Summary: Mindfulness counseling is used by therapists to help clients with a wide range of mental, physical, and emotional issues.
It focuses on helping you become more present in your life and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
In this article, we take a look at how mindfulness counseling can help you learn how to better manage stress, anxiety, and depression.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness has been part of Buddhist meditative practices for centuries, but it has only recently been recognized in the western world by medical and therapeutic communities.
In fact, the first clinical trial on its effectiveness wasn’t carried out until the year 2000. Now, as though to make up for lost time, it is widely practiced in the West.
These days, we tend to be focused on critical thinking.
As a result, we judge ourselves and others harshly.
We’re also often in too much of a rush, both in our work and home lives.
Mindfulness aims to counteract these negative thought patterns.
Mindfulness is a method of experiencing the present day by being “in the moment,” and peacefully appreciating one’s surroundings.
It is experiential, rather than analytical.
By being present, we become free of critical thoughts that distract us from right now.
While it involves slowing down, it somehow makes us more productive!
Once a patient has been successfully trained in mindful methods, they become able to weather the storm of negative thinking on their own.
As the saying goes: Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach him to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.
Unlike standard therapy which has the potential to drag out, mindfulness counseling imparts a valuable skill set to the patient which they can practice on their own to their immense benefit.
Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness
There are numerous benefits to practicing mindfulness, such as:
- Reduced stress levels
- Increased feelings of well-being
- A sense of calm
- It can help people to cope with mental and physical illnesses
- Reduced effects of depression
- Lowered levels of anxiety
- Improved memory
- Improved concentration
What is Mindfulness Counseling?
In mindfulness therapy, the practitioner helps you to become aware of your patterns of thoughts, emotions, and feelings.
You will learn about the interplay between these when you are in stressful situations.
Mindfulness counseling gives the patient the tools they need to stay present in situations where their thoughts threaten to overwhelm them.
What Happens in Mindfulness Counseling?
Mindfulness therapy teaches you how to be aware in the present moment.
It involves talking with a trained professional who will help you to replace any negative thought patterns and behaviors with positive ones.
Types of Mindfulness Counseling
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Or MBCT
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy involves learning new ways to deal with modes of mind that cause mood disorders.
It is a therapeutic combination of the mindfulness and cognitive-therapy disciplines
The therapist will show their patient how to interrupt negative thoughts and replace them with self-affirming ones.
Due to this, MBCT is useful for treating depression.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MBCBT)
Mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy is also known as mindfulness-based CBT.
This type of therapy integrates mindfulness with cognitive behavioral therapy.
It involves talking through thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior to explore how these influence each other.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy (MBSR)
This type of therapy is specifically targeted at reducing and managing stress.
It uses psychotherapy and talking through the issue in conjunction with mindfulness techniques.
Interestingly, several studies have shown that it is also highly effective in helping people to cope with physical and mental illness.
Other Types of Mindfulness Training
The types of mindfulness that we have discussed so far involved psychotherapy, or talking about the problem.
There are several other types of mindfulness, such as:
- Breathing techniques
- Positive visualization
These processes utilize mindfulness without the spoken element of psychotherapy.
There are a whole range of other types of mindfulness training that you can access online, in YouTube tutorials, or even in self-help books.
Types of Professionals Who Provide Counseling
Mindfulness has gained the interest of medical professionals who help people with physical and mental issues.
Psychiatrists, psychologists, general practitioners, therapists, social workers, and counselors all may use mindfulness in combination with other therapeutic practices.
In addition to this professional setting, you can find mindfulness classes at your community hall or adult education institute, as well as at local gyms and fitness centers!
Mindfulness Techniques vs Therapy
Mindfulness changes your attitudes towards your thoughts.
It takes the sting out of negative ideas.
Mindfulness fosters clear thinking and appreciating current experience, and is a way of regulating the self.
It does not set out to replace therapy, but rather to enhance it.
Many therapists today do incorporate mindfulness techniques both for their clients and for themselves.
The beauty of mindfulness is that it gives clients the tools to help themselves.
Traditionally, therapy has involved looking at past events in a person’s history to gain insight into their current problems.
It can become quite a long-term process.
By contrast, mindfulness gets fast and often permanent results.
As if that wasn’t enough, there is no trauma involved!
Forget such things as recalling upsetting events that have happened in the past.
In fact, most clients report mindfulness counseling to be a soothing and pleasant experience.
Conditions Treated and Concerns Addressed in Mindfulness Counseling
Mindfulness is showing promising results in treating the following causes of mental distress:
- Eating disorders
- Anger management
- Relationship issues
- Performance anxiety
Research also suggests that it is successful in treating serious mental illnesses too, such as:i
- Severe depression
- Bipolar illness
Mindfulness also works well for physical illnesses and pain.
It has even proven effective as part of a treatment plan for serious and chronic conditions such as:iii
- Chronic pain
Education, Training, And Certifications for Mindfulness Counseling
Due to the psychotherapy element involved and working with people, practitioners of mindfulness-based therapy need to be both trained and certified.
The pathways towards full certification differ depending on the organization.
Medical professionals such as psychologists often have extra training in mindfulness, on top of the degrees that they already hold.
Psychiatrists have medical degrees and psychologists have doctorates.
Therapists and counselors began with bachelor’s degrees in fields such as social work, psychology, or counseling before going on to obtain a master’s degree in a particular specialty.
Therapists also must complete 3000 hours of supervised practice as part of the certification process.
This is important because therapy is not just about studying and understanding principles.
The therapist needs to be able to apply their knowledge (based on experience) to a clinical setting.
There are also undergraduate qualifications available in mindfulness itself.
These can be studied at certificate, diploma, graduate diploma, and postgraduate diploma level at various accredited centers for mindfulness and meditation.
- Mindfulness counseling has been shown to achieve effective results in treating and managing medical conditions. It is a safe and non-invasive practice.
- The principles of mindfulness and how to do it can be taught in a therapeutic setting or self-taught in an informal setting.
- In the interests of best practice and client safety, mindfulness therapy requires an experienced and trained practitioner.
- Finally, mindfulness therapy has a “feel-good” factor about it, and it is a gentle and pleasant intervention that has long-lasting results. Once you learn mindfulness techniques, you can apply these to other areas of your life as well.
Thanks for reading!
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