2 PPLICATION OF BUDDHIST TEACHING IN DOING COUNSELLING FOR CHILDREN

Thứ năm - 09/05/2019 06:21
by Sumedha Viraj Sripathi Ukwatta
PPLICATION OF BUDDHIST TEACHING IN DOING COUNSELLING FOR CHILDREN


 

Sumedha Viraj Sripathi Ukwatta




INTRODUCTION

Modern civilization has imposed many strains  on  man, and those in the psychological realm are, perhaps, among the most serious. The innumerable demands of modern life give rise to many tensions in both the mind and the nervous system. Psychopathological and neuropathological problems are now receiving increasing attention. As declared by the Buddha and as emphasized by American psychologist, William James, the realities of the mind are as important as, or perhaps more important than the realities of the body.

Counselling is a field which related to psychology according to the modern perspective. Buddhism is considered as a religion or philosophy by the most of the scholars. But according to Professor
  1. D. Premasiri there are many ways of doing philosophy, and philosophy of way of living is one among them. Buddhism is a way of living which discusses the philosophy of way of living. According to his interpretation, Buddhism discusses the most of the subject areas which are related to the peoples living. The Buddha who wanted to find a solution for humans suffering was much more aware about the problems of humans either economics, politics, education, ethics, physical and mental illnesses or any problems which challenge humans happiness. Buddhism includes an analysis of human psychology, emotion, cognition, behavior and motivation along with therapeutic practices. The Buddhist psychological terminology is discussed by ethical overtones. It has two therapeutic
 


goals: the healthy and virtuous life of a householder (samacariya) and the ultimate goal of nirvana, the total cessation of suffering.

Buddhist counseling is a process of reducing suffering in individuals using wisdom and interventions from Buddhism, which aims to train the human mind to attain a state of equanimity, joy, and liberation. In the last 2,500 years, Buddhism has been a choice of healing method for millions of individuals but little is known about the components of Buddhist counseling from a psychological perspective. Many empirically supported contemporary psychotherapies such as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MBCBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy incorporate various Buddhist practices and ideas into their treatment modalities. Furthermore, there has been an increase in clinical and research endeavors to consider religiosity and spirituality in psychotherapy over the past decade. Due to these very reasons, it is crucial to demystify the process of traditional Buddhist counseling in order to increase mental health professionals’ cultural awareness of this fourth largest religion in the world and provide considerations and recommendations for professionals who are interested in applying Buddhist ideas and practices in treatments.

In this context, examining the contribution of a world religion like Buddhism in the field of psychotherapy, is bound to be a very rewarding exercise since it should have a significant bearing on the totally of human experience.

The close term for counselling in Buddhism is “Upadesati. The noun is upadesa. There are a lot of terms which can be mentioned here as closed meaning to the term counselling in Buddhism. The Buddha, as a teacher and a counsellor used different methods to reform people. In Pali canon, ōvadati, anusāsati, desēti, ādhisati, pagnapēti, pațțhapēti, vivarati, vib ajati are used to explain the methods used by the Buddha to show his disciple the correct path. When we consider the meaning of these terms, they do not give any means of forcing somebody to do something. These terms emphasize the importance and aim of counselling. He concluded each and every discussion making others happy. This is a very good method to maintain a better doctor-client relationship. To be a
 


better counsellor, compassion or empathy needs to be cultivated within a counsellor. Empathy plays the main role to build up trust within a  client.  Gerald  Corey  mentions  the  importance of empathy in counselling.1 Edward Conze discusses about the importance of four sublime qualities especially compassion. He says they help to reduce the distance in between people.2 According to Dīga Nikayațțhakata, Buddha has divided His day into five periods in His daily routine and early in the morning He attains Mahakarunasamapatti and sees whether there is anybody who needs His help. He rendered His service free of charge. This is an idle character for modern psychiatrists. As the greatest counsellor, the Buddha helped mankind to get rid over their suffering and attains the ultimate happiness.

MOTIVATION FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGISTS

Motivation has been considered as one of the most important reasons that inspire a person to move forward. Mastering motivation to allow sustained and deliberate practice is central to high levels of achievement. Motivation can be conceived of as a cycle in which thoughts influence behaviors, drive performance affect thoughts, and the cycle begins again. Each stage of cycle is composed of many dimensions including attitudes, beliefs, intention, and effort. Most psychological theories hold that motivation exists purely within the individual, but socio-cultural theories express motivation as an outcome of participation in actions and activities within the cultural context of social group.3 Motivation can be divided into two different theories known as
    1. Intrinsic motivation (internal)
    2. Extrinsic motivation (external)

Intrinsic motivation has been studied since the early 1970s. Intrinsic motivation is the self-desire to seek out new things and
  1. Corey G. Case, Student annual for theory and practice of counselling and psychother- apy, Pacific Grove, CA, 2001
  2. Conze Edward, Buddhism its essence and development, 102p
  3. Rueda Richard, Luis C. Moll, 1994, A Sociocultural perspective on Motivation, Rout- ledge, New York.
 


new challenges, to analyze ones capacity, to observe and to gain knowledge. Students who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to engage in the task willingly as well as work to improve their skills, which will increase their capabilities. Students are likely to be intrinsically motivated if they,
    • Attribute their educational results to factors under their own control, also known as autonomy or locus of control
 
    • Believe they have the skills to be effective agents in reaching their desired goals, also known as self-efficacy beliefs
 
    • Are interested in mastering a topic, not just in achieving good grades

Intrinsic motivation can be long lasting and self-sustaining. Efforts to build this kind of motivation are also typically efforts are prompting  students  learning.

Extrinsic motivation comes from influences outside of the individual. According to R. M. Ryan, Usually extrinsic motivation is used to attain outcomes that a person wouldn’t get from intrinsic motivation.4 Common extrinsic motivation is rewards for showing the desired behavior.

Motivation lies at the core of many behaviorist approaches to psychological treatment. A person with autism is seen as lacking motivation to perform socially relevant behaviors. Social stimuli are not as reinforcing for people with autism compared to other people.

Motivation in education can have several effects on how students learn and how they behave towards subject matter. It can:
    • Direct behavior toward particular goals
    • Lead to increase effort and energy
    • Increase initiation of, and persistence in, activities
    • Enhance cognitive processing
    • Determine what consequence are reinforcing
 
  1. Ryan R.M. , Deci, E. L. , 2000, Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development and well-being, 67-78 p.
 
 
  • Lead to improve performance

because students  are  not  always  internally  motivated. They sometimes need situated motivation, which is found in environmental conditions that the teacher creates. Novice monk Cullapanthaka who could not learn even one stanza during the time of three months, was motivated by the Buddha showing kindness and unconditional love, was able to attain Arahantship. In Cullapanthaka Theragata, Thēra Cullapanthaka says how he was motivated by the Buddha.
Bhagava tattha āgacci - sīsamaihaparāmasi bahāya magahetvāna - sangharāmapavesai5
The students, who learn in Special Needclass in schools, can be compared to Novice Cullapantaka who was weak on studies. The parents, teachers and school administrations can practice this method when dealing with such students and produce better results. The kindness and Compassion has a big power of taming the students and motivating them and guiding them to desired goals.

APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE AS A WAY OF MOTIVATION

There is a variety of things that can conjure positive feelings of appreciation or gratitude. A well thought out Thank You, instead of a half-hearted, Thanks,” often leaves people feeling pretty good. Perhaps there was a moment that you can reflect on, that involved strong feelings of gratitude. Gratitude is an emotion similar to appreciation that most people are familiar with. What many people do not know is that gratitude plays an important role in several historical movements and that gratitude is now becoming an important part of psychology research, and especially in positive psychology research.

As it often happens in academia, Gratitude has a different meaning within positive psychology than what it means in everyday life. Most of us associate gratitude with saying thank youto someone who has helped us or given us a gift. From a scientific perspective, gratitude is not just an action. Gratitude is a positive

 
  1. K. N., Thēra ta, 559.
 


emotion, which is really important because it serves a purpose. It has been defined by many people throughout history. Having different definitions for a word is not inherently wrong, but, as a science that has to have measurable effects, positive psychology defines gratitude, it in a way that shows that the effects of gratitude can be measured. Positive psychologists contend that gratitude is more than feeling thankful for something, it is more like a deeper appreciation for someone or something, which produces longer lasting positivity.

