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The International Zen Therapy Institute (ITZI) is an umbrella organization providing a platform and voice for individuals and groups offering therapy within a Buddhist and Buddhist psychology framework.

Not narrowly Buddhist, not narrowly therapy, the purpose of this second conference is to extend the learning and creative thinking generated at the highly successful first conference in Madrid in 2015. We aim to create a forum in which a true therapy of the heart can develop and emerge; to move from the mindfulness paradigm to one of heartfulness.

This second ITZI conference comes at a time when Buddhist ideas are becoming more and more integrated into systems of support and care throughout the world, particularly through the mediums of mindfulness and meditation, yet also at a time of increasing social, economic and political insecurity. Buddhist psychology offers more than stress reduction and transcends the boundaries, being a mission to bring wholeheartedness and heartfulness into human relations at every level. This conference aims to explore the implications from many angles.


The Perspective of Buddhist Psychology in Our Fractured Contemporary World - Dharmavidya David Brazier (ITZI President, Buddhist teacher and writer)
Psychotherapy as Buddhist Vocation - Katrien Sercu (Gestalt therapist)
Can there be mindfulness without heartfulness? Edel Maex (psychiatrist, Zen Buddhist and mindfulness teacher)
The body as the way to heartfulness - Paul Sercu (Principal of the Fascia College)
Ichinen Sanzen theory and Internal Family Systems Theory - Ryusho Jeffers (Nichiren Buddhist Chaplain) & Myokei Caine-Barrett (Head priest at Myoken-ji Temple & Bishop of the Nichiren Shu Order of North America)
Integrating Buddhist psychology, Ericksonian therapy and Art-therapy in clinical practice evoking fertility - Elena Barakhova (psycho-, art & hypnotherapist)
Living from Compassion - Bert Stienaers (Gestalt therapist and coach)
Big Mind-Big Heart, embracing it all - Irène Bakker, (Zen teacher and priest, systems therapist & mindfulness trainer
My path from Western to Buddhist therapy - Xavier Vandeputte (Therapist, writer & meditation teacher)
From Inner Peace to Outer Peace - Iris Dotan Katz (Zen Peacemaker & psychologist)
Heartfulness and High Sensitivity - Wendi Winnelinckx (Creative therapist and mindfulness trainer)
Meditation Initiated Integrative Therapy - Caifang Zhu (co-founder of Beijing Meditation and Counseling Center)
Vajra Technique (Psychoneuronal Reintegration) - Dr. Ortwin Lüers (psychiatrist and cognitive- behavioral therapist)
The Impact of Feedback in the Workplace - Mo and Peter Henderson (Psychotherapists and mindfulness trainers)
A Physician as Witness at the Crossroads of Knowledge and Heart - Dr Bernard Payrau (physician & fascia therapist)
Examining the self-centered & other-centered tendencies of the mind/heart - Sven De Weerdt, PhD (organisational consultant, academic & Buddhist)
Conference Programme Facilitator - Karin Verhaest
Conference Co-ordinator - Jnanamati Williams



The International Zen Therapy Institute (ITZI) is a collaboration of people leading the way in the research, teaching and practice of Buddhist approaches to psychology and psychotherapy. It is a network of creative individuals, groups, teachers and centres of diverse specialisms and schools, with a shared interest in fostering the practice and application of Buddhist psychology.



ITZI is engaged in developing networks and fostering creative collaborations between practitioners in the fields of Buddhism and therapy. We also host distance learning courses via an online web platform - Amida Academy - organise a bi-annual conference, and facilitate the teaching of Buddhist psychology and Zen Therapy, through online teaching programmes, attendance courses and workshops.



In these uncertain times ITZI offers a forum for people committed to compassionate action and deeper understanding, who are attempting to embody the ideas of the Buddha and Buddhist psychology, thereby to develop a range of different ways to engage socially, culturally, educationally and therapeutically for the common good.

From mindfulness to heartfulness

September 08-10, 2017 – Drongen, Belgium

We live in a world in which we increasingly have to deal with social problems, to reach out to migrants and refugees, and those traumatised by war. This requires what we might call heartfulness – a reaching out to the other, not merely achieving calm and a stress free state in oneself.

The nexus of the coming conference is about how we face the challenge to reach out to a turbulent, changing world from the place of deep compassion.



Let's make this conference as successful as the last!



Full Conference package

This includes three nights stay, full-board, and is based on a single room with en-suite bathroom facilities, the full conference programme, evening events and publications; access to web resources. This price is based on an early bird booking which must be made before the 1st May. Full fee €500.


Conference per day

This includes one nights stay either before or following the day you wish to attend, all meals and conference programme, evening event on the day of attendance and publication. Full price €165 (after 1st May).


Conference only

Full conference programme , lunch and refreshments. Based on attending all or part of the daytime programme but with no overnight stay. Access to web resources and membership of ITZI.


register now


The conference is both a networking opportunity and the opening of a creative space. It is a space in which we will develop our approaches to Buddhist informed therapies and explore the possibility of fresh collaborations. It is chance to learn and to contribute to this exciting new field of research.

To register to participate go to the registration page

Follow our training in Buddhist Psychology. Details can be found by following the link to Amida Academy, ITZI’s online course website

  • Contact Information

  • ITZI Conference
    08-10 SEPTEMBER 2017
    Friday - Sunday
  • Conference Place Address
    Old Abbey of Drongen
    Drongenplein 26-27
    9031 Drongen, Belgium
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