Jorg Thonnissen

(B.Psych., M.A. Psych., Cert. Hyp. MAPS) – Perth Psychologist & Hypnotherapist 

Profile pic face and wideI hold a 4 year Bachelor as well as a 2 year Master of Applied Psychology degree from a renowned Western Australian University. I have written a book on mindfulness and published two theses of which one is concerned with self-esteem building measures in children and young adolescents, and the other with the effectiveness and validity of psychological measures in recruitment. In addition to this, as part of my commitment to ongoing professional development, I am currently working towards a doctorate in clinical psychology with a Californian university, whereas previous to that I have been working on a scholarship sponsored Phd thesis investigating the effectiveness of stress management strategies in the workplace and how a specially designed hypnotherapy intervention assists in reducing perceived stressors.

Before entering into private practice, I received extensive training in mediation and conflict resolution from a large Western Australian (WA) based organization specializing in relationship counseling. Consequently, I hold facilitator certificates enabling me to work with individuals, couples or in group environments to identify , address and mediate their various issues of concern . In addition, I worked for the same organization in the capacity of group facilitator, providing psycho-educational training to their wide ranging client base.

Furthermore, I have been working with the WA Police Recruitment and Selection Branch conducting psychological interviews and various psychological assessments, as well as working in WA prisons to evaluate the implementation of staff performance systems.

Beyond this, I was trained by the Australian Academy of Hypnosis in the application of Traditional Hypnosis for clinical purposes under direct guidance of Dr. Rick Collingwood, a widely acclaimed Hypnotist who recently won gold and platinum awards for his record breaking hypnosis CD’s. I am very much indebted to his dedication to the profession of clinical hypnotherapy and Rick freely sharing more than 15 years of field experience with me. I have also had advanced hypnotherapy training with the Californian based psychotherapist and hypnotherapist Cal Banyan. His 5 Path process is widely acclaimed as being one of the best approaches to hypnotherapy.

I am also a provider of professional development opportunities to my peers by facilitating a number of training courses throughout the year at various locations overseas and in Australia.

Life Experience

I am in my late 40’s, married for more than 20 years now, and the proud father of a daughter who is in her prime adolescent years. I like to think this qualifies me to somewhat understand what it means to be committed, responsible, and experienced in a number of different ways, especially what the maintenance and steady advancement of a relationship is concerned (i.e. the ability to find better ways to communicate, compromise and therefore advance beyond a short-sighted self to achieve more effective outcomes) .

As for my earlier days, I have been a navy diver in the German defense force for a number of years, a time that enabled me to expand mental and physical boundaries to new levels.

Thanks to an entrepreneurial mindset, I have owned and operated a diverse range of businesses in the past of which I currently still own one operation that employs currently over 15 full time, part time and casual employees here in Western Australia.

I believe that the knowledge of owning and operating a variety of businesses has given me an invaluable practical as well as theoretical experience relating to the world of commerce, such as finance, accounting, marketing and customer relations, as well as in areas of human resource management (i.e. staff training and motivation).

Furthermore, I am bilingual (German and English), with a partner from yet another country. Consequently, albeit the often more complex communicational efforts required in a multicultural setting, I have come to understand that cultural diversity can be a real advantage when exploring new and better ways to make things work.

My Philosophical Orientation

Fundamentally I am most certainly a scientifically oriented evidence based practitioner who likes to connect theory to practice and vice versa. As for my philosophical orientation I am a proponent of the Nichiren Buddhist mindfulness philosophy for over 20 years now as I can see a lot of scientific proof in its application.

Thus, the mindfulness therapy I am providing to my clients is grounded on the principles and belief system found in the Nichiren Buddhist philosophy and not in the often quoted Zen Buddhist tradition (Click on “Buddhist Mindfulness and the True Purpose of Conflict” to download my book for an in depth explanation).

