Epstein, Mark 1953-

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EPSTEIN, Mark 1953-

PERSONAL: Born 1953, in United States. Education: Harvard University, M.D.

ADDRESSES: Office—c/o Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, 92 Vandam Street, New York, NY 10013.

CAREER: Psychiatrist and writer, Tricycle, consulting editor. New York University, clinical assistant professor.


Thoughts without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from aBuddhist Perspective, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1995.

Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A BuddhistPerspective on Wholeness, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Going on Being: Buddhism and the Way of Change; APositive Psychology for the West, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2001.

SIDELIGHTS: Mark Epstein is a New York psychiatrist and writer with a special interest in Buddhism. He first became interested in Buddhism as a college student, continued studying it while in medical school, and has imbued his medical practice with Buddhist principles. He has written about these principles and their influence on his approach to psychotherapy in three books.

Thoughts without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective shows how the practice of Buddhism can be complementary to modern psychotherapy. The first part presents basic Buddhist concepts; the second part discusses meditation and discusses its relationship to psychoanalysis, and the third part applies Buddhist concepts to the process of therapy. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the book a "highly personal, thoughtful, illuminating synthesis" and wrote that readers "will find much spiritual nourishment." In Bloomsbury Review, Dixie Griffing commented that the book is "well-written, thoroughly researched" and that it "goes beyond popular psychotherapy."

Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness examines the concept of letting go, familiar in both psychotherapy and Buddhism. Using his own experiences and those of clients, Epstein gives examples of people learning to let go of the old self to discover their true selves. He also discusses the use of meditation to quiet anxious minds. The book is divided into four parts: "Looking," "Smiling," "Embracing," and "Orgasms," each based on Tibetan nicknames for various aspects of spiritual practice. According to a review in Publishers Weekly, Epstein shows "through sparkling prose and effervescent wit how spiritual practice can transform our everyday lives." In Natural Health, J. K. Tidmore praised Epstein's clear use of "everyday language," and noted that Epstein's strength is that "he is not only a Buddhist, he is a psychiatrist, and as such, he can talk in terms that people unfamiliar with Buddhism can very easily grasp."

Going on Being: Buddhism and the Way of Change; A Positive Psychology for the West is part memoir and part guide to therapy. It discusses Epstein's own experiences with Buddhist meditation, and advises that people would heal better from their emotional wounds if they let go of a traditionally Western concept about problems: that problems should be either explored fully, or completely let go of. Epstein, using Buddhist principles, says that one should let go of one's fears of being empty, not allow oneself to be distracted by problems, but not avoid them either, and that the practice of meditation can help one find this balance. June Sawyers wrote in Booklist, "Epstein tells wonderful stories, full of wisdom and flashes of inspiration." In Library Journal, Madeleine Nash wrote, "the book melds many Eastern and Western concepts in a clear and original manner." A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented, "Lucid writing and truly useful ideas abound."

In an interview in Human Nature, Epstein said, "What Buddhism teaches is that the connection, the ability to find intimacy or connection, is inherent within us, and that if we can just surrender back into that capacity for love, that is all of our birthrights—all babies are born with that; they instinctively love their caretakers. So if we can find that again, then our relationships will take care of themselves."



American Health for Women, June, 1998, Amy Gross, "Relaxing into Yourself," p. 34.

American Journal of Psychoanalysis, March, 1996, p. 121.

Bloomsbury Review, September, 1995, Dixie Griffin, review of Thoughts without a Thinker, p. 25.

Booklist, February 1, 1995, Alice Joyce, review of Thoughts without a Thinker, p. 982; June 1, 1998, Vanessa Bush, review of Going to Pieces without Falling Apart, p. 1678; March 15, 2001, June Sawyers, review of Going on Being, p. 1335.

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 1995, review of Thoughts without a Thinker, p. 194.

Library Journal, February 15, 1995, p. 171; February 15, 2001, Madeleine Nash, review of Going on Being, p. 186.

Middle Way, February, 1997, p. 254.

Natural Health, July-August, 1996, Kurt Tidmore, review of Thoughts without a Thinker, p. 141; January, 1999, J. K. Tidmore, review of Going to Pieces without Falling Apart, p. 154.

New England Journal of Medicine, February 4, 1999, p. 396.

Publishers Weekly, February 27, 1995, review of Thoughts without a Thinker, p. 94; May 25, 1998, review of Going to Pieces without Falling Apart, p. 81; January 29, 2001, review of Going on Being, p. 84.


Human Nature,http://www.human-nature.com/ (September 15, 2001), "Going to Pieces with Mark Epstein."*