In theory, Counselling and Psychotherapy are not exactly the same thing. But in practical reality they tend to be overlapping and often indistinguishable from one another. With regard to the practice of mindfulness in therapy however it is equally beneficial whether you are a client in counselling or psychotherapy and for simplicity these are all referred to as therapy in this section.
Mindfulness is about being present: in the present moment, being fully present in your experience as it actually unfolding moment to moment. It is about being awake and aware of what is happening, noticing our experience each moment and fully experience this moment rather than being lost in thoughts, opinions and judging our experience.
An example of this can be going for a walk with lovely views but being lost in inner thoughts and inner conversations, not seeing the beauty. By incorporating the practice of mindfulness in therapy you gain skills which are very important for living a full and healthy life.
For example you develop a heightened awareness of all aspects of your experience: sensory, somatic, emotional, cognitive as well as of interpersonal dynamics. This then gives you better access to what is actually taking place in your personal challenges, and allows you to access more specific details about the dynamics of the issue that you wish to address in therapy. And the more fully you are able to identify the details of what is taking place in your times of difficulty, the more likely it is that your therapist will be able to find best angles to explore the issue, bringing it more into awareness.
Once an issue is brought into awareness there is more choice about how we relate to this experience.
We can learn to be less reactive even to painful experiences whether physical or psychological, and allow the experience to just be, to make space for any of the discomfort in a more spacious way and less contracted. And this is important because the reactiveness is in itself often a big part of what causes the difficulties with which we struggle.
By practising mindfulness in therapy it also increases our ability to distinguish between a thought and an actual experience. This distinction may seem obvious at first, but in reality there are a vast number of personal and interpersonal difficulties that hold us back from living a full life that are actually due to mistaking our internal stories for truth and misinterpretations for facts. Thoughts can give rise to emotions or moods and we can act from this place without question. Therapy enables us to question the whole experience by stepping back and seeing our reactions with perspective and a large dose of patience and kindness. This is easier said than done but this is why a therapist is helpful – to light the way!
You may be suffering from anxiety, depression, chronic pain, sleep problems, stress, traumatic emotions, or other personal problems that can be addressed in Mindful Therapy. Some people just have a general dissatisfaction with how life is turning out, for some its relationship problems.
Following on from an 8 week course it can be helpful to have some support.
Personal practice mentoring supports the process of reflection through a deepening inquiry into one’s ongoing formal and informal practice. It encourages exploration and discovery, and provides support and guidance where needed. It helps to keep practice engaged and alive, and supports skilful engagement with obstacles that may arise rather than the familiar reactivity.
Personal practice mentoring can be beneficial for: those who wish to enrich and deepen their practice; those who are encountering obstacles; or for those who would benefit from a supportive space in which to reflect and renew their inspiration and focus. I am available to offer support and guidance with various aspects of practice, including:
Lynne Holmes trained in Gestalt Psychotherapy at Metanoia Institute from 1995 – 2000. She has set up a counselling service at a GP surgery in London, worked as a Counsellor co-running a busy Occupational Health Counselling Service at a local Devon hospital for 10 years, working for Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP’s) and in private practice.
She offers one to one sessions privately and through Employee Assistance Programmes for Businesses. These sessions are 50 minutes and cost between £40 - £50. Forty eight hours is required for cancellation of a session otherwise the fee will be charged.
These are confidential and in a private setting and she is fully insured through Towergate Insurance. She follows the ethical guidelines of British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and holds Accredited Registration.
In the first therapy session you will both clarify what you hope for from counselling and talk about how you may best work together. You can decide if you wish to continue and how many sessions you think you may need.
You will also consider together whether Lynne is the right person to help you and, if not, where you might go to get the help you need. Having worked in the NHS and local Community Lynne knows the local resources well.
If you decide to come for further counselling sessions you will both work with what best fits with your aims and needs.
The way Lynne works these days is deeply informed by her own mindfulness practice and training in mindfulness-based approaches. She has trained in Gestalt Psychotherapy which is a Mindful approach and is focused in the present moment rather than dredging up the past. The past may emerge but you will work on ‘what this is like in the body and the emotions ’without particularly being attached or consumed by the story.
She draws on humanistic understanding of human resourcefulness and of how we make sense of the world. The main aim of the therapy on offer is to gain insight into ‘this experience and that experience’ via the senses rather than a cognitive understanding. A mental understanding will emerge but will be integrated to the bodily and emotional experience. A home practice of meditation may be introduced to supplement the sessions.