Title

Generating Therapeutic Attunement Through Mindfulness Practice

Department

Social Work

Date of Paper/Work

2016

Degree Name

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

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper

Advisors

Mari Ann Graham

Abstract

Therapeutic attunement refers to the non-linear process in which therapists track the moment-to-moment changes in the somatic, emotional and energetic rhythms of the client, themselves and the intersubjective relationship that exists between them. Literature on this topic suggests that therapeutic attunement is imperative for creating empathic alliances that foster reparative neural growth and result in positive treatment outcomes. This study uses Scholarly Personal Narrative and single system design to explore the impact that integrating forty minutes of mindfulness meditation into my daily routine had on my ability to cultivate therapeutic attunement in my work with clients. Over the course of the six-week intervention period, I wrote daily reflections on my experience meditating. In addition, I completed the Therapeutic Presence Inventory-Therapist (TPI-T) measure and reflected on my experience of therapeutic attunement immediately following each session with a client. In analyzing the data, I found increases in three of the four subscales of the TPI-T as well as correlations between my ability to attune and particular clients. Furthermore, I discovered four internal states of being that impacted my ability to be present during meditation and when working with clients. Findings from this study suggest that practicing mindfulness meditation may help new clinicians build tools for emotional regulation and enhance their ability to maintain a curious and empathic therapeutic stance in their practice. In addition, this study points to the value of meditation and written reflection as a means of developing the self-awareness necessary to identify and shift habitual cognitive, emotional and relational ways of being that inhibit one's ability to attune to clients and supervisees.

Keywords

attunement, mindfulness, therapeutic presence

Creative Commons License

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