Mindfulness is the central ingredient in a growing number of empirically supported treatments, and mindfulness practices hold great promise not only for personal development, but as remarkably powerful tools to augment virtually every form of psychotherapy.
In Mindfulness for Anxiety, Dr. Siegel works with a young man who presents with stress-related chronic neck pain. First he helps the client to see that the mind plays a critical role in his presenting problem. Next, using the therapeutic understanding that resistance to mental and physical discomfort exacerbates suffering, Dr. Siegel works to identify the physical sensations and emotions that the client is struggling to avoid.
Through practicing acceptance of pain sensations, anxiety, and other emotions, the client is able to become more comfortable with these experiences as they arise, placing him on a path toward freedom from his disorder.
Mindfulness — awareness, of present moment, with acceptance — is a deceptively simple way of relating to experience that has been successfully practiced for over 2,500 years to alleviate human suffering. It is based on the ancient discovery that our attempts to avoid pain and to cling to pleasure actually cause our miseries to multiply, while openly embracing life as it is presented, with all its difficulties, leads to fewer symptoms, greater happiness, and a deeper sense of connection to others.
Mindfulness is the central ingredient in a growing number of empirically supported treatments, and is proving to be a remarkably powerful technique to augment virtually every form of psychotherapy.
The mindfulness-oriented approach to anxiety and stress-related medical symptoms presented in this video combines cognitive restructuring to develop a fresh understanding of the problem, exposure and response prevention to interrupt conditioned patterns of avoidance and arousal, and psychodynamic exploration to identify and befriend split-off or disavowed emotions that contribute to anxiety.
All of these interventions are supported by mindfulness practices, which help the client open to moment-to-moment experience — including physical and emotional pain — with curiosity and interest rather than aversion and avoidance.
About the Therapist:
Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD, is an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, where he has taught for over 25 years. He is a long-time student of mindfulness meditation and serves on the Board of Directors and faculty of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He teaches internationally about mindfulness and psychotherapy and mind/body treatment, has worked for many years in community mental health with inner-city children and families, and maintains a private clinical practice in Lincoln, Massachusetts.
Dr. Siegel is coauthor of the self-treatment guide Back Sense: A Revolutionary Approach to Halting the Cycle of Chronic Back Pain (2001), which integrates Western and Eastern approaches for treating chronic back pain; coeditor of the critically acclaimed text Mindfulness and Psychotherapy (2005); author of a recent book for general audiences, The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems (2009), and coeditor of the upcoming Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy: Deepening Mindfulness in Clinical Practice (2012). He is also a regular contributor to other professional publications, and is codirector of the annual Harvard Medical School Conference on Meditation and Psychotherapy.
Germer, C. K., Siegel, R. D. (Eds.). (2012). Wisdom and compassion in psychotherapy: Deepening mindfulness in clinical practice. New York, NY: Guilford.
Germer, C. K., Siegel, R. D., & Fulton, P. R. (Eds.). (2005). Mindfulness and psychotherapy. New York, NY: Guilford.
Siegel, R. D. (2010). The mindfulness solution: Everyday practices for everyday problems. New York, NY: Guilford. Siegel, R. D., Urdang, M. H., & Johnson, D. R. (2001). Back sense: A revolutionary approach to halting the cycle of chronic back pain. New York, NY: Broadway Books.
Website with free downloads of mindfulness meditation practices: The Mindfulness Solution