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Mental Health Therapists Perspectives on the Meaning of Mindfulness

Sandra Kavanagh & Jean Morrissey School of Nursing & Midwifery Trinity College Dublin

Background of Study Literature Review on Mindfulness Key Findings Implications for Future Practice

MSc Study Descriptive Qualitative Study Ethical Approval Granted Semi-Structured Interview Process/Thematic Content Analysis Approach 10 Participants Accredited /pre-accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapists Supervisor Ms Jean Morrissey

The Original Definition of Mindfulness is based on the premise of compassionate awareness by intentionally paying attention to present moment experiences and acceptance of those experiences without judgement

Keeping ones consciousness alive to present reality paying attention in a particular way on purpose in the present moment and non judgementally. (Kabat-Zinn 2012, p. 4, 11)

The self regulation of attention towards present moment experience accompanied by a curious open and accepting stance.
(Langdon et al. 2011, p. 270)

The traditional philosophy behind mindfulness practice is in creating an

Inner calmness Quieting the mind of any distraction Freeing the body of any tension or stress

To understand the principles behind mindfulness, cultivate mindfulness and develop the capacity to live life in harmony with acceptance, love compassion and clarity requires developing a set of skills through different types of mindfulness practice

maintaining awareness of the sensations in your body, the flow of thoughts through your mind, the sounds and sights in your surroundings, thus mindfulness is awareness expanded into ourselves and outward into the world
(McQuaid & Cameron 2004 p. 12)

Formal Mindful of ones mental state and daily activities in the moment Informal Breathing Techniques, Sitting Meditation, The Body Scan, Movement Awareness

Breathing Technique - foundation for the practice of meditation - awareness of the breath is the means of developing the ability to concentrate and relax into a deeper state of conscious awareness Sitting and Lying Meditation- allow more ability to develop insight and awareness to where one is in a particular moment.

To truly understand mindfulness requires more than just acquiring the skills and knowledge.

Compared to other yogic and other mediative traditions mindfulness is unique in that it requires experience through ongoing personal engagement in the practice. (Kabat-Zinn 2011)

Originates from Eastern Buddhist Psychology Considered a Pathway to Enlightenment

To help one become free of all sufferings brought on from unhealthy attachments, desires, cravings , hatred and ignorance (Sach
2007)

A new way of thinking doing and seeing (KabatZinn 2011)

The spread of Buddhist Psychology in particular, mindfulness principles and practices have now moved from its place of origin in northern India and has been embraced by western cultures

Inspired by Eastern Buddhist Psychology modern Buddhism in particular , the practice of mindfulness has seen a surge of interest within western mental health services. (McWilliams 2012)

Empirical studies show promising results on the clinical benefits of mindfulness applied to clinical practice (Cheisa 2012) Resulting in medical science and modern psychology integrating Mindfulness Based Interventions (MBI) with a range of people suffering debilitation medical conditions and mental health problems (Keng et al. 2011)

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)- (Kabat


Zinn 1990)

Dialectic Behavioural Therapy (DBT) - (Linehan, 1993) Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) -(Hayes et al.
1999)

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy(MBCT) -(Segal et


al. 2002)

Mindfulness Based Relationship Enhancement Therapy (MBRET) (Carson et al. 2004)


Mindfulness Action Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) 16 week group programme combining cognitive with co-existing substance misuse (SUD) and binge eating disorders (BED). (Courbasson et al. (2011) Mindfulness Based Awareness (MBA), youth specific programme. (Hemelstein et al. 2012)

Used to promote well being for people with a range of physical conditions and mental health problems

Chronic Pain Attention Deficit Hyper Activity (ADHD) Clinical Depression Anxiety (GAD) Stress (PTSD) Psychosis Schizophrenia Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Addiction (SUD) Eating Disorders (BED)

Self Care (Shapiro et al. 2007)

Improved Therapeutic Alliance (Crane et al. 2010)


Improved Therapeutic Outcomes (Brady et al. 2012)

Reduction in Medication Use (Paulik et al. 2010) Reduction in Relapse (Bien & Bien 2002)
Increase 2012)

in Accepting Attitudes (Hemelstein et al.

Mental Health Therapists Understanding of Mindfulness Integrating Mindfulness to Clinical Practice


Developing and Learning Mindfulness

Being Aware Being Relaxed A Way of Being in the Present Moment A Way of Getting Back in Touch With Oneself

My view of mindfulness is being aware of what's around being aware of yourself, being aware of sounds, being aware of what is going around you and also being aware of your body (P7)

My understanding of mindfulness I suppose is basically being in the present moment and calming the spirit. (P5)
Mindfulness is distinct its more I mean mindfulness is you can do it without religion. (P10) It would be mindfulness but maybe faith its hard to distinguish between the two I kind of have the two interwoven. (P3)

I just have a hard time people calling it a therapeutic approach where to me its not a therapeutic approach its a technique that can be used in therapy. (P4) Its a tool to help you to enjoy the journey (P9)

I perceive mindfulness as a therapeutic practice I just cant see how it really is a therapeutic tool. (P1)

Works Well Through All Therapies Numerous Therapeutic Benefits Works Predominantly Well With Children, Adolescents and Adults Works Well With an Accumulation of Mental Health Problems

I have somebody who has not so much emotional difficulties but behavioural difficulties ADHD compulsions things like that anger management I have found that it can be difficult to try and get them to calm or to accept the fact that what you are trying to do is to just ground them. (P8)

Meditation is kind of looked on sometimes especially by some guys as being a soft kind of approach its silly kind of thing. And meditation is not going to do anything. (P8)

I probably wasnt a candidate for a course like that straight away you know it could make me weepy at times. Its brought me into spaces that weren't easiest for me (P9)

Ongoing professional development/ Necessary Non Engagement in the Practice/Busyiness Different Styles of Training/Causing Confusion Limited Available Courses Training V Practice/Commitment Competency /Acceptable Levels of Training Monitoring/Evaluation

I think from the way its started from were mindfulness started and where it is today in 2012 lets say I think it has been changed a lot it has been shaped a lot and also it has been changed to suit a lot of things. (P7) Its just you know very much in the west were very much about a product were very much about creating a product and what we tend to do is in creating that product we tend to lose an essences of what it is and I feel its has become very commercialised. (P1)

I dont think mindfulness is understood I know I have my bit of understanding of it I know people are getting more becoming more aware of what it might be (P2) I feel I could learn more techniques (P1)

I suppose learning more about the concept I would love (P7)

Small Sample Size Similar Backgrounds

One Location
Transcripts Not Reviewed Anxiety Performance

In depth insight into real experiences Opportunity to reflect & elaborate

Reduced Mixed Interpretations Researcher highly skilled in interviewing

Certified Standardised MBI Training Programs Supervision with Qualified Mindfulness Supervisor Mediation Rooms for Therapists Re-fresher Courses Regulated Standards of Teacher Training Regulated Standards of Knowledge /Skills/ Experiential Learning Regulated Standards of Monitoring & Evaluating Clinical Performance.

Mindfulness is the miracle that can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life When you enter deeply into the present moment you see the nature of reality and this insight liberates you from suffering and confusion
-------- Thich Nhat Hanh