There are many ways in which mindfulness complements traditional approaches to counselling and therapy. Counselling and therapy help you manage psychological symptoms and distress by examining your patterns of thinking, your feelings and emotions and your behaviours. You discover ways to deal more effectively with the difficulties you face, reduce or alleviate the symptoms you're experiencing, and explore the roots of these issue.
Counselling and therapy also involve cultivating awareness and insight into yourself, your life and the issues you're struggling with, explore what's meaningful and important to you, and making changes that help you move towards a more satisfying and fulfilling life.
Mindfulness helps facilitate these processes by teaching you to slow down your mind, and get in touch with the present moment. Paying attention in the present moment opens up your awareness of what's going on in your life. It helps you avoid getting caught up in racing thoughts and rumination, so you don't get stuck dwelling in regrets about the past or anxiety and worries about the future.
Mindfulness also teaches you to relate to difficult and painful thoughts and feelings in new ways. Instead of becoming overwhelmed and desperate to escape, you'll learn to you deal with problems, pain, and stress through awareness, understanding and compassion.
The increased awareness that mindfulness encourages, allows you to consciously choose how to respond in difficult and challenging situations, and to behave in ways that honour your values and move you towards what you want out of life, rather than acting and reacting out of habit or on auto-pilot.
Mindfulness helps you slow down your thoughts, and quiet the distractions and non-stop chatter that tend to occupy and dominate our minds. From the perspective of this calmer, quieter mind, you become more able to listen to your inner voice, cultivate insight and get in touch with your inner wisdom, allowing you to gain fresh perspective and understanding into yourself, your life, and the issues you're dealing with.
Incorporating mindfulness into psychotherapy is becoming more common as research continues to demonstrate the effectiveness of mindfulness in helping people who are experiencing a wide range issues. The main therapy methods that incorporate mindfulness are Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).
These approaches have been used to help people deal with stress, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, chronic pain, high blood pressure and many other conditions. I integrate elements from MBSR, MBCT, ACT and DBT into much of my counselling and therapy work.
There are many ways we can use mindfulness in therapy. Some clients find mindfulness meditation helpful in allowing them to deepen their mindfulness practice and bring this mindfulness forward into other areas of their life. With other clients, we find more informal ways to practice mindfulness that allow them to the benefits of mindfulness without a formal meditation practice. I'll work with you to find the most effective and comfortable for you to become more mindful, and incorporate mindfulness into your life.