Friday, November 06, 2009

Mindfulness - Two Recent Articles from Psychology Today

Mindfulness is the hottest topic in psychology these days - here are two recent articles posted on the Psychology Today blogs.

Practical Mindfulness: The New Witness Protection Program

Mindfulness: a straightforward tool to help abate depression?

by Victoria Maxwell

For about 3 hours now, I've been sitting cross legged on my green comforter, staring at the TV. Someone, a woman, with too much lipstick and over-plucked, penciled-in eyebrows squeaks and hiccups about the ‘greatest' buy shoppers could ever hope for. Something about this season's must-have girdle that sweats away fat. Oh gawd. I am watching... The Shopping Channel.

Then I notice that familiar feeling that's been sinking into my chest, dawning into my arms, and trailing into my legs. What I fear and respect most shows its edges: Depression.

But I've learned that doesn't mean I will spiral out of control, descend under its black sheet. If I gently albeit nervously invite the demons in for tea and watch them, the power they threaten to hold over me dissolves. Or at least lessens. I have learned this through the art of mindfulness.

Read the whole article.

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Mindfulness Psychotherapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Mindfulness Psychotherapy offers a direct path for inner transformation.

by Peter Strong, Ph.D.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be defined as recurrent episodes of anxiety and panic reactions triggered by memories of a past trauma. A trauma in this context is an experience that is overwhelming at both the sensory and emotional levels to such an extent that the mind cannot process and assimilate the experience. The trauma, which is the combination of both the intense sensory memory along with associated emotional energy, becomes repressed as an emotional complex, only to reoccur in the future when the appropriate sensory triggers are activated. The basic direction in psychotherapy is, therefore, to help the client re-process and re-assimilate both the sensory and emotional memory.

One approach, which I have found particularly helpful, is a form of psychotherapy that combines mindfulness and experiential imagery, in what I call Mindfulness Meditation Therapy ( In this approach, the client is guided to form a unique relationship with the felt-sense of the emotional trauma. The felt-sense can be defined as the general feeling tone of the experience, which is quite distinct from the complex structure of an emotional reaction and does not involve thinking, but rather sensing.

Mindfulness describes a particular quality of conscious relationship with an experience, which is open and accepting. Mindfulness is being completely present with whatever is being experienced as an interested observer eager, to investigate and learn. Mindfulness is the absence of reactivity, either in the form of identification with the story line of our experience, or aversion to what we are experiencing. These qualities are invaluable in psychotherapy, because they allow the client to investigate the deep structure of his trauma, rather than staying stuck at the superficial surface structure.
Read the whole article.

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