In essence the approach is based on a number of principles that according to Nichiren Buddhism governs human perception and consequent behavior such as:

  1. The law of cause and effect (i.e. we will experience that which we create, consciously or unconsciously – similar to the Australian proverb “what goes around, comes around”)
  2. The law of energy conservation (i.e. energy cannot be destroyed and is therefore infinite as it goes through different phases, human beings are defined as an energy form, just as all life is)
  3. Dependent origination (i.e. interconnection and therefore interdependence of all things)

Nichiren Buddhism defines enlightenment as being aware of one’s true nature, i.e. by observing one’s mind based on some of the principles outlined above one can achieve and maintain mental and physiological wellbeing. This is realized through mindfully chanting a mantra that defines the essence of the true nature of mind. This essence of mind is defined as what is called ‘NamMyoHoRengeKyo’ based on the concept of ‘ichinen sanzen’ in Nichiren Buddhism. However, as these are rather foreign concepts to the day to day person it is really best to take the time and read the details provided in “Buddhist Mindfulness and the True Purpose of Conflict” to get a deeper understanding of the subject matter first.

Nichiren Daishonin’s mindfulness practice has been established in 12th century Japan and is usually performed morning and evening at a time, place and duration of the practitioner’s choosing. As such, Nichiren Buddhist practice is a form of mantra meditation (i.e. chanting) that uses a phrase (mantra) to aid focus. Transcendental Meditation on the other hand is also a form of mantra meditation however it is using mantras related to Hinduism as opposed to Buddhist philosophy.

Just to clarify once more, Mindfulness Meditation in Zen Buddhism basically involves the stopping or slowing of discursive thoughts in order to allow a practitioner’s deeper nature to come to the fore in order to harmonize mind with their true self which they belief is “void”. As such the aim is to simply ‘settle the mind’.

Nichiren Buddhist meditation follows along a somewhat similar principle, but in addition to slowing thoughts down, thoughts are also redirected onto the true nature of existence thus enabling the practitioner to reassess and eventually shutting down or restructure incompatible thoughts. The method of mantra meditation is regarded as an expansion in mindfulness practice in Buddhism.

There are many studies documented that have highlighted the positive effects of meditation. However, even though meditation is generally regarded as having a positive influence, it is my opinion that it is equally important what a person meditates on in order to get the best possible outcome.

It is important to understand that although Buddhism is by most regarded as a philosophy, some see it nevertheless as a religion and therefore clients wishing to engage in the kind of mindfulness I am providing will need to be aware of how this practice might impact on their already established faith or belief structures. Therefore I ask all clients wishing to practice Nichiren Buddhist Mindfulness to first and foremost read “Buddhist Mindfulness and the True Purpose of Conflictbefore deciding whether this approach is appropriate for them or not.  

My Buddhist Associations

I became aware of this form of Buddhist mindfulness in 1991 in Australia through a Buddhist lay organization called Sokka Gakkai International (- i.e. SGI which stands for Value Creation Society). Since then I have been a regular attendant to the meetings provided by the organization and I also held various positions of leadership until 2001. Thereafter my involvement with the organization declined due to time constraints. However I still occasionally attend study meetings provided by the organization to stay in touch with developments in Nichiren Buddhist philosophy.

As I am often asked by those of my clients who have opted to use Nichiren Buddhist mindfulness as a therapeutic tool to provide details of the SGI Australia so that they can further their philosophical understanding of Buddhism, I wish to state that although I don’t mind doing so at all, I do however not want to be seen as promoting any organization and their aims especially not one that has a religious orientation.

In fact, I urge those who wish to connect or join any kind of organization to first of all investigate whether the views, aims and goals of an organization are compatible with their own. Only if the answers to those questions are affirmative should one consider making such step. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that one should never discard common sense and an objective mindset regardless. In my practice of Nichiren Buddhist mindfulness I aim to maintain a scientific focus on the various principles at hand and I hope that will become evident from the readings provided.

Support Meetings

There will be opportunities to attend group meetings free of charge on a regular basis (subject to me or one of my colleagues being able to facilitate them) where we will showcase how to practice Nichiren Buddhist mindfulness and discuss relevant Buddhist philosophy/psychology in greater detail.

To participate in the meeting one will need to have read “Buddhist Mindfulness and the True Purpose of Conflict” or some other relevant literature that provides good background information on the subject matter.

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