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Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,001 ratings  ·  99 reviews
"May this very important and enticing book find its way into the hearts of readers near and far so that it can perform its mysterious and healing alchemy for the benefit of all." --John Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are and Professor of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School

The Transformative Power of Mindfulness

Alchemists sought to transfo
Paperback, 432 pages
Published January 22nd 2002 by Harmony (first published April 22nd 1998)
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Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book. Combining elements of psychology and Buddhist mindfulness practices, the author outlines ten basic emotional patterns, or "schemas," and how the influence of these patterns color our interactions with others and also ourselves. The author also discusses ways in which, using mindfulness, we can work to undo the negative schemas that undermine our relationships.

What is perhaps most profound about this book is that anyone who reads it will find a piece of themselv
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To say reading this book saved my life is an understatement. Took me roughly 4 weeks to read this book because after every page I was literally fighting tears. This books challenges you to be painfully honest with yourself. The touch of spirituality woven throughout the chapters is my favorite aspect. I recommend this book to anyone trying to find their way through the cloudiness of their own thoughts.
Oct 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Very interesting, and even useful in identifying distressing schemas and attempting to nip them in the bud as they try to take over. But no use at all when you suddenly wake up at two or three in the morning completely defenceless, as occurred last night. I recognise something - just something - of myself here:

"Very generous, you give affection without counting and desperately seek it in others, dependent on something you’ll never receive. Here, the more you sow the less you reap. Plagued by pow
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book really helped me face some of my inner demons. Although hard
to read because it makes you take a deep, intimate look inside yourself,
I highly recommend this a therapeutic self-improvement tool!
Teo 2050


Bennett-Goleman T (1998) (14:24) Emotional Alchemy - How the Mind Can Heal the Heart

Foreword by the Dalai Lama

Part I: Emotional Alchemy

01. An Inner Alchemy
• The Power of Mindfulness
• The Metaphor of Alchemy
• Refining Awareness
• The Emotional Alchemy Synthesis
• Mindfulness Applied
• The Path to Transforming Emotions
• If You Want to Try a Moment of Mindfulness
• A Note to the Reader

02. A Wise Compassion
• The Unfolding of Compassion
• Wisdom and Compassion
• Embodied Compas
Holly Dietor
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I resist the moniker,self-help book, on this one. It's so much more. It's more a read to help one be introduced to their Self, instead.

Like any of these books, if it makes a deep impact, most likely it is because you happened across it just at the exact moment you desperately needed something. This is one of those.

I will say, it is not an easy read; you have to be ready for it. You have to really want to understand how your thoughts really do direct how you see yourself, the World, those around
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
one of my favourites. full of simple practices to free yourself from worry and suffering. i've bought and given away three copies of this book:) ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Some interesting points about how people are affected by their childhood experiences, and how the problems with their adult behavior is directly resulted. Self awareness is important.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sienna by: Daniel Goleman
What a soothing voice!
Apr 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
Emotional Alchemy--how the mind can heal the heartby Tara Bennett-Goleman was an interesting accompaniment to Bread & Water, Wine & Oil by Archimandrite Webber.

