Mindfulness & Meditation in Psychotherapeutic Practice

By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

For nearly a century, the therapeutic stance of the psychotherapist as directed by Freud and his colleagues has been that of the “blank slate.” More recently, however, psychotherapists have begun to adapt their therapeutic approach by drawing on interactive tools and techniques historically associated with Eastern practices and Integrative Medicine. Of those techniques and practices in use, there is a growing body of research regarding the positive impact of meditation in psychotherapy.

Did you know:

Meditation in Therapy

  • Mindful “attention” is at the foundation of psychotherapy.
  • While they may not have used the term “mindfulness,” Freud, Bion and Horney all insisted that the principles inherent in mindful practice are those which underlie competent and effective psychotherapy.
  • Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction techniques were originally designed for use in hospitals with patients with painful, debilitating disorders.
  • Studies note that the practice of being mindful can lead progressively to awareness of and freedom from the subtle mental conditioning we are exposed to every day.
  • Mindfulness practices may include the practice of mindful sitting, walking and movement exercises, and mindful eating and group led activities in mindfulness.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness technique primarily used to enable couples to better relate to one another.
  • According to neurological expert Rick Hanson, Ph.D., the mind is what the brain does. As your brain changes, your mind changes, and as the mind changes, so does the brain.
  • Research indicates that resting the mind routinely on even the small joys of life allows the brain to become more resilient to disease.
  • Teaching people to respond to stressful situations reflectively rather than reflexively, can effectively counter experiential avoidance strategies, which are attempts to alter the intensity or frequency of unwanted internal experiences.
  • Research suggests that Mind-Body Therapy (MBT) improves symptoms of anxiety and depression across a relatively wide range of severity, even when these symptoms are associated with other disorders, such as medical problems.
  • The addition of guided imagery to the passive progressive relaxation technique may enhance a person’s ability to imagine and embody desired change.

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