Mindfulness and Psychotherapy

Mindfulness and Psychotherapy

Mindfulness and Psychotherapy

Mindfulness and Psychotherapy

Synopsis

Responding to growing interest among psychotherapists of all theoretical orientations, this practical book provides a comprehensive introduction to mindfulness and its contemporary clinical applications. The authors, who have been practicing both mindfulness and psychotherapy for decades, present a range of clear-cut procedures for practicing mindfulness techniques and teaching them to patients experiencing depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and other problems. Also addressed are ways that mindfulness practices can increase acceptance and empathy in the therapeutic relationship. The book reviews the philosophical underpinnings of mindfulness and presents compelling empirical findings. User-friendly features include illustrative case examples, practice exercises, and resource listings.

Excerpt

This book is not about anything special. It is about a simple form of awareness—mindfulness—that is available to everyone at any moment. As you start to read this preface, for example, your attention may be absorbed in the words or you may be wondering whether this book will be worth your trouble. Do you know where your attention is? Has it already wandered from this page? It is natural for the mind to wander, but are you aware when it does so, and what you are thinking about? Mindfulness is simply about being aware of where your mind is from one moment to the next, with gentle acceptance. This kind of simple attention can have a deeply transformative effect on our daily lives. We can learn to enjoy very ordinary things, such as the flavor of an apple, or tolerate great hardship, such as the death of a loved one, just by learning to be aware.

This is also a book by clinicians for clinicians. It is the fruit of over 20 years of monthly meetings by a small group of psychotherapists who found themselves drawn to the twin practices of mindfulness meditation and psychotherapy. Most of our meditation practices have evolved over somewhat longer periods of time than our therapy practices. Some of the authors managed to write dissertations in graduate school on subjects related to Buddhist psychology or meditation. Over the years, a robust conversation on a wide range of professional topics developed. Many of the fruits of this exchange are shared in this volume.

Although the authors of this book have grown older over the past two decades, the experience of mindfulness has not grown old. Mindfulness is a renewable source of energy and delight. It can easily be experienced by anyone but cannot adequately be described. Mindful awareness is mostly experiential and nonverbal (i.e., sensory, somatic, intuitive, emotional), and it requires some practice to develop. Like any acquired skill, the experience of mindfulness becomes steadier with increased practice.

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