Intentions/Goals, Objectives & Methods/Trainings
Mindfulness Therapy Intention/Goals
Mindfulness Therapy's intention is for the client to cultivate awareness through formal and informal mindfulness practices and exercises. In doing so, the goal is for the client to become more resilient, open to possibility and perspective, practicing overall wellness, and developing self-compassion for self and others.
Mindfulness Therapy Objectives
The objectives are to provide experiential learning, psycho-education, skills, and tools that facilitate these goals. The learning is designed to increase capacities in awareness, perspective-taking, stress management, regulation of attention, affect and behavior, and responding with intention. These capacities are reinforced through reflection, practice, and structured opportunities for the integration and application of learning. The desired outcomes will be seen by:
• the engagement in specific mindfulness practices, such as the mindful check-in, body scan, etc.
• their understanding of concepts, such as self-compassion and negativity bias
• the development of personal action plans, e.g., for self-care
• monitoring of skills practiced, and concepts applied outside of session
Mindfulness Therapy Methods - Three Trainings
The primary training is in how to focus attention, in particular on the present moment, for example using the senses or bodily sensations as a way to access present moment experience. Youth learn how to systematically place, hold (explore) and shift attention, to various experiential phenomena (body sensations, thoughts, emotions, urges, or impulses). This teaches them to be able to engage in the same regulation of attention when stressful thoughts or emotions arise, giving them skills and a healthy way to respond to such distractions or challenges.
The second is training in how to observe the coming and going of thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, to be curious about them, and to turn towards them even if they are stressful or unpleasant. They learn to consider experience, even difficult experience, with greater objectivity, a willingness to “have” it, and also some recognition that it will pass. This opens possibilities for responding intentionally and most skillfully. In observing the coming and going of thoughts, youth gain the insight that thoughts may be misleading, may not be tied to reality and may have a momentum of their own. They also learn that they do not have to act on them or argue with them.
The third integrates the first two, making the skills learned available in everyday life. With the ability to focus attention, and an open, curious, and receptive stance to experience from which to view the mind at work, youth learn to recognize their automatic reactivity to thoughts and events. They can then see how emotions and trains of thought that cascade into the past or future, may take hold of the mind, emotions, and body. Instead of following these habitual paths, youth learn to turn their attention to the present, to the immediate effects these have on the way the body reacts, and then labeling the emotions and thoughts that are arising. Attending to this direct experience allows for a clearer view of what is arising in the here-and-now versus their interpretations and conclusions about that experience. When youth shift the brain’s resources to focus on very concrete experience, they effectively disrupt habitual reactions. This gives them an essential pause during which they can choose how to intentionally respond rather than automatically reacting in ways that may be problematic.
Many of the significant events, pleasant or unpleasant, in young people’s lives are related to their interactions with peers, caregivers, family, and friends. Hence, some emphasis on delivering the program to youth is given to building interpersonal skills (e.g., mindful listening and speaking) and healthy relationships.