Using Mindfulness Skills In Therapy

When we use the term mindfulness, we refer to "an openhearted, moment to moment, non-judgmental awareness" (Kabat-Zinn,2005,p24).

Mindfulness in a nutshell, can be described as choosing and learning to control the focus of our attention

When we use mindfulness in counselling/psychotherapy we focus on becoming aware of our internal experience. Helping clients to observe and notice their thoughts, feelings and sensations with acceptance and without dwelling or ruminating on the story of their negative thoughts. This sounds simple but is not easy. The mind can be conditioned and developed into unhelpful thinking which can become destructive to our well-being.

Studies have revealed that the average person spends a lot of their time, thinking about something other than what they are doing in the here and now. By learning to notice your thoughts and feelings you will be able to make better choices and decisions.

Mindfulness skills have many benefits which can help with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD (post- traumatic stress disorder)
  • Stress
  • Addictive Behaviour
  • Disordered eating
  • Physical problems
  • Sleep problems

Amongst many other benefits teaching Mindfulness Skills to clients in counselling/psychotherapy can boost the immune system, increase your level of attention and can improve relationship with others.

Here is an example exercise you can practice when stressful situations arise:

1. Sit somewhere quiet, with your back straight and your feet on the floor, hands resting on your lap.
2. Then focus on your breath - breathing in and out – where do you feel your breath? (is it in your nostrils, chest or stomach area?)
3. Stay focused on your breath for a few minutes. Notice when you start to think destructively (do this without judgment, accept what is, with kindness to yourself) feel the emotions and sensations in your body and then, gently come back focusing on your breath.
4. You will start feeling more at ease with yourself and others when you become more aware of your emotions and feelings.

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