and healing relationships. He also presents alternative views of psychotherapy as a practice of love, depression as a loss of heart, the importance of making friends with our emotions and psychological work as a part of spiritual development.

In the final part Welwood looks at the awakening power of relationship and how intimate relationships can be an important way to reach inner transformation. He also defines conditional and unconditional love and examines genuine and false spiritual authority for people who calls themselves gurus or are regarded as gurus by their followers.

The book offers a very valuable contribution in particular for Western psychology, which is still struggling with spiritual issues but also for Eastern religion, which tends to rely exclusively on spiritual practice to solve personal problems. The book brings up issues that are essential for both psychology and religion, explained and explored with thoroughness and depth in a true bridge-building way. In particular for practitioners of Western transpersonal psychology and psychotherapy this book should be essential reading.

Shambhala, Boston & London, 2002, ISBN 1-57062-823-6