A more helpful definition for gratitude comes from the Harvard Medical School, which says that gratitude is:

A thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power

That gives us a better idea of what gratitude means in the context of psychology, but surely we can deepen our understanding with a few more definitions. One idea comes from Psychiatry researchers, who define gratitude as:

“The appreciation is what is valuable and meaningful to one and represents a general state of thankfulness and or appreciation.” (Sansone
& Sansone, 2010).

We should have enough definitions of gratitude at this point to understand what it means in a psychological, social, and religious context. Gratitude is a positive emotion that is felt after being the beneficiary of some sort of gift. It is a social emotion that is often directed towards a person (the giver of a gift), though it is also often felt towards a higher power. Gratitude is often felt when a gift is not necessarily deserved, or when the gift was not given in some sort of reciprocal sense. The social aspect of gratitude should be clear from these definitions. Philosophers and religious and spiritual leaders have long recognized the importance of gratitude.  The  children seek gratitude from others. When they receive gratitude, it helps to develop self-esteem within them.
 


The educational psychologists say that the kindness and appreciation of teachers increases the students’  performance. The Buddha used this method to increase Thēra Cullapanthakas performance before 2500 years ago.

THE POWER OF THE KIND AND PLEASANT SPEECH

In Abhaya Theragāta, Thēra Abhaya says how he was motivated by the Buddhas words.
Sutva subhasitavāca – buddhassādicca banduno paccabyādihi nipuna- vālaggausunā yathā6
Thera Abhaya says that he reach the ultimate happiness, the nibbana, by hearing the Buddhas pleasant words. It shows that the importance of pleasant speech. The Buddha teaches the four types of bad speeches which should be avoided. They are:
  1. Lies
  2. Harsh words
  3. Slandering
  4. Useless words

In Vāca Sutta, Buddha teaches the bhikkhus the five characteristics of a pleasant speech. They are as thus,
  1. It is spoken at the right time.
  2. It is spoken in truth.
  3. It is spoken beneficially.
  4. It is spoken with a mind of goodwill.
  5. It is spoken affectionately.

‘‘Pañcahi, bhikkhave, agehi samannāgatā vāsubhāsitā hoti, no dubbhāsitā, anavajjā ca ananuvajjā ca vñūna. Katamehi pañcahi? Kālena ca bhāsitā hoti, saccā ca bhāsitā hoti, sahā ca bhāsitā hoti, atthasahitā ca bhāsitā hoti, mettacittena ca bhāsitā hoti. Imehi kho, bhikkhave, pañcahi agehi samannāgatā vāsubhāsitā hoti,

 
  1. Thēragāta, 26, KN.
 


no dubbhāsitā, anavajjā ca ananuvajjā ca vñūnanti. Ahama.7 There are some child clients with communication issue. They
speak harsh words, lies and many kind of bad words. When a
counsellor deals with such a child client, it is needed to be very
careful of using the language. The counsellor can apply the Buddhas
way of using the language and let the children absorb and learn the
righteous and effective way of communication.

SAMMĀ VĀYĀMA (RIGHT EFFORT)

The students cultivate the positive attitude and have enthusiasm in the things they do. With such sustained enthusiasm and cheerful determination they can succeed in the things they do. This is called effort. In Buddhist aspect right effort explains, that there are four types of effort.
    1. The effort to reject evil that has already arisen
    2. The effort to prevent the arising of evil.
    3. The effort to develop good which is not arisen yet
    4. The effort to maintain the good which has arisen.

By applying the right effort in their lives students can reduce and eventually eliminate the number of unwholesome mental states and increase and firmly establish wholesome thoughts as a natural part of their mind. There are some children who are undergoing Antisocial Personality Disorders (APD) and Dependent Personality Disorders (DPD). Buddhas teaching on Right Effort (Sammā vāyāma) can be applied when doing counselling for the children who have got APD and DPD.

