Mindfulness in Therapy

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that was developed in the ancient Buddhist tradition and continues to be practiced today.  Itmeditation1 involves obtaining a calm and conscious awareness of one’s body functions and feelings.  Currently, many therapists are incorporating this practice of mindfulness meditation with cognitive behavioral therapy to form a treatment for a variety of mental and physical conditions including substance use disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and pain.  Some of the mindfulness-based therapy techniques currently in use include Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  Many books, DVDs, and Internet websites are available for any person interested in learning about this practice.  In addition there are many studies available for review that reveal the many uses and benefits of mindfulness meditation techniques, demonstrating this is evidence-based therapy we can incorporate with confidence for a variety of therapeutic needs.

Additional value in mindfulness meditation is that it is a non-drug treatment.  For those battling drug addictions, drug treatments may not be an option to treat co-occurring PTSD and pain.  Drug dependence theories posit that drug dependence is a disease state, in which physical dependency on the substance eventually leads to the compulsive and repetitive use of the substance despite the negative consequences to the user’s health, mental state, or social life (Shen, Orson, & Kosten, 2012).   This drug dependence is often a result of prescription drugs.  Research has revealed that individuals prescribed opioid drugs, used for the treatment of chronic pain, had a significantly higher rate of misuse than those with a history of drug abuse who were not prescribed opioids (Pohl & Smith, 2012).   This has become a serious problem in the United States with the overuse, abuse, and addiction to opioid medications.  Opioid dependence is considered to be a lifelong, chronic, and relapsing disorder for the individual (Shen, Orson, & Kosten, 2012).  Therefore, in patients who have a history of addiction or other risk factors for developing addiction, opioids should be prescribed with consideration of their tendency.  The need to explore alternatives is obvious.  Mindfulness techniques that address even complex co-occurring disorders such as substance use disorder with PTSD and pain are worthy of exploration.  At dohi Center for Well-being we utilize mindfulness techniques in counseling as well as teach Mindfulness Meditation to the clients we see, and we are very pleased with the results.

References:

Pohl, M., & Smith, L. (2012). Chronic pain and addiction: challenging co-occurring disorders. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs44(2), 119-124. doi:10.1080/02791072.2012.684621

Shen, X., Orson, F., & Kosten, T. (2012). Vaccines against drug abuse. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics91(1), 60-70. doi:10.1038/clpt.2011.281

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Mindfulness Meditation – An Effort in Grounding

Mindfulness Meditation.  It seems everyone is talking about it.  Having graced the front cover of Time Magazine at least twice in the past eleven or so years, as well as being added to the tool box of many therapists around the world, meditation is becoming recognized as a powerful healing modality for many problems that ail us.  Are all forms of meditation the same?  What exactly is this Mindfulness Meditation that everyone is talking about?

Mindfulness Meditation is a practice that was developed in the ancient Buddhist tradition and continues to be practiced today as are other types of meditation originating in this philosophy and others.  However the various forms of meditation differ in regards to the level of consciousness the practitioner is attempting to achieve.  Mindfulness Meditation involves obtaining a calm and conscious awareness of one’s body functions and feelings.  The key phrase here is conscious awareness.  When practicing Mindfulness Meditation you are not attempting to reach the subconscious mind but rather the conscious mind.  The emphasis in Mindfulness Meditation is to bring about non-judgmental self-awareness.

A Holistic Modality

Mindfulness Meditation has been used effectively to overcome a variety of psychological and physical problems.  Even with the first meditation session, people experience reduction in stress.  Many research studies demonstrate over again how effective Mindfulness Meditation is in helping people overcome depression.  It not only helps with currently occurring minor depression, but also in preventing depression relapse.  The results of Mindfulness Meditation training continues to provide a person suffering from depression with skills in mindfulness that they can use any time they feel their lack of awareness or attention is leading to a stream of thoughts of worries or distracting contemplation.

Mindfulness Meditation has also been used to help people who suffer from lower back pain and other physical health problems including cancer.  Implementing Mindfulness Meditation into a person’s health and wellness program may help with improvement in pain acceptance and also with physical function.

Currently, many therapists are incorporating the practice of Mindfulness Meditation with cognitive behavioral therapy to form a treatment for a variety of mental and physical conditions including major depression and depression relapse.  Some of these mindfulness-based therapy techniques currently in use include Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

There are many books, DVDs, and Internet websites available for any person interested in learning about practice in Mindfulness Meditation.  Learning in a class with others has it’s advantages in social support.  However you learn Mindfulness Meditation the key is in daily practice.  Even just 10 to 20 minutes a day will help you get grounded in the present and develop sound conscious awareness.

For more information on the health benefits of Mindfulness Meditation please contact me, Charlotte Test.  Over the past several years I have done a lot of research on this practice in regards to help for addictions, depression including postpartum depression, and stress.  I have written articles on these topics and I also utilize Mindfulness Meditation in health benefits for my clients as well as myself.

Charlotte Test