Mark Epstein

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Mark Epstein before the Buddha-Bar Restaurant Prague

Mark Epstein (born 1953) is an American author and psychotherapist, integrating both Buddha's and Sigmund Freud's approaches to trauma, who writes about their interplay.[1] In his most recent book, The Trauma of Everyday Life, he interprets the Buddha's spiritual journey as grounded in Buddha's personal childhood trauma.

Early life[edit]

It took his mother ten years to recover from her first husband's death and by the time she began to feel better he would be six or seven years old, exposing him to transgenerational trauma.[2]


Epstein is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Medical School. After completing his psychiatry residency at what is now New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, he entered the private practice of psychiatry In New York City. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine.

Meditation practitioner and author[edit]

Epstein has been a practicing Buddhist since his early twenties, when he traveled to Ajahn Chah's forest Buddhist monastery near Bangkok, Thailand together with his American Buddhist teachers Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, and Richard Alpert.[1]

He is a contributing editor to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and his books include Thoughts Without a Thinker, and Going to Pieces without Falling Apart. Both books deal with the difficult and counter-intuitive Eastern teachings of non-self.


In resisting trauma and in defending ourselves from feeling its full impact, we deprive ourselves of its truth.[3]


  • 2018 Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself, The Penguin Press, ISBN 0399564322
  • 2013 The Trauma of Everyday Life, The Penguin Press, ISBN 1-594-20513-2
  • 2008 Going on Being: Life at the Crossroads of Buddhism and Psychotherapy, Wisdom Publications, Somerville, Mass., ISBN 0-86171-569-1
  • 2008 Psychotherapy Without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, ISBN 0-300-14313-3
  • 2005 Open to Desire: Embracing a Lust for Life, Gotham Books, New York, ISBN 1-59240-108-2
  • 1998 Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, Broadway Books, New York, ISBN 0-7679-0235-1
  • 1995 Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective, Basic Books, New York, ISBN 0-465-03931-6


External links[edit]