Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Prepping to Meet

Mindfulness Tune Up Before Meeting the Psychotherapy Client.

Mindfulness-based psychotherapy is not so much about techniques as about the therapist's quality of attention, to self and to the ones being served. I must have skimmed through dozens of books on the topic, and not much has stuck. In the end, the glue that makes it all work is a fundamental quality of attention that can only be cultivated through personal mindfulness practice.

Before meeting with a psychotherapy client, I always make sure to prep myself with the following routine:

Short sitting meditation, using breath as focus of attention, followed by quick body scan - stepping out of sole thinking mode into embodied awareness.
One or more yoga stretches, to release some of the contractions in the body.
Walking meditation, which can be as short as walking to go welcome the client in the waiting room - great for grounding oneself even more.

A few minutes, that's all it takes. A few minutes that can make all the difference between being fully present, or not. 

The same routine can be used in other settings. Before a work meeting, before picking up the kids from school, before connecting with your lover, before sitting at the bedside of a sick one, . . . 

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