We know what you’re thinking.
“Mindfulness Therapy? Really? That’s an actual form of treatment?”
Don’t worry; you’re not the first to feel this way.
In fact, that’s actually a pretty common reaction from a lot of people when we recommend Mindfulness Therapy as a treatment option. Visions of uncomfortable yoga poses, weird humming and crystals start dancing in their heads—but in reality, that’s not the case.
“Mindfulness Therapy is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as well as part of another popular treatment method known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy,” explains our owner Emily Loos, who is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. “It’s great for people who want to become more aware of their reactions to different stimuli and learn how to bring a better sense of awareness to their personal experience.”
Not only is Mindfulness Therapy a completely legitimate form of treatment, it’s also beneficial to a variety of patients and situations.
Members of our staff aim to incorporate Mindfulness Therapy into their own daily practices, and they’ve found that it greatly benefits patients who experience chronic depression, major depressive disorder and caregiver burnout.
In essence, Mindfulness Therapy allows our patients to become more in touch with and aware of how they react to “triggers”—situations or feelings that transport them back to the events of a trauma they’ve experienced in the past.
So, then: How does Mindfulness Therapy work?
“In early sessions, we take it very slow,” Emily says. “For example, we’ll start with something like breath focus, which is an easy way to help patients become aware of their reactions and how the breathing makes them feel.”
As sessions progress, patients will move on from breath focus to deep breathing and imagery, as well as guided meditations led by their therapist.
Over time, Mindfulness Therapy will teach patients to re-train their thought patterns in a positive way; increase awareness of their feelings and reactions to physical experiences; and help them achieve a level of acceptance with both themselves and the traumatic events they’ve been through.
“The ultimate goals with Mindfulness Therapy are acceptance and moving forward,” Emily says. “We want to see our patients in a place where they can accept that, yes, they experience a certain feeling, or yes, a trauma has happened to them, but they’re able to find acceptance in that, move forward, and heal.”
What does it look like when a patient puts into practice what they’ve learned from Mindfulness Therapy?
Say, for example, a patient finds himself/herself experiencing a trigger. Prior to Mindfulness Therapy, the patient’s brain would have “defaulted” to a negative reaction.
After Mindfulness Therapy, the patient can draw on their ability to become aware of their physical reactions and feelings, take a deep breath, and then consciously choose a positive reaction to the situation.
In addition to re-training negative thought patterns and becoming more aware of their physical reactions, patients also receive other long-term benefits from Mindfulness Therapy—including the ability to be “in the moment” more often and feel an increased awareness and presence in their day-to-day life.
Are you interested in learning more about Mindfulness Therapy, or curious if it might be a good fit for you? We’d love to get together and talk about it!
Click here to set up a time we can sit down together. As always, we’ll come to you!