Mindfulness based approached in a therapeutic context involve increasing the client’s awareness of the present moment and encourages them to fully experience it as it is (in a non-judgmental way). These approaches have their roots in Eastern practices such as Buddhist meditation. Mindfulness based approaches have been found to be effective for many different types of psychological symptoms including psychological stress, negative mental states, and physical pain.
The practice of mindfulness involves consciously directing one’s focus away from states of mind that might be problematic or all-consuming (such as scary or worrisome thoughts) and instead to just observe and then accept the present situation for what it is, regardless of whether they are good or bad.
Clients progress to mindfulness over time, as it is a technique that requires the client to practice both in and out of the session. However, once the skill of mindfulness has been learned, it can be applied to almost any situation that the client might be struggling with and helps them to remain in control of what might have been considered to be an overwhelming experience in the past. Both insight and emotional healing occur over time through the regular practice of mindfulness.
One aspect of mindfulness practice is developing self-compassion which can be hugely beneficial to those suffering from self-criticism. Self-compassion involves increasing our awareness to greater kindness and understanding during times of suffering. It also can include developing ways to be more understanding and accepting of our struggles.
Mindfulness approaches include mindfulness based cognitive therapy, (MBCT), mindfulness-based stress reductions (MBSR), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
For more information on mindfulness based approaches: