On my blog wellbeinghypnotherapy.org five years ago today (11th August 2014) and (11th April 2016) over 3 years ago I wrote about the Mindfulness Fast-track and Bandwagon how mindfulness was becoming super popular with more people becoming mindful therapists for financial gain as you can do group-work. How you can pay as little as £49 for an Online Mindfulness Diploma Course which enables you to call yourself a mindful therapist and run courses, classes and see therapy clients on a one-to-one basis fills me with dread.
Five years have gone by and mindfulness is ever more popular with mindfulness courses and therapists everywhere and many therapists adding mindfulness to their toolbox as it is commercially beneficial and attracts new clients.
So what is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness has been practiced by Buddhists for over two thousand years as part of Buddhism teaching. Being mindful means being consciously aware, deliberately concentrating and focusing on the here and now, the present moment completely. You use your body and its senses (what you can see, feel, hear, smell and taste) your thoughts and feelings to focus on the present moment. Distracting your mind from thinking about the past or your possible futures.
Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction MBSR was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn for people with chronic pain, stress and anxiety. He designed the group programme using mindfulness meditation and yoga but removing all of the Buddhism from it.
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression MBCT was developed from Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale. It uses mindfulness meditations and yoga and is a group or one-to-one programme where Buddism has been removed. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression has been approved by NICE National Institute for Health and Care Excellence since 2004.
Other therapies fall under the Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapies umbrella including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT and Traumatic Incident Reduction TIR.
So what are my concerns?
Mindfulness is self-regulated which means you can read a book, watch a YouTube video or do a 5 hour course and call yourself a Mindfulness therapist. This means there are unqualified, poorly trained and unscrupulous therapists out there.
Mindfulness can trigger episodes of anxiety, depression and other mental-health issues if done poorly, incorrectly or in a unsupported way. I see courses and retreats advertised for hundreds, thousands of pounds that anyone can go on. Mindfulness comes from Buddhism so many people try Buddhist mindfulness for anxiety and depression which is not a therapy specifically developed for it.
How do you choose a good Mindful Therapist?
1) Ask where and how long they studied for? What qualifications and how many years of experience do they have? Do you want to see a therapist with 5 hours or days of training and 6 months of experience?
2) Are they qualified in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction or Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression? Many therapists only train and qualify in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction so can’t help you with your depression efficiently. Or if you have stress and anxiety a Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapist can’t help you as much as a Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Therapist. Nor will your local Buddhist centre or badly qualified Mindfulness therapist help you as much as a properly trained fulltime Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Adrian Sonnex, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapist