What are Mindful Therapies?

by | Jan 8, 2024 | Blog

Mindful therapies are a set of therapies that draw inspiration from ancient contemplative practices, such as meditation and yoga, and fuse them with modern psychological techniques. Mindfulness is a concept that has gained traction in recent years for its potential to enhance well-being and mental health. Mindfulness, in short, means present moment awareness without judgement.  It is simply the practice of noticing one’s own conscious experience in the present moment. Mindfulness originated in Buddhism and Easter philosophies more generally (Chiesa & Malinowski, 2011). You can find aspects of mindfulness in meditation, yoga, Tai Chi and other contemplative practices. Over the last several decades however, mindfulness has become much more common and known in Western culture.

How does one practice mindfulness?

Mindfulness involves observing thoughts and feelings with openness, curiosity, and acceptance. In a world often characterized by constant distractions and a frenetic pace, mindfulness serves as a conscious effort to cultivate a state of focused presence.

Key components of mindfulness:

  1. Attention: Mindfulness involves directing attention intentionally to a chosen focal point, such as the breath, bodily sensations, or the present moment’s activities.
  2. Awareness: Beyond focused attention, mindfulness encourages a broader awareness that includes observing thoughts and emotions without becoming entangled in them.
  3. Non-Judgmental Acceptance: An essential aspect of mindfulness is cultivating a non-judgmental stance towards one’s experiences. This involves accepting thoughts and feelings without labeling them as good or bad.
  4. Present Moment Focus: Mindfulness emphasizes the importance of engaging fully with the present moment rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

While mindfulness has deep roots in Eastern traditions, its applications have expanded significantly. It is now widely integrated into various fields, including psychology, medicine, education, and corporate settings.

What are psychotherapies?

Psychotherapies refer to any type of talk therapy used by Psychologists, Social Workers, Psychiatrists and other related counselling practitioners. There are many types of therapies, each with their own philosophy and method of intervention, often related to particular mental health issues. Some of the more famous and widely known psychotherapies are: Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (think Freud), Interpersonal Process Therapy (IPT), or Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT).

What are the different types of psychotherapies?

Psychotherapy comes in various forms, each tailored to address specific mental health concerns. From cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) to psychodynamic therapy, therapists employ diverse approaches to help individuals navigate their unique challenges. There are evidence-based therapies (meaning they have been found to be effective by multiple research studies) for specific problems such as anxiety and depression (CBT, Schema Therapy), relationship difficulties (Interpersonal Therapy, Internal Family Systems Therapy) or trauma symptoms (Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Prolonged Exposure, Cognitive Processing Therapy). Mindful Therapies, however, takes a distinctive approach by integrating mindfulness into the therapeutic process.

Mindful Therapies therefore refers to psychotherapies that have an element of mindfulness embedded within them. These therapies emphasize cultivating awareness and acceptance, promoting a more balanced and resilient mental state. Some well-known mindfulness-based therapies include Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). 

What makes Mindful Therapies practitioners unique?

What sets Mindful Therapies apart is the commitment of its therapists to incorporate mindfulness principles into their personal and professional lives. Whether through daily meditation, mindful breathing exercises, or the application of mindfulness techniques in their own journey of self-discovery, these therapists embody the essence of mindfulness. In addition, the therapists at Mindful Therapies each have specialized training in evidence-based therapies, including those that incorporate components of mindfulness.

What are the benefits of mindful therapies:

  1. Stress Reduction: Mindful Therapies can equip individuals with tools to manage stress by fostering a non-judgmental awareness of their thoughts and emotions.
  2. Improved Emotional Regulation: Through mindfulness, individuals learn to respond to emotions with greater clarity and understanding, enhancing emotional resilience.
  3. Enhanced Self-Awareness: Mindfulness encourages self-reflection, enabling individuals to explore their inner landscape and gain insights into their thoughts and behaviors.
  4. Mind-Body Connection: Mindful Therapies recognize the interconnectedness of the mind and body, promoting holistic well-being through practices that unite mental and physical awareness.

In a world that often feels chaotic, Mindful Therapies offer our clients the skills to have a more peaceful existence. By embracing mindfulness, these therapies provide a unique approach to mental health and well-being, empowering individuals to navigate life’s challenges with a greater sense of presence and resilience. Whether you’re seeking stress relief, emotional regulation, or a deeper understanding of yourself, Mindful Therapies beckon as a path towards a more mindful and fulfilling life.

Chiesa, A. & Malinowski, P. (2011). Mindfulness-Based Approaches: Are They All the Same? Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67 (4), 404-424.

Rebecca Boehm

Rebecca Boehm

Dr. Boehm is a Registered Psychologist, who received her PhD at the University of Saskatchewan. She worked for a number of years in the Nova Scotia health care system in the areas of Addictions, Operational Stress Injury and Forensic Assessment. She started Mindful Therapies in 2016, and continues to offer diagnostic assessment services related to trauma and military service. She is currently on leave from therapy services.