Mindfulness therapy is not concerned with relaxation, though that might be a result of mindfulness techniques. The focus is on increasing our awareness of the thoughts, feelings, and actions that get in the way of where we want to be or where we envision ourselves.
Most research centers around two specific types of mindfulness training. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn. And the second is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) created by John Teasdale, Zindek Segal, and Mark Williams. MBCT originated from cognitive therapy, and it includes techniques such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and other inward-focused activities.
In 2017, Hofmann and Gomez also studied MBIs for anxiety and depression. They asserted that Mindfulness Based Interventions have “consistently outperform [ed] non-evidenced-based treatments and active control conditions.” (Hofmann & Gomez, 2017).
During your counseling session, a therapist guides a client to focus on the present moment. This is not always an easy task. Often, our mind wanders. To combat this, the practitioner instructs participants to accept the wandering mind without judgment. She also might tell the person to notice where their mind went before reeling it back to the present.
Your therapist may ask you to practice meditating on your own, as “practice” outside of your session. The more frequently you practice, the more quickly the brain becomes re-trained. It does not need to be lengthy, simply a moment to notice your body space. The client is re-training the brain to be in a calm, concentrated state. Start with 30 seconds and gradually add more time.
Mindfulness Activities may include:
- Mindfulness of the Body & Body Scans
- Walking Meditations
- Resistance to Mindfulness
- Mindfulness to help with Physical Pain
- Sitting with Difficult Emotions
- Expanding on positive aspects of self
- Sitting with Difficult Thoughts
- Mindfulness practices within relationships