Working with Emotions
with Dr. Pilar Jennings

This three-session online course explores a Buddhist and psychotherapeutic approach to emotional life. Dr. Pilar Jennings, a psychoanalyst and lecturer in Buddhist studies, offers her perspective on a range of emotions—including anger, anxiety, and desire—from a spiritual and clinical lens. Together, reflect on the common and complex struggles with strong feelings and cultivate insights and tools to navigate them with greater ease. Experienced and beginning meditators are welcome.


Class #1 Anger & Anxiety

In Buddhist spiritual teachings anger is thought to be a primary source of suffering. Yet, like all feelings, it arises and subsides. In this course we will examine the key psychological dynamics that trigger anger and its various roles, including the common role of anxiety. We will consider the ways in which anger from others and from within can trigger anxiety, and how to utilize the practice of mindfulness and spacious awareness to work with these complex emotions.

Class #2 Grief & Mourning

One of our most challenging emotional experiences is the intensely personal process of grieving loss. So too, finding ways to mourn with others can stir a range of emotions, from longing, to fear, love, and disappointment. We will examine how grief and mourning differ, and why both are necessary for recovery from loss.

Class #3 Desire & Envy

A central theme in Buddhist spirituality is the need to challenge and better understand our relationship to attachment. And yet, to be human, is to desire the needed components of basic well-being that include close and meaningful relationships. In this session we will explore the difference between needed psychological attachments, and the potential pitfalls of unexamined desire.


To jump to a particular session on the playlist, click the playlist icon (near the top-right corner) of the video frame to select video.

About the Facilitator

Dr. Pilar Jennings is a psychoanalyst based in New York City with a focus on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation practice. She has been working with patients and their families in private practice and through the Harlem Family Institute since 2000. Dr. Jennings has been a Buddhist practitioner for the past 40 years and is a teacher of Tibetan Buddhism in the Sakya lineage. She is a Visiting Lecturer at Union Theological Seminary; Columbia University; and a faculty member of the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science. Her most recent publication is To Heal a Wounded Heart (Shambhala 2017), a psychoanalytic memoir about her entry into clinical work.