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Connecting Body Awareness and Couples Therapy

Using Mindfulness to Explore Emotion in Couples Conflict

Molly Layton

If we can bring awareness into our own pulsing bodies, we get a chance to explore the hidden well of physical discomfort caused by our memories and emotions and our crazy defenses against that discomfort. The body, you might argue, is the unconscious. No one welcomes discomfort, but the fear of becoming overwhelmed, the fear of unleashing strange forces, of "wallowing" in negativity, can funnel our energies away from tolerating even the mildest turbulence of our felt experience. In my therapy practice, I've learned that being present to the rich physical substrate of the body can be especially useful in couples work.

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The Therapeutic Value of Buddhist Meditation

A Meditation Retreat Helps a Therapist Confront Cancer Trauma

David Treadway

I've been working hard on integrating Buddhist teachings and meditation practice into my life for six years now. But none of my spiritual practice prepared for my stage IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma that turned my life upside down two years ago. I was extremely sick and given a small chance to survive. In the first weeks, I spoke easily about the transformational power of illness, the gift of cancer. I thought I'd become enlightened. But in reality, I was out of my mind, quite dissociative. Buddhism doesn't mean being detached, uncaring, disengaged. I came to this retreat out of desperation. I'm here to learn how to live again.

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Mindfulness Enters American Health and Science

How Jon Kabat-Zinn Started a Mindful Revolution

Mary Sykes Wylie

In 1979, a 35-year-old MIT-trained molecular biologist had a vision of what his life’s work—his “karmic assignment”—would be. He’d bring the ancient Eastern disciplines he’d followed for 13 years—mindfulness meditation and yoga—to chronically sick people right here in modern America. What’s more, he’d bring these practices into the very belly of the Western scientific beast. Not exactly a modest scheme. But Jon Kabat-Zinn, the originator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), would manage to pull it off. Since then, mindfulness has spilled out of the healthcare/psychotherapy world and into the rest of society. But the explosive growth of mindfulness in America has also inevitably triggered a backlash.

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Mindful Meditation for the Therapist

Dan Siegel Embarks On a Vipassana Meditation Retreat

Dan Siegel

I'm flying from Los Angeles to Boston for a week-long meditation retreat, and I'm feeling nervous. For the next seven days, I'll be sitting in silence with 100 other scientists at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. The event is unique: when before have 100 scientists, most of whom specialize in studying the brain, gathered together to sit in silence for a week and learn "mindfulness meditation"? As a therapist, I know that teaching mindful awareness can markedly improve physical and mental well-being. Still, I have no background in meditation, my mind is always busily running on at least 10 cylinders, and I've never been known for my taciturnity.

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The Mind-Body Magic of Jon Kabat-Zinn

One Man's Quest to Bring Therapeutic Mindfulness to Medicine

Richard Simon and Mary Sykes Wylie

In 1966, Jon Kabat-Zinn, a graduate student in molecular biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spotted a flyer advertising a talk about Zen. Today, nearly 40 years after that portentous afternoon talk, Kabat-Zinn is acknowledged as one of the pioneers in mind-body medicine---a field that integrates ancient spiritual traditions like yoga and meditation with mainstream medical practice. In 1979, Kabat-Zinn established the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, the first center in the country to use meditation and yoga with patients suffering from intractable pain and chronic illness.

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A Week of Silence

Quieting the Mind and Liberating the Self

Dan Siegel

I'm flying from Los Angeles to Boston for a week-long meditation retreat, and I'm feeling nervous. For the next seven days, I'll be sitting in silence with 100 other scientists at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, at an event sponsored by the Mind and Life Institute, an organization devoted to the scientific study of mindfulness and compassion. The event is unique: when before have 100 scientists, most of whom specialize in studying the brain, gathered together to sit in silence for a week and learn "mindfulness meditation"?

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Revolution on the Horizon

DBT Challenges the Borderline Diagnosis

Katy Butler, Katy Butler

DBT was no walk in the park: it required team treatment, including weekly individual therapy, a year-long "skills training" class, telephone coaching and supportive supervision for the therapist. But it offered clients and therapists alike a way out of chaos--a systematic clinical package that integrated the technical and analytical strengths of behaviorism, the subtleties of Zen training, the warmth and acceptance of relationship-centered therapies and the often undervalued power of psychoeducation.

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The Power of Paying Attention

What Jon Kabat Zinn Has Against Spirituality

Richard Simon and Mary Sykes Wylie

Jon Kabat-Zinn is acknowledged as one of the pioneers in mind-body medicine--a field that integrates ancient spiritual traditions like yoga and meditation with mainstream medical practice. Kabat-Zinn was a very bright, hard-driving, 22-year-old kid from New York City, the son of a distinguished research immunologist, who was just starting out on his own promising scientific career. He had no idea what Zen was or who Kapleau was, but, in a sea of notices posted on one of the huge bulletin boards lining the corridor, this flyer somehow called out to him.

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