Mindfulness and Psychotherapy

Mindfulness is a practice that helps develop the capacities of concentration, awareness, compassion, insight and self-regulation. For both the therapist and the client, mindfulness helps to increase the ability to sit with and hold affectively charged material and develops greater self and bodily awareness.

Mindfulness helps one develop a very deep capacity to concentrate and experience whatever is happening in the present moment- without judgment or analysis. In this way it helps quiet self-criticism, build self-acceptance and clarify internal conflicts. The mindful stance is centered, calm, aware, compassionate and non-reactive, an ideal stance for a psychotherapist.

Mindfulness is a place of awareness from which to observe, notice and feel what is happening inside you. This embodied self- awareness helps to integrate mind and body. As such it helps strengthen the observing ego and is a tool for affect regulation. Mindfulness also expands the ability to self-soothe and to tolerate anxiety and change.

Mindfulness meditation practice can help people understand through direct personal experience how much of internal suffering is self-created. One experiences moment by moment both how we make things worse for ourselves and what brings relief. In this way it can help loosen automatic, fixated and rigid aspects of the personality and defenses and open up new choices and responses.

Mindfulness skills can be integrated into any model of psychotherapy. Just by developing these skills personally, a therapist can transform the effectiveness of psychotherapy without ever actually “teaching” mindfulness to clients.

To learn more please read Mindfulness: Transforming the Therapist and the Therapy

Review our training in Mindfulness

Susan Drobis, LICSW