15 QUALITIES WHICH ARE TO BE CULTIVATED IN REACH- ING A PARTICULAR GOAL.

In Metta sutta, the Buddha has mentioned that there are 15 qualities which have to be developed within oneself who wants to be succeeded reaching in their goal. A group of bhikkhu went to a forest to practice meditation but returned to Buddha abandoning their goal due to a troublesome situation made by demons. Then


7. Vāca Sutta, AN,
 


the Buddha preached Metta Sutta and asked them to go to the same place to practice. Finally they were able to reach their goal following the instructions given by the Buddha. According to Metta Sutta one should develop fifteen qualities to be succeeded. They are as follows.
  1. Sakko – be able
  2. Uju - up right
  3. Suju – perfectly upright
  4. Suvaca – polite in expression
  5. Mudu – be gentle
  6. Anatini – humble
  7. Santussako – be with contentment
  8. Subharo – easily satisfy
  9. Appakicco – not bothered by duties
  10. Sallahukavutti – simplicity in livelihood
  11. Santindriyo – restrain in behavior
  12. Nipako – being skillful
  13. Appagabbo – not being arrogant
  14. Kulēsu ananugiddo – not attached to families
  15. Naca khuddasamācare kinciyēna vňupare upavadeyyum
– should never resort to doing anything so mean where by
the rest of the wise world would reproach him.

A Child is the one who works on building the basement for his future life. To be succeeded in this task, these are most important points. The students who develop these qualities within themselves, they would accomplish their missions reaching their desired goals.

BUDDHIST COUNSELING ON BULLIED CHILDREN.

Bullying is a concerned issue in the modern world among the children, especially in schools. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, physical health, and suicide. It is important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying
 


or something else is a concern. Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. They are more likely to experience:
    • Depression and anxiety
    • Increased feelings of sadness and loneliness
    • Unexplainable injuries
    • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
 
    • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
    • Changes in sleep and eating patterns
    • Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
    • Decreased academic achievement
    • Decreased school attendance

There are a lot of ways which can be used to avoid bullying and reform the victims. When we consider the Buddhist counselling, there are many teaching of the Buddha which is applicable to get rid of this current issue.

One of the first things to do if possible is to distance the child from this individual. Ultimately it is important to remember that the child needs to be educated that they are not him, and the child does not have to take their bullying, their bullying is theirs and theirs alone. Buddha used this method when dealing with Akkosa. He said, “If a well prepared food would not been accepted by a visitor in your house you and your family members share and eat them. In the same way, brahman, that with which you have insulted me, who is not insulting; that with which you have taunted me, who is not taunting; that with which you have berated me, who is not berating: that I don’t accept from you. Its all yours, brahman. Its all yours. Not insinuating you do feel that way, but often we can feel like the bullying is a personal attack and we allow ourselves to take it with us and carry it home - but by realizing the root of the other persons suffering we can detach ourselves from any personal hurt.
The Buddha taught interdependence. No one is really separate
 


fromanyoneelse.Remindingourselvesthatweareallinterconnected assists us in cultivating
  • Empathy
  • Wisdom
  • Compassion.

Vipassana Meditation is a tool that can be used to help dissolve our attachment to our ego, so that we are less likely to feel shame or fear if others attempt to put us down and embarrass us publicly, and instead hold our seat and respond skillfully. Our ego has a variety of needs, and one of those is to work hard to keep us feeling safe in the world. Therefore, when someone tries to tarnish our character, our ego jumps in to defend us, but often overreacts causing more pain and carnage.
Sabbe tasanti dadassa – sabbe tavitapiya

Therefore, if we can guide children to soothe their egos demands by being grounded and rational and by remembering that they do not need to take the views of other people personally, and that they can quell rage and pain just by gently bringing themselves back to the present moment. They will settle into the eye of any storm and peacefully allow those moments to pass them by without becoming irate and reactionary.

Mindfulness (Samma Sati) allows us to exist in the present moment so that we are  aware  of  our  emotions  and  how  they can quickly gain control over us, if we allow them to become overwhelming. When we are calm and balanced, we will be in a position to listen carefully to those around us so that we can see their suffering and the reasons they behave the way they do. If we choose to respond habitually or become aggressive in our reactions to bullying, we will only cause ourselves more suffering and feel powerless sadly, this is often what the bully hoped for. Therefore, we will feel injured twice, first by the bully and then by our own emotionally fueled responses. We need to be aware of the mind and its function carefully and try to control it. If one can control the mind it brings happiness.
Cittassa dhamato sādu
 


Cittarakkhea mēdhavi – cittaguttasukhavaha

Buddhist counsellors can apply this Mindfulness based practicing technique on bullied children.

We are all mirrors for one another. However, this does not mean that what other people say or do is in any way a reflection of who we are as a person. It just means that people offer us the opportunity to reflect on a deeper level so that we can see why we feel emotionally affected by how people express themselves. We can then develop a greater understanding of one another, which is essential for children from their young ages.

Rather than interacting angrily with the person we feel is patronizing, disrespecting, or mistreating us, we can instead offer kindness, compassion, and understanding. Just because someone judges us, it does not mean they know what they are talking about particularly, or that their conclusions in any way reflect who we are. They are looking through their own eyes, through their own lens of perception, and, perhaps, with a complete lack of empathy. The counsellor can explain this situation to the child client.

Buddhism teaches Metta (loving-kindness) and Karuna (compassion). We practice cultivating it within ourselves and then extend it to all sentient beings especially to bullies. Some people just do not like the way others shine, so they sadly try to dim their light, shut them down, and silence them. They do not practice Mudita (appreciative joy). The children who bully others do not know anything about appreciative joy. It seems that they are needed to be educated about these qualities. And it is necessary to give them time to understand their lack of virtues qualities and develop them within ones own self.

Now how do we practice Upekkha (equanimity) towards a person children are annoyed at? This is not so easy if children have not practiced mindfulness meditation. They may want to first practice loving kindness and compassion first. If it does not work, try to practice equanimity (look neutrally) on this person. This is how it works. When a person speaks to us we first pick up information from our external senses. We then process the information and if it is agreeable we get a pleasant feeling. If it is disagreeable we get
 


an unpleasant feeling and may get annoyed at the person. It is also possible for us reject both these pleasant and unpleasant feelings and practice equanimity. Equanimity will help us to overcome this annoyance in us. The story of Cincimanavika gives evidence how Buddha practices Upekkha.

The next method of overcoming an annoyance is by forgetting or ignoring the person. Children can do this in two ways, physically or mentally. They can physically remove themselves from the situation. This will be the easier method. They can walk away from the situation till the person cools down. This is sometimes called positive withdrawal.” This means they remove themselves from the situation for their own benefit. On the other hand mental withdrawal is little more difficult. Unless they have practiced enough Vipassana meditation, their mind is going to bring back to all the thoughts and memories again and again. These thoughts are food for the mind. We keep feeding on this mental food” until we get very angry and depressed. Children can try to replace these thoughts at the beginning itself with pleasant thought previously experienced by them. Now how can a child replace unpleasant thought with a pleasant thought? This is how Buddha explained this:

When you are thinking about an object, it sometimes occurs that evil, unwholesome thoughts connected with hate and delusion comes to your mind. The way to get rid of them is to concentrate on another object that is wholesome and good. Just like a skilled carpenter knocks out a course peg with a fine one, so the evil thoughts will disappear. With their departure, the mind will be calm, unified, and concentrated once more.

Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno yanimittaāgamma ya nimittamanasikaroto uppajjanti pāpakā akusalā vitakkā chandūpasahitāpi dosūpasahitāpi mohūpasahitāpi, tena, bhikkhave, bhikkhunā tamhā nimittā aññanimittamanasi kātabbakusalūpasahita. Tassa tamhā nimittā añña nimittamanasikaroto kusalūpasahitaye pāpakā akusalā vitakkā chandūpasahitāpi dosūpasahitāpi mohūpasahitāpi te pahīyanti te abbhatthagacchanti.8
  1. Vitakkasanāna Sutta, MN.
 


CONCLUSION

Counselling plays a significant role in the psychology in the modern world. Many of western psychologists have contributed in developing western counselling. Buddhist counselling started 2563 years ago. The Buddha, who consulted the mankind to get rid over their every type of mental disorders, leads them towards ultimate mental happiness. In the modern world still we can apply the Buddhas counseling techniques in bringing up the children for a better world.

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