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Mindfulness and Psychotherapy

Comment to recent LA Times Post:

“Incorporating mindfulness practices in psychotherapy interventions makes good sense and makes a big difference when the objective is to minimize symptoms associated with mood dysregulation. An added twist, however, is that the speciic mindfulness strategies psychotherapy clients are taught to employ can unintentially encourage disengagement from relationships with other people! Attending to breathing and observing the flow of thoughts introduces added dimenstions of complexity when we are also in the midst of navigating a social interaction. The tendency when practicing mindful awareness during these moments would be to “withdraw” from the social contact – either by literally physically exiting to a quieter environment or merely emotionally distancing through silence or in extreme cases dissociation.

The cutting edge of mindfulness in psychotherapy is the integration of meditative practices while remaining socially engaged. The earliest practitioners of meditation in Eastern traditions were always embedded in highly communal societies and always put their meditative practices to use “in the service” of more mindful engagement with those communities. Let us emulate their wisdoem and build our own skills for mindful social engagement!”