Shinzen Young is an American mindfulness teacher and neuroscience research consultant.

His systematic approach to categorizing, adapting and teaching meditation, known as Unified Mindfulness, has resulted in collaborations with Harvard Medical School, Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Vermont in the burgeoning field of contemplative neuroscience, and he is currently co-director of the Science Enhanced Mindful Awareness (SEMA) Lab at the University of Arizona.

Shinzen’s interest in Asia began at the age of 14 when he decided to attend Japanese ethnic school in his native city of Los Angeles.

After majoring in Asian languages at UCLA, he entered a PhD program in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin. As a part of his thesis research, he lived as a Shingon (Japanese Vajrayana) monk for three years at Mount Koya, Japan. It was then that he received the name Shinzen (真善).

Also during that time, he became friends with Father William Johnston (author of Christian Zen). Fr. Johnston helped broaden Shinzen’s interests to include comparative world mysticism and the scientific study of meditative states.

Upon returning to the United States, his academic interests shifted to the dialogue between Eastern meditation and Western science.

Shinzen is known for his interactive, algorithmic approach to mindfulness, and often uses mathematical metaphors to illustrate meditative phenomena.

He is the author of The Science of Enlightenment, Natural Pain Relief and numerous audio offerings.

Shinzen leads residential retreats throughout North America. In 2006, he created the Home Practice Program. These phone-based mini-retreats are designed to make deep meditation practice accessible to anyone in the world regardless of their location, health situation, and time or financial constraints.


Shinzen likes to say of himself:

I’m a Jewish-American
Buddhist-informed mindfulness teacher who got turned on to comparative mysticism by an Irish-Catholic priest and who has developed a Burmese-Japanese fusion practice inspired by the spirit of quantified science.

The Book

In When Therapy Doesnt Work: A Mindfulness Guide to Emotional Repair,  Shelly Young, psychotherapist, and meditation teacher Shinzen Young apply the principles of Unified Mindfulness to emotional healing and transformation. Drawn from tried-and-tested therapeutic practices, this book is filled with easy-to-follow techniques to successfully overcome trauma, anxiety, addictions, panic, compulsive behavior and a variety of other mental health challenges.

This book offers Unified Mindfulness as a self-help tool for readers who are suffering from trauma, addictions and anxiety but have struggled to engage with traditional forms of therapy. Not only are these techniques unique, they are also uniquely effective, with the power to combat harmful mental, emotional and behavioral patterns and help readers find freedom within.

Whether you are struggling with your own mental health, trying to help a loved one or looking to expand your practice as a healing professional, this book contains the tools you need to escape old stories, unwind suffering and rediscover joy in each day.

Shelly Young’s innovative Release and Empowerment protocol for addictions and negative behaviors is discussed in this book.  It is presently being researched at the SEMA Lab at the University of Arizona and the Medical University of South Carolina.

Shelly Young’s protocol weaves cognitive, behavioral, and sensory focus techniques together into a simple flow chart.

If you are a therapist or coach or just interested in guiding others in addition to utilizing the protocol yourself, you can contact Shelly Young for personal mentorship.

The Science of Enlightenment