What Are Mindfulness-Based Therapies?

by Andrea Blundell
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

You’ve probably heard of mindfulness, given that it is everywhere these days. Schools are teaching mindfulness to students, corporations to employees, and celebrities mention it constantly.

But what is mindfulness, exactly?

In a nut shell, mindfulness means using techniques to help you stay more aware of the here and now, instead of lost in your worries about the past and future.

It can include meditation, breathing exercises, and both sensory and body awareness.

Why are therapists using mindfulness with clients?

Mindfulness is now used by therapists as it is proven by research to help with things that have always been a goal of talk therapy, such as:

How do therapists use mindfulness in their work with clients?

For starters, your therapist can practise mindfulness his or herself. He or she would have already learned, when training to be a therapist, how to be a very present listener. But practicing mindfulness daily can make your therapist that little bit more 'in the moment' and available.

A mindfulness-based therapist will then teach you mindfulness tools and help you find ways to apply these tools to the challenges you are facing.

For example, you can learn to use meditation to become aware of what you really think and feel. Or you can discuss with your therapist ways to use mindful breathing to lower stress when working with difficult colleagues.

What kinds of therapies use mindfulness?

Many therapists integrate mindfulness into work with clients nowadays, even if they did not study a specific mindfulness-based form of therapy.

So if you come across a therapist you like the look of, but they don’t mention mindfulness in their profile? It’s worth asking if they ever integrate it, or if they have studied mindfulness in their professional development.

But if you have your heart set on a type of therapy where mindfulness is a main focus, then try oneo of the following therapies:

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy - MBCT helps you develop awareness and acceptance of your thoughts and feelings. Instead of living on auto-pilot and just reacting to what life throws at you, you can start to take charge, choosing actions that makes you feel good. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy helps with:

Acceptance and commitment therapy - ACT uses mindfulness to help you develop what it calls ‘psychological flexibility’. It helps you recognise and accept what you can’t control, then take more initiative to change what you can. It’s been found helpful for:

Dialectical behaviour therapy - Mindfulness one of the four key skills that DBT teaches you. A therapy originally created for those who have borderline personality disorder, it has a strong focus on controlling impulses and big emotions. So it's helpful for:

  • depression and anxiety
  • borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • emotional dysregulation
  • self-harm
  • sexual abuse
  • addictions.

Curious to give mindfulness-based therapy a try? Our easy-to-use booking tool can match you with a mindfulness-based therapist today.

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