Manual Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship

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Millon, Guy; Halewood, Andrea
  1. | Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship (ebook) | | Boeken
  2. History and Experience
  3. Samenvatting
  4. Mindfulness, values, and the therapeutic relationship in ACT, Wilson & Sandoz, 2008
  5. Meditation and the Mindfulness Trend in Psychotherapy

In fact, it is now arguably the fastest growing area in all of mental health.

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This is partly because mindfulness is a skill that can be used by therapists of any theoretical orientation — psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, whatever — in the treatment of clients with virtually any diagnosis, from depression and anxiety to trauma and addictions.

It is a quality that all of us possess and can learn to cultivate and increase through practice. It can also be a powerful healing agent in three arenas common to all forms of psychotherapy: as a resource for the therapist, as a way to deepen the psychotherapeutic relationship, and as a tool for the patient. By cultivating mindfulness through the formal practice of meditation and the informal practice of mindfulness in daily life, the therapist will naturally bring more mindfulness into the consulting room, even if he or she never mentions it explicitly or teaches mindfulness skills to the client.

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Recent research shows that therapists who practice mindfulness meditation experience a decrease in job-related stress and burnout, as well as an increase in self-acceptance, self-compassion, and sense of well-being. In addition, these clinicians report improvements in their relationships with their clients, saying they experience a greater capacity for empathy and an increased ability to be present without being defensive or reactive.

How does this work? By helping therapists attune to their inner experience, mindfulness helps them bring that same level of attunement to their clients. It allows them to recognize and reduce their personal reactions so that they can respond more empathically and effectively to what clients are saying. In other words, it helps them stay connected and improves their ability to listen deeply.

Connecting and reconnecting with the anchor is a way of stepping out of the thought stream, which usually takes us into the past or future, and coming back to the aliveness of the present moment. By refreshing and calming the mind, this shift of attention can be a helpful step in clinical relationships, especially when difficult emotions come up. Willingness to collaborate.

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Practicing mindfulness can help therapists and clients alike develop all of these qualities and bring them into the therapeutic relationship. In mindfulness meditation, we develop three core skills: concentration, or focused attention; mindfulness per se, or open monitoring; and compassionate acceptance.

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First, we concentrate the mind by narrowing our focus to one specific aspect of our experience, such as the breath sensations at the tip of the nose. As discussed above, this skill can be very useful during the clinical hour, simply by helping us stay present and connected with what is actually happening. Then, in open monitoring, we expand our field of attention to include the full range of experience — physical sensations, thoughts, emotions, sounds — as they arise and pass away.

By developing this skill, we improve our ability to notice and stay open to whatever comes up, including our most difficult and painful feelings. | Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship (ebook) | | Boeken

Can you stay with what is happening? Can you breathe into what is happening or breathe with what is happening right now? Finally, by developing compassionate acceptance, we can reduce our resistance to painful experience, including the pain of difficult emotions, and increase our willingness to let them be and let them go. So what are the advantages to using therapy and mindfulness together as an individual?

History and Experience

How can a dual-pronged approach help you heal? They complement each other well. Mindfulness and psychotherapy can be complementary practices. Mindfulness can help increase awareness of inner experiences including thoughts and feelings , which can help you identify and understand unhelpful thoughts as they occur in your everyday life. Mindfulness may also help create a little bit of distance between you and your intrusive thoughts and feelings, which can help during conversations with your therapist.


Counsellor and Psychotherapist Lynn Barnes explains:. I meditate daily, usually for about 30 minutes, and meet weekly with my meditation teacher to explore my life and practice. Meditation helped me to develop a different relationship with my body, heart and mind, becoming more loving and kind towards myself, and undoing the habits of chronic self-judgment. Both mindfulness practice and psychotherapy are concerned with our ongoing processes of healing, cultivating our attention, strengthening our capacity for caring and non-judgmental presence, and lessening the power of our inner critic, inner bully, or super-ego.

They complement each well because both practices are both about suffering less and nourishing our hearts and souls with loving and wise presence. The healing process in therapy requires endurance, and meditation can help you cultivate that.

Mindfulness, values, and the therapeutic relationship in ACT, Wilson & Sandoz, 2008

The healing process is nonlinear, and is also an ongoing, lifelong practice. It requires endurance, persistence and love. Our culture and society tells us to heal within the parameters of an arbitrary timeline, like 6 sessions of CBT, but often the path of healing is more winding and fluid. Practising mindfulness can help you improve your endurance for dealing with difficult things, and help you learn that you have practices to fall back on when things get difficult.

Dance/Movement Therapy, Mindfulness & Substance Abuse Recovery

They both help you cultivate connections. The two practices in conjunction can help you create important connections — with others, and with yourself. Mindfulness practice fosters connection with yourself, with your own body, and can help you become more able to regulate your nervous system. Nervous system regulation is particularly important for trauma survivors, as we can have PTSD-like symptoms, in which our nervous systems get overstimulated and hypersensitive to our environments including being around other people!

Mindfulness and psychotherapy both support growth of openness, empathy, and connection. In meditation, we move towards greater empathy for ourselves by cultivating mindful awareness.

Meditation and the Mindfulness Trend in Psychotherapy

A number of books have explored the ways psychotherapy clients can benefit from learning and practicing mindfulness. This is the first volume to focus specifically on how mindfulness can deepen the therapeutic relationship. Grounded in research, chapters demonstrate how therapists' own mindfulness practice can help them to listen more attentively and be more fully present.

Leading proponents of different treatment approaches—including behavioral, psychodynamic, and family systems perspectives—illustrate a variety of ways that mindfulness principles can complement standard techniques and improve outcomes by strengthening the connection between therapist and client. Also presented are practical strategies for integrating mindfulness into clinical training.

Steven F. The author or editor of a number of books, including the leading social work text in Canada, Dr. Hick is at the forefront in the use of mindfulness in social work practice, and has recently begun research on mindfulness.