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meditation

by Holly Rogers, MD

Twenty-somethings are in the stage of life known as “emerging adulthood.” It is an interesting phase of life, filled with lots of novelty, transitions, uncertainty and big choices.

Editor’s note: The following interview is with Steven Alper, MSW, LCSW, a psychotherapist and mindfulness practitioner who has taught mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for twenty-four years. He is the author of Mindfulness Meditation in Psychotherapy: An Integrated Model for Clinicians.

When you practice mindfulness as a way of life, over time you start to notice that your understanding of what it means will naturally deepen. You may find an increased capacity to respond more flexibly to the present moment both in your personal life and your clinical work. But even when you have intimately experienced and felt the depth of the practice, you may somehow still struggle to describe it or put it into words when necessary for client work.

To be a good mindfulness teacher, or even to use mindfulness effectively with your clients, it’s important that you have your own personal practice.

Luckily, the practice of psychotherapy has a number of built-in qualities that present clinicians with ample opportunities to do mindfulness in sessions.

Mindfulness in the context of psychotherapy is more than just a technique or a theoretical perspective; it is a way of being with and relating to experience. Regardless of whether or not you choose to incorporate formal mindfulness practices in your sessions with clients, having your own mindfulness practice will positively inform your work.

Editor’s note: There are numerous factors to consider when leading a meditation practice. In this four-part series, clinical psychologist Greg Serpa, PhD, and physician turned mindfulness teacher Christiane Wolf, MD, PhD, answer some of the most noteworthy logistical questions about teaching mindfulness. Keep your particular population in mind as you go through their tips; it’s possible that you may have valid reasons to adapt or change the guidelines to suit the needs and experiences of your participants. 

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