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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines ethical issues arising from the widespread trend, originated by Jon Kabat-Zinn, toward using mindfulness-based practices, such as meditation, for relief of psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. These techniques are adapted from Buddhist practices and are prescribed for quite different ends—such as enlightenment—in that context. Further, psychotherapeutic mindfulness clients are often not informed of the religious provenance of the techniques. These circumstances give rise to psychotherapeutic ethical considerations, such as whether psychotherapeutic mindfulness practices are problematically appropriative from Buddhism, and whether the religious provenance of the practices should be disclosed to clients. The author argues that while the practices are not problematically appropriative from Buddhists, the failure to disclose the religious origins of the practices violates informed consent obligations owed to clients.

Keywords: mindfulness, informed consent, Buddhism, psychotherapeutic ethics, appropriation, Jon Kabat-Zinn

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