What is mindfulness based psychotherapy?
Most forms of psychotherapy involve talking about our life situation, emotions and beliefs - particularly things that cause us concern and suffering. By talking in this way with our therapist we can begin to understand the events of our past and how they effect us presently so we can make different choices when necessary in our future. For many this is deeply valuable and can have a long lasting effect, leaving us with the feeling of having completed something meaningful and worthwhile, perhaps something that has changed our life for ever.
Mindfulness is the ability to consciously notice what we are thinking and feeling right in the moment it is happening. It is a skill that we can train in that leads to a way of being fully present with our experience. Having this ability enables us to be present with our self in a different way, typically we become less afraid of emotions that have previously scared us, such as depression and anxiety, and less afraid of the world around us. Mindfulness gives us access to a much greater spectrum of experience by reducing our need to avoid and hide from our mental and emotional life.
When we employ mindfulness in psychotherapy it helps us use the general understanding we have gained about our situation, beliefs and actions more accurately. By being mindful we can catch our self in the moment going along well worn tracks that we now know do not serve us well and consciously choose to do something different. This is not a flight into heightened activity but a way to introduce more acceptances and kindness, a way to be less at war with who we are and where we are - which is paradoxically the best place from which to change.
What does this mean practically?
A mindfulness based therapy places greater emphasis upon being present with our emotions as they are felt in our body - our “felt sense”. What is particularly valued is opening to the fullness of our experience rather than too quickly moving towards cognitive understanding and the finding of meaning. This is more about 'being with' rather than more doing. Learning to listen and stay with what our body feels in a spacious and kindly way.
For some of us this is just a way of listening to what is going on within us during the time we are with our therapist - it goes alongside the feeling, talking and reflecting together. For others beginning to be more conscious of their felt sense during their daily life is found to be helpful and it also quickens the therapeutic work. For others still, developing a daily mindfulness meditation practice may become an important resource that is deeply beneficial. What ever depth we take mindfulness to it remains an invaluable way to be present with the fullness of who we are in a calm and kindly way.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long does psychotherapy take?
Short term work usually identifies problems and sets us on our way while long term offers us the support, continuity and skills to make deep seated changes.
So how long?
This is different for each person but it does clearly emerge over time between our therapist and us.
How often do I need to come to therapy?
This is decided between ourselves and our therapist but most usually we meet at the same time once each week.
How much will it cost?
The fee for each psychotherapy session is £50. I may offer a reduced fee in special circumstances.
Do I need to be interested in mindfulness and Buddhism?
No, therapy reflects your needs and values. Nothing is ever imposed on you from outside. You are in control.
How do I choose a psychotherapist?
Psychotherapy is all about relationship so I recommend we meet for an exploratory session and that you make your decision after that. When we meet you can tell me about yourself and your concerns and we will confirm whether psychotherapy can help. I will also tell you about cost and find a good time for both of us to meet. Remember that you need not decide on the spot, you can go away and think about it.
What do I do next?
Ring or e-mail me: