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Mindfulness Therapy

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a special kind of consciousness that involves simply having an experience, while noticing it at the same time, without trying to change or evaluate it. It is a way of paying attention to self without self judgement, like having an inner accepting witness. It is not based on any religious beliefs and most anyone can do it. In fact, many of us have already had experiences were we were exceptionally aware of ourselves. We can be aware or mindful not only of thoughts, but also mental images, sensations, impulses, emotions, energy, and memories. Mindfulness helps you to sustain your attention and curiosity in one area of your experience for an extended period of time.

Mindfulness in Meditation

During meditation, mindfulness is used in conjunction with concentration.  Meditation seeks to still the mind through focusing one’s concentrated attention on a specific object of awareness. This object could be the breath, a word or a phrase, a picture, or a specific feeling in the body such compassion.  When the mind is able to sustain an extended awareness on the chosen object, then there is a feeling of equanimity that sets in.

However, because we are prone towards distraction, mindfulness is the way the mind catching itself when it has wandered away from the object of concentration.  In practice, there is a constant dance between being focused and loosing that focus.  Mindfulness is what steps in and says, “hey, notice how you are thinking about what’s for dinner right now” or “hey, look at how you are getting swept away by the feeling of irritation.”   Using mindfulness with meditation, habitual feelings and thoughts are distractions that must be noticed.

Mindfulness in Counseling

Mindfulness in counseling is used slightly different than in meditation.  While the primary goal of meditation is to still the mind through concentration, the central goal of counseling is to change how we react to our lives.  Using mindfulness with counseling, habitual feelings and thoughts become the focus of awareness.  Mindfulness, when applied skillfully, can help slow down the process of therapy to a pace that feels safe, lowering noise and increasing inner sensitivity and insight potential.

Mindfulness thus becomes a tool for you to experience yourself in a non-judgmental way.  The depth and the quality of your sustained awareness will lead you to a greater understanding about who you are in this world.   It can help you face the central life issues that you struggle with and provide you with the opportunity to resolve them.  Developing your mindfulness expands your strength and power in your life.   This naturally creates an opportunity for change and transformation into the person you’ve always wanted to be.

A mindfulness-based counseling approach is for anyone seeking the following:

  • An alternative approach to traditional talk-therapy
  • An effective way to resolve past trauma and/or abuse. (Is your life being impacted by past trauma? Find out by clicking here.)
  • Skills to integrate your mind with your body
  • Greater closeness & less defensiveness in your relationships
  • A more holistic way to work with your specific mental health issues
  • Changing your relationship with your chronic pain
  • Developing your intuition
  • Spiritual development

What happens in a mindfulness-based counseling session?

What happens in a mindfulness-based counseling session?

A mindfulness-based counseling session begins much like a traditional counseling session.  You will sit across from your counselor and share what’s on your mind for that day.  As the session unfolds, your counselor will eventually invite you to close your eyes and turn your attention inwards towards your present experience.

You might notice one of the following experiences that are happening inside of you: a specific sensation felt inside your body, the subtle positioning of your physical body, certain imagery seen in your mind’s eye, or perhaps the felt-sense of a particular emotion you might be feeling.  Your counselor will encourage you to spend a little time feeling into that experience using your attention and curiosity.

The session then takes a more spontaneous course based on the information that begins to emerge from the content of your experience.  However, each session gradually moves towards a greater understanding of your unique core life-patterns that you have been unconsciously living by.  During a mindfulness-based counseling session you directly face your pain by turning your own compassionate attention towards it.

The role of the therapist then is to be right there with you in this endeavor. The therapist’s job is not to fix you or relieve your suffering, but rather to bear witness and support you as you begin to make your unconscious patterns conscious.

As your understanding of those patterns expands, so does the opportunity to develop alternate ways of being in the world.  Eventually, this leads to you have more choice in your life about how you would like to be.  As there is more choice, there is then more freedom, creativity, and spontaneity in your life.

→ Explore what mindfulness-based counseling can do for you Call 503-349-2281 to make an appointment Email us