Keywords

In this section, I define relevant key words.

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Mindfulness
Mindfulness may be thought of as a state of consciousness, one characterized by attention to the present moment with an attitude of curiosity.  It is a quality of attention that can be applied to any situation. Mindfulness can be more formally cultivated through explicit practices such as meditation, yoga, or mindfulness-based psychotherapy, or through less formal actions, such as taking a walk in nature with the intention to be “mindful.” (Adapted from Smalley, 2010)

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a type of psychological “talk therapy” based in research.  MBCT is often used by mental health professionals to help people recover from and prevent the recurrence of depression and anxiety.  This type of psychotherapy blends traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) methods with mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. While the cognitive components of the treatment teach clients to identify and counter distorted thought patterns leading to negative mood states, mindfulness components teach clients to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings without attaching or reacting to them.

Moreover, research has shown that MBCT is as effective as antidepressants in preventing depressive relapse, and more effective in enhancing quality of life (2008, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology).

“Being With”
From a mindfulness perspective, “being with” means that one is both able and willing to recognize and accept negative feelings and troublesome thoughts when they arise; there is no struggle or desire for things to be any different than how they are in the present moment.

Yogic Breathing
Yogic breathing techniques are drawn from the ancient practice of yoga.  When applied to the process of psychotherapy, it helps clients better understand the specific components of breathing that, when practiced correctly, can lead to a host of mental health benefits including increasing one’s ability to calm anxiety, fear, and panic. Research is now showing that yoga and yogic breathing can help in the process of healing from past trauma.

Self-Compassion-Focused Therapy
Self-Compassion-Focused Therapy is a research-based method of counseling wherein the therapist teaches the client the attributes and skills of demonstrating compassion for oneself.  In this way, the client is helped to develop a compassionate relationship with themselves to replace self-criticism and self-blame.

Self-Compassion Techniques
Self-compassion techniques may include identifying one’s self-critical mental scripts and, then, working with a psychotherapist to develop self-compassionate statements to counter them.  Other techniques may include developing and implementing a practical plan for self-care.

Supportive Counseling
Supportive Counseling happens when a therapist fully engages in an emotional, encouraging, and supportive relationship with the client as a means of furthering his or her healthy psychological functioning, especially in the context of interpersonal relationships.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a type of talk therapy that has been demonstrated by many research studies to be the most effective approach for resolving a variety of psychological problems. The therapeutic relationship between the therapist and client is highly collaborative and goal-directed; the focus of treatment is changing those irrational thoughts, beliefs and assumptions that typically lead to poor behavioral choices and negative emotional states. Specific techniques are taught to help people improve their mood, relationships and general life outcomes.

Self-Defeating Thoughts
Self-defeating thoughts are any thoughts a person has about themselves which act to impair his or her functioning and self-confidence in the world. They are usually irrational because they hold no consistent basis in reality. Many times people are unaware of these types of thoughts because they are often unconscious and automatic. “I’m not good enough” and “There must be something wrong with me” are two examples of self-defeating thoughts.

Behavioral Experiments
Some therapists, to assist their clients with the resolution of various troublesome thoughts, feelings and behaviors use behavioral experiments. For example, in the practice of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, the therapist may request that their client complete homework assignments between therapy sessions. These may consist of real-life “behavioral experiments” where patients are encouraged to try out new responses to situations discussed in therapy sessions.

Negative Belief Systems
Negative belief systems are a culmination of irrational beliefs or self-defeating thoughts which can operate, individually, within a person’s mind or, collectively, within the group consciousness of a family or community. Negative belief systems are “negative” because they are largely false and work to impair the individual or group’s ability to meet their respective goals. Negative belief systems may act generally within a person’s life or they may be ordered around a specific idea or situation. For example, a single heterosexual male may experience great success in his career and financial life, but fail to find a partner because of his belief that he is not desirable to women.