A Framework for Conceptualizing Psychologically Healthy Contemplative Practice


Amanda Smith

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Jennifer Cornish

Second Advisor

Michael Karson

Third Advisor

Walter Torres


Contemplation, Psychology, Religious aspects, Buddhism


In recent years contemplative practices such as Zen Buddhism and yoga have become increasingly utilized in the United States (Mann et al., 2001). The most visible contemplative practice in America today is the practice of yoga. According to a 2008 market study conducted by Yoga Journal, yoga was a 5.6 billion dollar industry in America in 2008. This market study also found that 15.8 million people, or 6.9% of American adults, practice yoga (Yoga Market Study, 2008). Zen Buddhism may be less visible than yoga in popular culture, yet its presence in the United States is substantial. While exact statistics are difficult to come by, Harvard University's Pluralism Project cites that the number of practicing Buddhists in America ranges from 2.4 to 4 million people, although it is unclear how many of these individuals practice Zen, or contemplative Buddhism (Pluralism Project Statistics, 2009). The popularity of Zen in America is further evidenced by the presence of Zen centers in most major cities. The sizeable and growing presence of Buddhism in America indicates a move towards the inclusion of contemplative practice in the cultural mainstream (Pluralism Project Statistics, 2009).

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


46 pages

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