Mindfulness—it’s the latest buzzword and activity that has caused a feeding frenzy of therapist and clients alike looking to make sense of a crazy, fast-paced life. In recent years, the mindfulness movement has gained so much traction that a simple google search of the term provides over 27.2 million results. Millions of dollars have been poured into research, including a $4.7 million grant that was awarded to researchers at Brown University to study whether mindfulness can help patients stick with lifestyle changes. The clinical studies on the benefits of mindfulness have been so widely accepted, that mindfulness based programs have been adapted in schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centers, and other environments.
As a therapist, you’re likely well versed in mindfulness-based therapies. You’ve probably even tried a mindfulness-based technique with a client. But when you walk out of the office, and you’ve put your therapist self aside for the evening, do you use mindfulness for your own self-healing?
If you haven’t, you should.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR, recognizes the extraordinary ability therapists have to love others. He knows that to do this job, you have to be filled with immense compassion to enter the areas of darkness, horror and shadows, and to be witness to the worst feelings and actions that human beings can do to each other. You enter into these spaces with your clients willingly, and with integrity, kindness, and empathy—all of the elements that are essential to healing.
This work, while rewarding, comes with a risk. It can be traumatizing and heart wrenching to enter these clouded spaces in the lives of your clients, and for that reason you need to take deep care of yourself.
Mindfulness | noun | mind·ful·ness | \ˈmīn(d)-fəl-nəs\
The awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.
The definition, while easy to say, may just be the hardest thing for us as a person to enact. But the benefits of maintaining a mindful presence will not only transform your daily life, but it will have an enormous effect on your ability to help your clients. That’s why we’re encouraging you to take an hour of your day, and watch this message about mindfulness from Jon Kabat-Zinn. We think it’s so important that we’re providing you the CE seminar for free.
Do you practice Mindfulness?
Tell us how it’s impacted your life, your practice, or the experience of a client in the comments below.