Mindfulness


The therapy I offer involves an awareness of the body. This is done through guided mindfulness.

Mindfulness encourages both therapist and client to stay with immediate sensations, rather than getting lost in ideas. I will instruct you how to use your awareness to notice different states in your own body. Such states will be associated with particular feelings, body postures, and historical events. By using guided mindfulness exercises we can listen to the echoes of our past experiences. Impossible to process at the time, these got locked up in the body as physical ‘memories’. Becoming aware (mindful) of such memories provides options for moving on. Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps us disregard the internal chatter that we experience all of the time. When people are finding life difficult it is often because aspects of this internal chatter have become toxic. Mindfulness teaches attention and kindness, both of which are immensely helpful daily practices. Nearly everyone who tries it finds a sense of calm and peace, after even one “sitting”. However a daily practice is recommended as the effects continue to unfold for a lifetime. Mindfulness teaches us to attend to moment-to-moment micro sensations in the body. A classic mindfulness instruction is, “Notice every sensation of your breathing. Every time your mind wanders, bring it patiently back to noticing the breath. Do this again and again, with immense kindness.” Try it and see how you get on.

Learning Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be picked up from books, apps and videos, but there is a benefit in direct learning from a confident practitioner. Even experienced meditators value the chance to meditate with others. If you are wanting to learn to meditate, and don’t need therapy, there are Buddhist groups in Leeds who give free instruction at their meetings. In particular the Theravada and Zen traditions focus on supporting the practice of meditation. If you prefer a non-religious approach there are local NHS-approved 8 week group courses: search on “mindfulness 8 weeks courses Leeds”.

Historical development

For many years Buddhist teachings about human psychology did not reach a western audience because of their religious context. In 1979 Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Clinic at the University of Massachusetts. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (Segal, Williams and Teasdale) was designed for depression which recurred after other treatments had initially been successful. The influence of mindfulness has since spread widely and it is now used in many NHS settings.

My experience with Mindfulness

I began meditating years ago and I continue to practice daily. To support my meditation I have visited many groups (Buddhist and non-Buddhist) and done silent retreats of up to a week.

Recommended reading

Full Catastrophe Living. How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation. Jon Kabat-Zinn. 1990.
The Compassionate Mind (Compassion Focused Therapy) Paul Gilbert. 2009.
Buddha’s Brain. The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom. Rich Hanson and Richard Mendius. 2009.
Mindfulness for Borderline Personality Disorder. Blaise Aguirre and Gillian Galen. 2013.
Why can’t I meditate. How to get your mindfulness practice back on track. Nigel Wellings. 2015.
Your Resonant Self. Guided meditations and exercises to engage your brain’s capacity for healing. Sarah Peyton. 2017. Norton.