Title

Mindfulness in Traditional Psychotherapy: A Qualitative Study

Department

Social Work

Date of Paper/Work

2014

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper

Advisors

Kendra Garrett

Abstract

Empirically tested research suggests the effectiveness and applicability of mindfulness interventions in psychotherapy to treat or provide supplemental treatment to a variety of mental health disorders, to improve the therapeutic alliance, and to promote self-care and use of self in clinicians. Despite the successes of mindfulness in the mental health community, only a select culture of clinicians utilize mindfulness techniques in their practice. In order to explore how mindfulness can impact the therapeutic process, a qualitative study was conducted. Seven clinicians who currently practice mindfulness and who utilize mindfulness-based and mindfulness-informed interventions in clinical practice were interviewed. The interviews explored the use of mindfulness in psychotherapy in four sub-topics: 1. How mindfulness can impact the clinician in terms of self-care and perceived therapeutic ability; 2. How mindfulness education/techniques can impact the client; 3. How relational mindfulness can affect the therapeutic relationship between clinician and client; and 4. The challenges and implications of using mindfulness in a therapeutic setting. Using grounded-theory to analyze the data, seven major themes were suggested in the findings. The themes consisted of the following: selfcare; affect regulation in the clinician and the client; populations with sub themes of anxiety, trauma, and psychosis; client and clinician relationship/connection; language; access; and culture. The findings imply that mindfulness is beneficial for clinician selfcare and as an intervention for a variety of mental health populations by allowing for greater affect regulation. The findings also imply that mindfulness can positively impact the therapeutic relationship by allowing the therapist to remain grounded, present, and authentic in interactions with clients. However, the findings identified that language and cultural aspects may create barriers to the effectiveness of mindfulness. Despite the identified themes, the limited sample size did not allow for generalization of the findings. Further research should be directed towards the understanding of how mindfulness can impact the clinician, client, and therapeutic relationship in clinical education and practice.

Keywords

mindfulness, psychotherapy, qualitative research

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.