mindfulness and the 12 steps

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1 mindfulness and the 12 steps with Thérèse Jacobs-Stewart Resting the Mind Assume a body position where your spine is straight and your body relaxed. Allow your mind to rest for a few minutes, letting whatever happens-or doesn t happen-be a part of the experiment. Relax with whatever arises. When time is up, ask yourself, How was that? (Don t judge; just review what happened and how you felt.) The only difference between meditation and the ordinary process of feeling, thinking, feeling, and sensation is the application of the bare awareness. Mindfulness Meditation Consciously bring awareness to your here-and-now experience with openness, interest, and self-acceptance. 1

2 Ways Mindfulness and Meditation Help the Therapist Offers idea of strengthening the heart vs. western psychology s concept of self-care. Reduces compassion fatigue, renews energy, and counteracts burn-out. Deepens capacity for a compassionate and nonjudging presence. Increases ability to abide with difficult emotions, offering hope and relief. Sharpens awareness of therapist s own reactions. Specific Brain States Correlate with Happiness Brain Activity Associated with Mindfulness Meditation 2

3 Meditation Changes the Circuitry of the Brain Jacobs-Stewart, Paths Are Made by Walking, 2003 Meditation training can change the brain and forever alter our sense of well-being. Richard Davidson Laboratory for Neuroaffective Science University of Wisconsin, Madison 3

4 Effects of Mindfulness on the Addictive Brain Enhances neural plasticity. Reduces activity in the amygdala. Thickens the bilateral, prefrontal right-insular region of the brain. Integrates prefrontal regulation and limbic emotion activation. Builds new neural connections among brain cells for self-observation, optimism, and well-being. Breathing and Noting What Comes Up Bring awareness to the breath in the body, half-breath at a time. Let go of conceptual activity, allowing thoughts to arise and pass through. The moment you notice your mind has wandered, note the distraction with curiosity and kindness. Silently tag the distraction as thinking or feeling, or pain, or resistance, etc. Gently bring your awareness back to the breath. Ways Mindfulness Helps the Patient Develops an observing self in the present moment. Builds capacity to notice and describe body-feeling states, thoughts, and interpretations. Fosters ability to self-soothe. Increases affect regulation and non-reactivity to inner experience. Alters negative core beliefs/working models. Allows conscious choice of actions. Supports healing of narcissistic wounding and shame. Alan Marlatt, Addictive Behavior Research Center, University of Washington 4

5 When Mindfulness or Meditation May Be Contraindicated When a patient: Cannot manage traumatic memories or flash backs Feels overwhelmed; fears possible disintegration Experiences introjected voices that are particularly harsh and unrelenting Is in a state of acute grief Suffers from breaks with reality; psychosis or disassociation Wants to use meditation for spiritual bypassing Mindfulness and the 12-Steps First Step: Joining the Great We Get grounded and connect to others Tolerate and ride-out distressing emotions Practice: Resting in the Field of Awakened Ones Second Step: Cultivating hopefulness Anchor the mind and calm the emotions Connect to our steadfast, unchanging true nature Practice: Breathing and Noting Meditation Third Step: Contacting the Great Reality Within Release physical tension and anxiety Receive refuge and grace Practice: Taking Refuge Prayer Jacobs-Stewart, Mindfulness and the 12 Steps Integration of Mindfulness and Meditation in Psychotherapy A Continuum from Implicit to Explicit Integration Therapist has interest in and explores mindfulness. Therapist engages in own mindfulness and/or meditation practice. Therapist s approach to therapy is influenced by mindfulness and/or eastern thought and meditation practice. Therapist discusses mindfulness and works with patients using mindfulness techniques. Therapist teaches meditative practices and explicitly discusses eastern thought in sessions. Jane Rauenhorst, PhD, LP,

6 Thérèse Jacobs-Stewart

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