In today’s 24/7 world, staying plugged in has practically become a way of life. From navigating over-scheduled calendars to managing multiple to-do lists, it seems that some days, finding time to so much as sit down and take a breath is impossible.
Enter mindful therapy.
Mindfulness has shown potential to reduce symptoms of stress and depression, and improve general health; and mindful therapy is an effective way to learn mindfulness-based tools you can incorporate into your everyday life.
Here, Zencare – a search site to help people find great therapists – introduces mindful therapy, what you can expect in a typical mindfulness-based therapy session, and shares tips on how to find a mindfulness therapist who’s right for you.
What is mindful therapy?
Mindfulness practices include a wide variety of different exercises and activities. Generally, they are intended to help you learn to observe yourself and the world around you in an open, nonjudgmental way.
Mindfulness often focuses on increasing calm awareness of your own thoughts, emotions, and experiences in the moment.
Again, approaches and exercises can vary, but may include these two standardized approaches:
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction: MBSR is a proven way to reduce stress and emotional suffering. The therapist guides clients as they explore the connection between mind and body through meditation, dialogue, and mindful yoga, and movement. Through mindfulness practice, clients are able to connect with their inner resources for coping, growing, and healing.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy: MBCT illuminates thought patterns that take hold during depressive episodes. The therapist supports the client by noticing how their thought patterns impact their emotional experience and then provides mindfulness techniques to help them maintain optimal mental health and wellness.
What are common mindful therapy exercises?
Mindful therapy is a different experience for every individual, because every individual has unique situations and symptoms – so you may not practice every exercise below, or you may find other exercises are more helpful for you.
That said, typical exercises may include:
- Meditative body scans
- Guided imagery
- Mindful listening
- Mindfulness of the breath, sounds, and thoughts
- Acceptance of social anxiety
- Breath focus with guidance, and without guidance
What questions should I ask a potential mindful therapist?
Consider asking the following questions when searching for a therapist who specializes in mindfulness:
- Can you tell me a bit about your practice?
Asking this open-ended question can help you determine whether the basics of their approach appeal to you and might make you feel comfortable in sessions.
- Do you have experience working with clients who are facing [your particular concern or situation]?
- How long do you typically see patients?
Note that typically, there is no set endpoint for mindful therapy. You and your therapist will agree on treatment goals early on in the therapeutic process; this discussion should also include ways to measure progress based on your individual goals.
- What is your insurance policy and/or session rate?
You have a few options when paying for mindful psychotherapy, including:
- Finding in-network therapists: When you think of finding a therapist who “takes your insurance,” you’re thinking of in-network therapists.
- Expanding your search to out-of-network therapists: This is a great option if you’re able to pay more than $50/session, and want to maximize your therapist options.
- Sliding scale, HSA, FSA: These are good options if you have a high deductible plan, and want to find alternative ways to keep therapy costs down.
What certifications should I look for in a mindful therapist?
Regardless of which kind of mindfulness practice you’re interested in pursuing, make sure you work with someone who is trained in using mindfulness techniques.
Practitioners of various mindfulness practices will often have certifications and licenses to practice specific treatments, such as meditation, yoga, or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. If you’re dealing with a specific mental health concern, it may also be helpful to find someone with experience using mindfulness to treat your particular symptoms or condition.
Also, keep in mind that practitioners of mindfulness — including yoga instructors and meditation coaches — aren’t always psychotherapists. If you expect psychotherapy to be part of your treatment and are looking for a mindful talk therapist, make sure to look for a provider who is licensed to practice in the state where you live.
Where should I start my search for a mindful therapist?
Live outside those areas? Look for the certifications from the above section to start your search!
Whether the plugged-in stressors of today have you feeling tapped out, you’re looking to boost your external awareness and self-compassion, or you’re just curious about mindfulness, consider seeing a mindfulness-based therapist!
This is a guest post from Zencare, a website that helps people find their ideal talk therapists. Visit Zencare.co to browse their vetted network of top therapists, including perinatal therapists, using criteria like insurance, sliding scale, location, and specialties. You can also directly book a free assessment call from the Zencare site.