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I am glad to attend the workshop on using mindfulness: for Counsellors and Teachers by Liliana Goldschmidt. MA. This was organized by the Hyderabad Academy of Psychology, Hyderabad. Diana Monteiro the course director introduced Liliana to the group of 50 participants, who were from different organizations, working in helping relationships as counselors, clinical psychologists and some of them also working with children with special needs.
It was a half day workshop, participative and practical too with a bit of theory. Liliana spoke about the history of Mindfulness that dates back to thousands of years through various religious and philosophical systems. Dr John Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of the pioneers of mindfulness. He introduced mindfulness into the field of medicines in 1979.
I like the definition of Dr John Kabat- Zinn who states that mindfulness “as the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgementally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.”
While I was listening to Liliana’s session, so many thoughts were coming to my mind: that I had experienced learning meditation. I recall attending vipassana meditation for the first time years ago wherein I learnt to observe my breath, and the gurus were encouraging us to focus on the breath for three full days and from the fourth till the last day, the art of scanning the body observing the breath was taught… the purpose was to learn to live in the present; and also observe everything within yourself and surrounding yourself, which is so much a mindfulness involving paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them, as right and wrong, but just be aware of every sensations in the body.
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For those who practice meditation, especially focusing on breath, helps to be in the present, also makes us relaxed, reduces stress, increases focus, promotes health and well –being. As a counselor I found practising mindfulness very useful in my counseling sessions. As a counselor being mindful is an important quality, in helping not only those who are coming for counseling but also to be totally aware of oneself, and observant of everything in the session, being aware of thoughts running through, feelings that come from within of comfort, discomfort not labeling them but just being present to the person.
Practising mindfulness helps in anxiety reduction, stress reduction, dealing with negative thoughts and emotions, focusing and also dealing with anger pro-actively and becoming sensitive to all that is freely available in life; filling oneself with gratitude. I mostly encourage and teach breathing techniques to students who come with anxiety, stress and negative thoughts, disturbed mind and confused, and discouraged.
When I listen to them being totally mindful; I also realize how important it is to practice mindfulness, that helps me to choose always to look at the bright side of life; to keep counting everyday blessings, never to take anything or any person for granted and to be eternally grateful for all experiences which are important for my own growth process.
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Research has specifically identified benefits of mindfulness as: Reduced rumination, fewer depressive symptoms, improvements to working memory, ability to focus attention and suppress distracting information. Also said to have decrease emotional reactivity, give greater cognitive flexibility, predicts relationship satisfaction.
The effects of meditation on therapists and therapist trainees suggest that mindfulness promotes empathy enhance self compassion among health care professionals, also significant increases in self awareness, insights about professional identity and over all wellness, thus decreasing stress and anxiety and promoting better quality of life.
More information is available on https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/pst-48-2-198.pdf
This workshop was a meaningful for me as it reinforced some of the things I knew and also; the session was participative and the group was also resourceful; with discussions and personal sharing of real experiences of using mindfulness with children who have ADHD, also with those suffering from Depression and the challenges of using mindfulness with substance abuse and couple counseling was enlightening.
Hyderabad Academy of Psychology conducts basic skills in counselling and regular CE programmes for all those working in the field of Mental Health. www.thehap.in this workshop is also part of the regular CE programmes.
“I promise myself that I will enjoy, every minute of the day that is given to me to live” Thich Nhat Hanh
Be Blessed & Be Happy!