Morita Therapy: Healing Through Acceptance

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Ikigai" by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is Morita therapy? What is the main premise behind the Morita therapeutic approach?

Morita therapy is a Japanese form of life therapy informed by Zen principles. It teaches people in psychological crisis to accept their emotions instead of trying to control them.

Keep reading to learn about Morita therapy.

What Is Morita Therapy?

Morita therapy is a Japanese form of life therapy specifically based on finding your purpose. Created by psychotherapist and Zen Buddhist Shoma Morita, it teaches people in psychological crisis to accept their emotions instead of trying to control them. It says your emotions will automatically change when you change your actions, and as this happens, your purpose will become clear.

The therapy takes place in four stages. The first stage is a week of absolute bed rest and total silence. This creates an extended space for doing nothing but watching your mind, thus clearing away the layers of manic mind activity that pollute your life and obscure your purpose.

The second and third stages take the patient through a multi-stage reintroduction to active living and working. Activities include keeping a diary, practicing breathing exercises, walking, and doing chores such as gardening and chopping wood, while still maintaining mostly silence so the patient can continue to reflect.

The fourth stage has the patient return to the world and social life as a newly inner-directed person with a clear sense of purpose. The patient now knows who they are and what they’re supposed to do, thanks to the treatment developed by Shoma Morita.

Morita Therapy: Healing Through Acceptance

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Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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