Tag Archives: alternative psychotherapy

Bringing Mindfulness Into Therapy: The Three-Pronged Approach

Mindfulness has been heralded as one of the most powerful tools available to us in the struggle to achieve internal balance; described as being a state of “active, open attention to the present”, mindfulness is the process of observing one’s own thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them as good or bad. This objective system of emotional assessment can be useful for patients and therapists alike, in all of the following ways:

Mindfulness can create an emotional refuge for the therapist
When one is by nature (and by profession) a helper of others, a problem solver, it is quite easy to forget one’s self. People—therapists included—can lose sight of the fact that therapists are human, too, with complex needs and emotions of their own. They are also people who undertake, on a daily basis, difficult and emotionally draining work.

Mindfulness is therefore of particular use to therapists, as it requires them to continually bring attention to their experience in the present moment. Regret, ruminations, worries, and future projections, all fall by the wayside as one focuses on the sounds and sensations around them: the intake of breath, the feeling of sitting in a chair, and so on—becoming entirely immersed in the world of the present.

This brings with it manifold benefits; as our attention aligns fully with the present, we become much more active listeners, and much less preoccupied with nagging anxieties, allowing us to project a calmer, more reassuring demeanor. Plus, research demonstrates that for therapists, practicing mindfulness results in lower perceived job stress and a lower risk of burnout. Therapists, like all people who engage in mindfulness, experience an increase in self-acceptance, self-compassion, and an improved sense of well-being.