Ms. Bennett-Goleman writes her self-help book from a psychological/Buddhist perspective and it was interesting for me to pick up some familiar eastern flavor while reading both books at once. Both talked about being present in the "now" as being of vital importance. According to eastern Christianity, God identifying Himself as "I AM" as
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Keith by: Dr. Christianne Dauphinais
Shelves: buddhism, mind
This book is my Bible. I would say it is my #1 favourite book in print, and the one I would take to a desert island if I could have no others. Nothing I have ever read has changed my life so much. In the past three years, I have read it multiple times in print, plus I have an e-book full of highlights and notes on my iPad, and an audiobook on my iTunes that I listen to so frequently, that there are sections I practically have committed to memory. Tara Bennett-Goleman merges Schema Therapy and Bu ...more
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life! Tara is brilliant. She writes little short stories with core issues creatively woven into them. Then, the best part is after each short story she says if this resonated with you, here is what you can do!!! Finally, a book with a solution and excersice!!!! Thank you Tara, Bravissima!
Within the cover of this book I found all my core emotional issues and saw my own wounds and baggage. I was really happy to identify them and more excited to find a way to let them go and h
Soly Azari
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and its discussions on maladaptive schemas and the integration of mindfulness principles in catching and choosing different responses once our schema(s) have been triggered. I chose this book because it was referenced in Jon Kabat Zinn's Full Catastrophe Living. I am making my way through the books he referenced, and this was the first one on my list. I was intrigued that Goleman is married to Daniel Goleman (the person who identified and studied Emotional Intelligence and wr ...more
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
the topic seemed very interesting as i´m a psychotherapist and a buddhist aswell. actually she repeats over and over the same things again, which seems quite tiring. nothing new for my part, but perhaps people who haven´t read about this topic before could be interested.
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddha
This is a great self-help book for people who lean in the direction of Buddhist thought.
Raya Sun
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Monumental. Exactly what I needed at the time. I can easily imagine this being a book I will refer to in the future.
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a terrific book for people who want to learn how to incorporate meditation into their emotional and mental healing practices. That's definitely why many people, I imagine, read this book. But what's especially illuminating are the schemas Bennett-Goelman discusses and how they get passed down from parents, interfere with relationships, and how they can be neutralized with the help of meditation and psychotherapy. She provides a very helpful way to understand the self and each chapter con ...more
Ajay Palekar
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it
A well-written insight into how the combination of Buddhist ideas and modern therapy experience might help develop a mental schema for warding off the pains of the mind, healing the mind, and facing your inner dilemmas. While I personally was not changed by this book, I appreciated its candor, breadth, and the difficult topics it covers. A little coloured by the hidden assumptions of buddhism, for those who follow the way, this could prove a very valuable read.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's not really fair to say I "finished" this book. I made the mistake of approaching it as a cover-to-cover read, when in fact it's more aphoristic, something to dip into like the Farmer's Almanac for meditation. Bennett-Goleman layers examples and metaphors and context thickly around all of the key concepts of meditation, so you have multiple entry points for any idea. Super useful, especially for the idea of schemas. ...more
Jan 11, 2021 rated it liked it
A long and meandering psychological take on applying mindfulness to everyday emotional problems. The author essentially repeats the same concepts over and over, which gets quite tiresome, but the gist of the book is actually very helpful. It could've been trimmed by hundreds of pages and still conveyed what it needed to. Still, if you are interested in using mindfulness practice, this is a good guide to have at your bedside for quiet moments of reflection. ...more
notmyname ha
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
I found this work to be a beautiful introduction to Buddhism from a practical standpoint. The author's use of metaphor was so lovely, making it a pleasant ride all the way through. She has a way of connecting with what feels like the most deeply-human parts of a person, that which remains when one is stripped from all that separates them from another. Awareness itself is worthy of awe and this book seriously did such a phenomena justice. ...more
Jon Cooper
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Ultimately a disappointment on at least two levels. First, it tries to do too much. This should have been two or maybe even three books. As it was, it tries to do too much in its space and so leaves the reader at once exhausted and unsatisfied. Second, this is the first book I've read that has what I can only describe as "name dropping". ...more
Debbie Bateman
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For several months, I’ve been gradually working through this book. It has helped me approach painful emotions with gentleness and truth. The healing that is happening is more than I could have expected. As a Buddhist, I was drawn to the idea that painful feelings like grief, anxiety and anger can be a source of transformation. With this book, I am beginning to discover how.
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
My mother taught me long ago that one may not totally "get" certain books, but that doesn't make them void of value. Every book has lessons to teach. This book comes from the perspective of traditional meditation and Buddhism. Raised ad a Christian, I got SO MUCH from reading this book. Full of wisdom and insight into our spiritual approach to life. I wish I had read this when younger. ...more
Ólerydir Ghamudi
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very helpful for those who are able to develop themselves without the need of a physiologist, alot of helpful points (self-esteem, self-confidence, scheme work, applications of emotional intelligence,....etc).

A beautiful read indeed.
Lindsey Ohlin
Oct 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
I believe in the concepts and teachings in this book, but I'd say it's probably better as a starting point for someone who is exploring this topic, not necessarily for someone who has studied it a bit. ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Subclass of cognitive therapy called schema therapy.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A thorough book about emotional health and changing behaviors. I especially liked the explanations and information about schemas and how they develop.
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked the concepts and ideas in this book. The process works. My only issue is that I felt like I had to slog through it. I had to make myself finish it for book club. I am not sure why I didn't connect with this one. ...more
Angelo Montinovo
Beautiful introduction to Western and Eastern ways to work with own emotional and behavioral states of mind. For anyone looking to be more conscious, present and connected to the oneness:)
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“Expect, at some point, to want to run away from all this. It’s a little like opening a can of worms, or maybe caterpillars—you may want to shove them all back inside. But as you walk this path, you will also have glimpses of feeling freer, of a more direct connection to your life and the people in it. And once the pull of that greater freedom and authenticity takes hold, it becomes harder to turn back. It’s as though an inner volcano has started to erupt, and despite the danger, we welcome the release. The pain of the truth still feels better than the pain of self-deception. As we settle into the process, at some point we tend to go through a natural grieving as we let go of old identities, familiar habits and ways of being. Eventually those caterpillars disperse, weaving themselves into protective cocoons while shedding their former identity. Unraveling the membranes of our schema patterns, we too begin to emerge from our cocoons, feeling lighter and more alive—as if, metaphorically, we were growing wings.” 0 likes
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