Mindfulness & Self-Compassion
Treatment is often integrated with my advanced training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), the gold standard 8-week mindfulness program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). Mindfulness may be defined as “The awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally” (Jon Kabat-Zinn).
MBSR is an intensive training in mindfulness meditation with the goal of creating a structured pathway to relieve suffering and increase wellbeing for people facing a host of challenges arising from a wide range of medical and psychological conditions and the demands and stressors inherent in the every day lives of human beings.
MSC was developed by Chris Germer, Ph.D. & Kristen Neff Ph.D. and incorporates skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to create powerful skills for resilience and wellbeing. Mindfulness is the first step in emotional healing. It is being able to turn toward and acknowledge our difficult thoughts and feelings (such as inadequacy, sadness, anger, confusion) with a stance of openness and curiosity.
Self-compassion involves responding to these difficult thoughts and feelings with kindness, sympathy and understanding so that we soothe and comfort ourselves when we're hurting. Research has shown that self-compassion greatly enhances emotional well-being. It boosts happiness, reduces anxiety and depression, and can even help maintain healthy lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise. Being both mindful and compassionate leads to greater ease and well-being in our daily lives. These approaches may be particularly important to integrate into therapy around shame and self-criticism.
Prolonged Exposure is another evidence-based trauma treatment recommenced by the National Center for PTSD that helps people process the trauma that occurred, and find meaning in the experience. PE has been shown to be an extremely effective treatment that significantly reduces the symptoms of PTSD as well as depression, anger, shame, and anxiety that often accompany trauma. PE also helps you feel more confident and increases the ability to discriminate between safe and unsafe situations, opening you up to improving many aspects of life.
PE works from the premise that the brain is overloaded when a trauma occurs, and this causes problems processing and encoding the information in the brain. PE remedies this through recounting the trauma in session, reducing the emotional dysregulation caused by memories of the trauma, and finding new ways of thinking about how it fits into one’s own personal narrative. Additionally, PE helps people reduce avoidance of situations and trauma reminders that cause fear and anxiety through safe and graded exposure.
Standard treatment consists of 9-15 sessions conducted once or twice weekly for 90 minutes each. The duration depends on needs and rate of progress. This treatment is intensive, and I have helped many patients safely and successfully overcome their trauma. I am happy to discuss whether this treatment may benefit you in our initial consultation.