Mindfulness Exercises

7 Ways to Use Mindfulness As A Therapist

If you are a therapist looking to incorporate mindfulness into your practice, you might have some questions about how to do so. Even if you practice mindfulness yourself, it can be unclear as to how you might share this practice with your clients or patients. Fortunately, there are many ways to explore this.

Therapists of all types are beginning to incorporate mindfulness into their work with clients in a variety of ways. From mindfulness scripts for therapists to simply sharing the power of non-judgment, there are many possibilities for incorporating mindfulness into the therapeutic modality you are trained in. But what does this look like in practice?

How Is Mindfulness Used In Therapy?

Mindfulness can be used in therapy both directly and indirectly – or in other words, both formally and informally. Since mindfulness is simply the act of paying non-judgmental attention to the present moment, it can be tapped into no matter how we are working with a client. For instance, we can bring mindfulness to the breath during formal meditation or we can simply help our client to draw non-judgmental awareness to the thoughts they experience.

If you are looking to share mindfulness with your clients formally, you might consider:

  • Leading a mindfulness meditation practice at the beginning of a session to help your client settle in
  • Holding multi-disciplinary workshops, weaving mindfulness together with other therapeutic techniques and understandings
  • Using mindfulness scripts for therapists to guide your clients during a session when a specific emotion or theme needs to be addressed
  • Using mindfulness scripts for therapists to guide your clients during a session when a specific emotion or theme needs to be addressed

It is important to note that the way you use formal mindfulness practices in your sessions with clients will depend upon your line of work and the clients themselves. For instance, a massage therapist will use mindfulness in a different way than someone who explores talk therapy. Furthermore, the unique needs and struggles of any particular client will determine what is safe and practical for them to explore.

Informally, mindfulness principles can be naturally woven into whatever type of therapy you use. To share mindfulness in these sorts of ways, you will need to begin embodying the core principles of mindfulness. These include:

  • Non-judgment
  • Acceptance
  • Curiosity
  • Openness
  • Non-striving

These principles can be brought into the way that you communicate with your client. For instance, can you listen to what they say without judging their thoughts, feelings, and reactions? Can you become more curious and less assuming? Can you be present with their struggles without striving to fix or change the person before you? The above considerations aren’t always easy, but they offer us a glimpse into what it means to embody mindfulness.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

How Is Mindfulness Used In Therapy?

7 Ways to Use Mindfulness As A Therapist

To paint a clearer picture as to how you can incorporate mindfulness into your work as a therapist, consider the following suggestions. These seven ways to use mindfulness as a therapist explore both formal and informal practices. If you are interested in offering mindfulness based therapy, these suggestions can help with the ‘how’.

Practice mindful listening.

Regardless of what type of mindful therapy we practice, we must remain open, receptive, and attentive to our clients. Mindful listening is at the heart of this. When we listen to clients mindfully, they are more likely to feel seen and heard. To listen mindfully, practice the following:

  • Listen to understand rather than to respond
  • Mind your judgments and any impulse to ‘fix’ things
  • Tune in from a place of inner silence and receptivity
  • Ask thoughtful, compassionate questions to learn more

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”

Explore mindfulness of emotions.

As a therapist, you can also help your client to enhance mindfulness of their emotions. While in one sense they might be very aware of what they are feeling, are they able to tend to their emotions with open awareness and curiosity?Another important component of mindfulness is non-judgment.

As a therapist, it is important to harness non-judgment for the human before us – and, we can encourage them to cultivate non-judgment as well. This can be done by inviting them to notice any judgments they are making about their experience. For example, are they judging anger or anxiety to be good or bad? Noting judgment can increase self-awareness.

Consider using the RAIN acronym to help your clients work with difficult emotions. RAIN is an invitation to: recognize, allow, investigate, and nourish.

Practice and encourage non-judgment.

Another important component of mindfulness is non-judgment. As a therapist, it is important to harness non-judgment for the human before us – and, we can encourage them to cultivate non-judgment as well. This can be done by inviting them to notice any judgments they are making about their experience. For example, are they judging anger or anxiety to be good or bad? Noting judgment can increase self-awareness.

Download the Script: Noting Your Judgments

Encourage the cultivation of self-compassion.

You can also invite your clients to explore self-compassion, which goes hand-in-hand with mindfulness. Self-compassion is crucial for healing and can be explored both formally and informally. It is centered around offering oneself care and kindness.

Download the Script: A Break for Self-Compassion

“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.

Offer your clients basic mindfulness techniques for wellbeing that they can take home.

When sharing mindfulness with clients, it is helpful to offer simple tools that will be easy for them to practice and remember after the session. Mindful breathing, for instance, is a simple technique that can help to calm the mind and ease the body during periods of stress.

Download the Script: Three Mindful Breaths

Enhance awareness of the mind-body connection.

Furthermore, mindfulness can support us to become more present in our physical body and to find a deeper sense of connection between mind and body. Depending upon what your client is experiencing, body awareness practices might be beneficial. This type of mindfulness technique can help us relate to ourselves and our emotions in new ways.

Support your clients in making the shift from ‘doing’ or ‘fixing’ to ‘being’.

Lastly, you can support your clients with mindfulness by helping them to be where they are. Therapy can often come from a place of wanting to fix things, which is understandable in the midst of suffering. However, even if just for a few short breaths, is it possible to help our clients be right here, right now? All it takes is one moment.

7 Ways to Use Mindfulness As A Therapist

Do I Need to Be Certified to Teach Mindfulness Meditation?

As a therapist, it is not required to be certified in order to weave mindfulness principles into your teachings. In fact, many therapists do so naturally. However, if you want to offer a specific mindfulness-based therapeutic technique (such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy), you would indeed need to be certified to do so.

You can also become certified to teach mindfulness meditation, adding another credential to your list of certifications. Certifying as a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher enhances credibility along with your understanding of how to share mindfulness both safely and effectively.

Explore 9 Mindfulness Scripts for Therapists

Tips for Using Mindfulness Exercises in Therapy

When sharing mindfulness in your therapeutic practice, it can be helpful to keep a few things in mind. Consider the following:

Mindfulness should be taken in baby steps.

Though mindfulness is helpful and healing for many, it is not usually helpful to dive straight into the deep end. In fact, this can be harmful for many people. If your client is new to mindfulness, start with the basics. Consider sharing a simple breathing exercise to begin with.

Use mindfulness scripts for therapists for extra support

If you are new to teaching mindfulness, consider the use of a mindfulness script that addresses your client’s needs. Scripts can enhance your confidence in teaching mindfulness meditation while supporting your client to pay closer, more loving attention to their experience.

If you are new to teaching mindfulness, consider the use of a mindfulness script that addresses your client’s needs. Scripts can enhance your confidence in teaching mindfulness meditation while supporting your client to pay closer, more loving attention to their experience.

Instantly Download: 200 Guided Meditation Scripts

Be mindful when trauma is present for a client.

Finally, it is crucial to remember that mindfulness can cause re-traumatization in some cases. For this reason, it is important to have an understanding of trauma-sensitive mindfulness principles and to know what to do if signs of trauma are showing up for your client.

As you introduce mindfulness to your clients, exhibit care, curiosity, and compassion. Though it might seem simple, paying non-judgmental attention to one’s experience is not always an easy task. Start small, allowing your client’s presence practice to blossom overtime.

Tips for Using Mindfulness Exercises in Therapy

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