Bringing Mindfulness Into Therapy

Posted on September 15, 2014

Photo: Flickr

Many therapists have come to regard cultivating moment-to-moment awareness as a curative mechanism that transcends diagnosis, addresses underlying causes of suffering, and serves as an active ingredient in most effective psychotherapies. The clinical value of mindfulness interventions has been demonstrated for many psychological difficulties, including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, substance abuse, insomnia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

And it doesn't matter which therapeutic approach we take, be it psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, or any other. Mindfulness practices can be tailored to fit the particular needs of our patients. Though historically mindfulness practices have been presented as one-size-fits-all remedies, as the field matures we're beginning to understand how these practices affect different individuals with different problems, how to modify them in different clinical situations, and how to work with the inevitable obstacles that arise.

You might be thinking that you are too busy to bring formal mindfulness practice into your clinical day. But even in the busiest clinical settings on the craziest days, there's always a chance to practice informally. One of our favorite practices can be done before greeting your next patient. It is called "Two Feet, One Breath." In this practice, you take a moment to pause, feel both feet on the floor, and then feel your inhalation and your exhalation. A simple intervention such as this only takes a moment and can help you center, come into the present moment, and connect with your patient.

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Source material from University of Berkeley

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