“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.”
Mindfulness practices have their roots in early Buddhism. Mindfulness, in Pali (the language of the early Buddhist teachings) means to 'remember'. The process of 'remembering' to pay attention in the present moment, without judgement, brings us into a deep connection with our lives, ourselves and one another.
The practice of Mindfulness was first felt to be helpful in a secular context by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who pioneered the first Mindfulness-Based Course in the 1970s. He hoped that Mindfulness would alleviate the chronic pain and stress in patients deemed untreatable by the medical profession. The course he founded, now called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), was soon seen as beneficial to patients suffering from chronic pain. Decades later, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), designed to address long-term depression, came-out of MBSR. Over the years, both courses have been thoroughly researched for their effectiveness and have a significant evidence base.
Mindfulness techniques are now relatively mainstream in psychological treatments, so much so that they underpin many modern therapies. For example: Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. Mindfulness has also become increasingly popular in non-clinical settings, where clients wish to improve their concentration, memory, focus, or quality of life.
When you first begin to practice mindfulness you may find that your mind is forever elsewhere - pulled into the past, or the future, planning, thinking (for example). This is quite normal and even after many years of practice, this is often still the case. By practising daily and diligently, the pull to be somewhere else, other than here, does weaken gradually over time ~ which is why it is called a 'practice.'
The practise of mindfulness is an invitation to arrive in our lives in the present moment and experience it as it is. It is not about trying to get anywhere, or trying to manipulate anything to be other than it is. Rather it is simply to take a breath, to arrive and be with whatever is unfolding in each and every moment.
Who may Mindfulness Based Therapy be unsuitable for?
Mindfulness Based Courses are not suitable for clients who have experienced a trauma or bereavement in the last 12 months. Or for clients who are in crisis, or suffering from suicidal ideation/intention.
Please enquire for an assessment of suitability.