Mindfulness refers to the qualities of being present, accepting, and curious about your experience, just as it is, in this moment. Though initially developed as a form of Buddhist meditation over 2500 years ago, one does not need to practice meditation to be mindful, one simply needs to be willing to pay attention to and look at one's own experience with fresh eyes and an open heart.

Psychotherapy has adapted mindfulness for use in many ways because mindfulness has proven very effective in gently and safely bringing into awareness often unconscious habitual emotions and behavior. It has been discovered that when explored from the safe and gentle perspective of undefended and open awareness, old and often previously unconscious habits and reactions can often be naturally processed and resolved.


"Wherever you are is the entry point"

- Kabir

Many different adaptations of mindfulness have been created and used with success. Sometimes these methods have been called Mindfulness-Based Therapy, but similar methods have also been called Experiential Therapy and Somatic (body-based) Therapy. Public figures such as Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie have also borrowed and popularized mindfulness-based techniques with great success. Regardless of what they are called, what is shared is a trust that working with the material of the present moment facilitates a natural process of healing.

Other more specific adapations of mindfulness include Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) which is often used for treating depression, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which is used for treating stress and chronic pain, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) which is indicated for treating borderline personality and other emotional disorders, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which is used for treating anxiety, chronic pain, and addiction. EMDR, or eye-movement desensitization reprocessing, which is considered one of the most effective treatments for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and anxiety, also relies heavily on mindfulness, as do Somatic Experiencing, Focusing, Hakomi, Gestalt, and many other techniques. Research suggests that mindfulness-based interventions can be as effective and even more effective some instances than medications such as anti-depressants.

Despite the evolution and development of these many approaches, the fundamental process remains straightforward and often requires little more than the willingness to honestly look at, feel, and work with what is happening right now. Though one can do this at any time on one's own, it is often helpful, especially when beginning or when encountering difficult material, to have the assistance of an experienced facilitator such as a therapist or teacher, to help work with one's experiences.

"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change." - Carl Rogers

Rob Schwartz, M.S.
MFT Intern #55185 supervised by
Lynn Marie Lumiere
MFC #30043

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