218 Customizing Mindfulness

Ronald SiegelRonald Siegel • Friday Morning
As mindfulness practice is increasingly being integrated into psychotherapy, therapists too often have come to see it as a one-size-fits-all remedy. But mindfulness practices actually include a range of tools that need to be customized patient by patient. While there are universal tendencies of mind that contribute to most psychopathologies (such as experiential avoidance) and core goals underlying all mindfulness practices (such as opening to the present moment with acceptance), there are many different forms of practice that can be tailored to a client’s history, personality organization, defensive style, cultural background, and presenting problems. We’ll explore the specific questions that will help assure the right fit between different practices (such as breath awareness, loving-kindness meditation, nature meditation, and self-compassion practices) and the problems clients present (anxiety, depression, addictions, interpersonal struggles, and other clinical issues). You’ll leave with a heightened awareness of which mindfulness practices work best with whom, and why.

Ronald Siegel, Psy.D., is an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and faculty member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. His books include The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems.

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