Early on in her clinical practice, psychoanalyst Pilar Jennings was presented with a particularly difficult case: a six-year-old girl who, traumatized by loss, had stopped speaking. Challenged by the limitations of her training to respond effectively to the isolating effect of childhood trauma, Jennings takes the unconventional path of inviting her friend Lama Pema—a kindly Tibetan Buddhist monk who experienced his own life-shaping trauma at a very young age—into their sessions.
In the warm therapeutic space they create, the young girl slowly begins to heal. The result is a fascinating case study of the intersection of Western psychology and Buddhist teachings. To Heal a Wounded Heart is for therapists, parents, Buddhists, or any of us who hold out the hope that even the deepest childhood wounds can be the portal to our capacity to love and be loved.
Pilar Jennings, PhD, is a psychoanalyst in private practice with a focus on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation. She has been working with patients and their families through the Harlem Family Institute since 2004. A visiting lecturer at Union Theological Seminary and a guest lecturer at Columbia University, she is the author of Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism.