Ethan Nichtern – The Road Home – Ep. 17 – Advice Not Given with Dr. Mark Epstein

Ethan Nichtern - The Road Home - Ep. 17 - Getting Over Yourself with Dr. Mark Epstein

This week on The Road Home Podcast, Ethan shares a conversation with Dr. Mark Epstein about the intersection of Western psychotherapy and Buddhist psychology.

Mark Epstein has paved the way for the cross-section of Western psychotherapy with Buddhist philosophy in the West, writing a number of books including his seminal work, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart. Learn more at

Advice Not Given

Mark talks about the hesitation he originally felt in combining the wisdom of his Buddhist practice with his role as a psychotherapist. He shares the delicate balancing act a therapist performs trying to give their client the advice they need without getting in the way of the progress of therapy.

“As a therapist you want to help, but the wanting to help is sometimes an obstical or a hindrance for the therapy.” – Dr. Mark Epstein   

Explore the overlap between psychotherapy and meditation with Dr. Mark Epstein on Ep.19 of the BHNN Guest Podcast
Student & Teacher (8:50)

Ethan and Mark look at the relational boundaries between a Buddhist teacher and their student, contrasting this relationship to that of the therapist and client. Mark talks about the common challenges of the mentor/mentee relationship that both groups have had to work through over time.

“There is this incredible thing that happens that psychoanalysts call transference. Where the client or student or patient projects all their early relationships. All the unworked-through longings and anger from parents and caregivers are projected onto the therapist. They do not experience the therapist directly as they are. They experience them through this web of projections. Therapy is the working through of all that. Making clear of all that so a person can own their history and own their mind.” – Dr. Mark Epstein   

Getting Over Yourself (17:30)

Ethan and Mark speak about using the Eightfold Path to get over the narratives we have around ourselves. They talk about the different perspectives of the ego, our perception of identity, and how Buddhism allows us to loosen our attachment to our narratives.

The Trauma of Everyday Life (29:30)

What can we learn about trauma from Buddhist psychology? Mark shares some of the lessons around trauma and suffering that the Buddha’s teachings have to offer.

Ethan Nichtern - The Road Home - Ep. 17 - Getting Over Yourself with Dr. Mark Epstein

Have you discovered your True North? Do you know what your life and leadership are all about? Leadership starts with being authentic, the genuine you. 1440’s True North Leadership is a professional development program designed to help you become the leader you want to be. 
Join Michelle Maldonado, Dana Born, Bill George and more October 13-18 for a 5-day leadership program based around Bill George’s Authentic Leadership Course at Harvard Business School. In the process, you will discover your True North—the internal compass that guides you successfully through life. Visit to learn more about True North Leadership.