In brief, mindfulness therapy involves the use of mindfulness and other techniques allowing the therapist and client to work together in a helpful partnership. Both attend to how things actually are in the moment, as well as bringing a sense of acceptance to what is there without any judgement.
In this way, the client and therapist engage in the present moment of the therapeutic process. The therapist actively responds to the clients’ feelings by observing them rather than trying to fix or change them.
This enhanced and accepting presence enables the therapist to listen attentively to the client. The therapist can perceive the client and their issues in a much broader, deeper and more intense way than with other psychological approaches.
With most other therapeutic approaches, the therapist is primarily thinking about, and judging, what the client is expressing, as well as defining hypotheses about their issues and possible solutions. The therapist can then be distracted from what is actually happening for the client, right there, right now.
These therapeutic strategies can also reinforce the notion that clients have to try to solve their problems. Consequently, clients keep asking themselves questions to work out what’s wrong with them and/or their life situation, because it doesn’t match how they think things should be.
With this, there is a sense of judgement about themselves and their life. They then run the risk of cementing both long-standing negative patterns of thinking and self-beliefs, leaving them open to continued emotional turmoil.
On the other hand, Mindfulness Therapy allows the therapist and client to explore the relationship between the clients’ moment by moment feelings and their unresolved emotions, without a further deterioration of their emotional state. Their awareness of underlying triggers becomes finely tuned, thereby avoiding the automatic expression of difficult or debilitating emotional states.
Over time, this permits a better understanding of what is real, and what is created by the mind. A constructive resolution can then be navigated because the client has a better grasp of how their present sense of inadequacy, resentment, unloveability or hopelessness is a product of being stuck in the past – an unnecessary story created by the mind wanting to hold onto the familiar past, and not about what is happening in reality now.