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Already Free: Buddhism Meets Psychotherapy on the Path of Liberation

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  327 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Why are more and more psychotherapists embracing meditation practice, while so many Buddhists are exploring psychology? "Both psychology and Buddhism seek to provide freedom from suffering," explains Bruce Tift, "yet each offers a completely different approach for reaching this goal." In Already Free, Tift opens a fresh and provocative dialogue between these two profound p ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published June 1st 2015 by Sounds True (first published July 28th 2011)
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Morgan Blackledge
This is an essential read for anyone interested in the intersection of Buddhist practice and western psychotherapy.

My only criticism would be that the author seems unaware of other recent developments in psychotherapy that integrate the values, goals and practices of the Buddhist traditions with those of psychotherapy e.g. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).

Additionally, the author seems unaware of other psychotherapy traditions that integrate the h
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-q1
This book should be subtitled "A manual to emotional adulthood". I'm so glad I found it - it's like a fast-forwarded therapy, as so many things start to make sense (especially if you are already engaged in Western style psychotherapy). It pays to own a copy that you can come back to often for insights, as those topics will most certainly permeate life as a whole.
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bruce Tift is both a therapist and a practitioner of Vajrayana Buddhism, and he effectively makes use of both western and eastern traditions in this fascinating and eye-opening program. The western part of it is largely diagnostic and etiological: personalities (including their attendant neuroses) are formed as a result of coping mechanisms developed from childhood, which we hold on to into adulthood when they are no longer necessary, and which sometimes cause problems and limit potential. Tift ...more
Excellent! He skillfully takes the vehicle of Buddhism into the world of emotions and psychological healing. I am very glad I took a chance and listened to this book, and hope the author will write more in the future.
Akhil Jain
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reco by Tim Ferris’s:

My fav quotes (not a review):
-Page 27 |
"The developmental view suggests that, by the ages of four, five, or six years old, we have hopefully achieved what’s called a neurotic level of organization. What this really means is that we have the capacity for a stabilized repression of particular feelings."
-Page 32 |
"So most of us actually have an investment in making ourselves the problem. “If I’m the problem, then that explains why my parents are not
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book, for free, in exchange for an honest review.

I had a different take away than other readers so take this with a grain of salt.

As someone reasonably well read in Buddhism I didn't find much new here. That's not saying this isn't comprehensive, it is, but there are other comprehensive books out there. It also might depend on when you find this book, it usually does. I've read more than a few East meets West type books and it is easy to get burned out. This might be better for s
Nikhil Thota
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Already Free was one of those books that I read very slowly, to properly chew and digest the wisdom. I consider myself a sheepish highlighter, but I found myself highlighting almost every other page. This speaks to how dense and powerful the insights are within this book.

The core idea is the distinction between Western Developmental Psychotherapy and Fruitional Acceptance, influenced by Eastern Spirituality. Bruce Tift admits that these two schools of thought are at odds with each other, and can
Andy Luong
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most thorough explanations of Western psychotherapy based on the work of Freud. It indicates clearly why these psychological strategies we developed as a powerless child will become counter-productive for adult life, as we consciously try to ignore a part of ourselves, therefore we would never feel complete.
It also displays a great combination of Western and Eastern approaches (Buddhism), as Buddhism is used to strengthen the level of awareness and the courage to face with each momen
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic
This is the book your neurotic self didn't know she needed. It is SO good! Pitch perfect dialectic! You will feel so smart after reading this book and have insight that you didn't know you didn't already have. It was super good. I listened to it twice in a row and I feel certain I will pick it up in the future.

Once of the main takeaways is that we do things to survive as a child and then when we are adults they become maladaptive, which I know you already knew but it must have been something ab
Matt Parsons
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant and insightful book. I've never felt so directly called out by a self-help book like this, but the plethora of specific examples to go along with the general principles makes for a compelling read.

The only criticism I can level is equally a compliment. Tift is an excellent writer, and wields language with a tremendous amount of grace and skill. The resulting text is beautiful and well-structured, but can be difficult to read at times. I'd find that if I didn't have my complete facultie
Ivaylo Tsvetkov
It started off promising enough - the subjects of awareness and anxiety were really well discussed and the concept of immediacy was explained better than in most books on Buddhism. I feel that the chapters on relationships (while giving some much needed insight on how people should relate to each other while dealling with their own inner struggles) should have been a separate book altogether - they don't organically fit the base subject of the book and it kind of overstays its welcome in the sec ...more
Ezgi Çiçek
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to audio book version of this book over my commute. I find the book a great source of inspiration for combining western psychological approaches with Buddhist practices and mediation. Especially the idea of surrendering to our immediate experience and not panicking over "problems" really resonated with me. I wish there would be more time spent on practical techniques rather than focusing on relationships. All in all, a good read that I would love to come back to.
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is my new favorite book (I don't say that lightly)! Many books attempting to bridge Buddhism and Western psychotherapy either lack nuance or become an overly intellectual tangle (i.e. Mark Epstein's books). Tift expertly conveys subtle emotional states and ways of relating in a clear and engaging way. He makes peace with paradox along the way. His wisdom and intelligence shine through. This was such a refreshing read that I'll return to again and again, and will gift to others!
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am grateful for having stumbled upon this audiobook. Bruce's voice and tone of pure non-judgment and insights into the development and fruition paths made me understand myself better and the simplicity of handling the difficult topic of neurosis in various aspects of our lives (relationships being the toughest) qualifies this book as a lifesaver.
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a seminar or grad level text for therapists. But, I am not one of those!

If you are interested in deepening your relationship with your own mind and diving into how to meet Western thought with Buddhism to more intimately understand'll find there is no self.

And if that path of inquiry is for you, bring a journal and dive in
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was interesting to listen to. However, if I am going to get Buddhist philosophy I would preferred to get it from Pena Chodron. This book felt a little bit too old white male centric. However, I felt that the part about relationships were particularly interesting and poignant and useful
Chris Henry
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book, one of the only books I’ve read to date that I truly believe will have a profound effect on me moving forward. Nothing overly groundbreaking, just informative and relentlessly persuasive.
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A compelling blend of psychotherapy and Buddhism. I found many helpful strategies to deal with anger, anxiety, and ways to improve relationships. Will definitely read again to glean more details and insight.
Alessandra Rodriguez
Great book

This book allowed me to see inside me and notice my survival strategies. I got great insight and healing while I was reading it!
Kevin Orth
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love, love, love the intersection of psychology and Buddhism. This book has added to my immense appreciation of this genre. highly recommend.
Mark Baller
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very much worth the time 🧐
Keir Staple
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book will change your life. One of my all-time favorites.
Max Peel
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Profound read. Truly a stunning book, flawless from start to finished!
Feb 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was good and I wrote a few excerpts down but overall it was very high level. Will definitely do more research are these topics as a whole.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m only on page 53 and think the book could end now because I’ve already learned so many profound things!
If Tift used science to explain what happens in the brain and body when we use these valuable insights would put this book on the very top!
The inclusion of how brain science affects our health and how we think would add a third leg to his stool of the Buddhist and Western approaches.
Re reading because there is so much to remember and use.
I do take exception to the title. Because freedom is
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book. It is one of the most helpful "psycho-spiritual" books I've ever read. Maybe it's about timing. There's not any especially new-to-me information, but it is presented very clearly. I greatly appreciated the juxtaposition of Buddhist and western psychotherapeutic theory. I had to stop every 5 minutes or so, just to absorb bits of info and wisdom. I immediately bought the book and several additional copies to give to friends and family. I plan to start reading and probably ...more
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
VERY helpful insights into staying calm, staying engaged (with life and with others near and dear to us) ... combining reflections and perspectives from buddhist methods and psychology "speaks" to me

the pinpointing of "the self" remains foggy in this book as in every other volume i have read or reflected carefully on ... no material "self" found therefore no-self exists ... sorry but love and self do not HAVE material realities ... they are beyond the knowing of "what is that?" and simply is

Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I luckily stumbled across Already Free during a time when I really needed its insights. I am profoundly grateful that this book exists, and I will be reading it again multiple times and recommending it wholeheartedly.
Michelle Fury
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've almost re-read this book a second time over. Since I read it through the first time in late 2o15, I refer to it nearly weekly. Bruce's understanding of relationship, and how to use it as a mindful practice, is unparalleled.
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Most excellent!

Thank you to Edelweiss and Sounds True for an e-galley!
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