Embodied mindful pause: A mindfulness exercise in psychotherapy
While psychotherapy is often described as ‘the talking cure’, the kind of talking we do in therapy is very different from the mindless chatter that characterizes many of our interactions in daily life. The therapy moment is a special place, an opportunity for mindful observation, in the simplest possible sense of ‘mindful’ - - the opposite of ‘mindless’. So it is no wonder that psychotherapists have been paying a lot of attention to ways to increase this kind of mindfulness in sessions.
A simple way to do it is with a Mindful Grip. It takes just one minute to literally get a get in touch with your inner experience, using a little ball. It could be a tennis ball, or, even better, one of these squeezable little stress balls (easy to find on the internet, search for squeeze balls or stress balls).
Essentially, this is a tool for the exploration of mindfulness and embodied experience in therapy. It helps clients practice a mindful shift from ‘being in their heads’ (i.e. processing information mostly through their intellect) to availing themselves of the resources of their whole being (including embodied awareness).
Instead of telling people to ‘not be in their heads’, it is much more effective to help them find a different focus. I generally do this by giving clients a small rubber stress ball, in order to provide a quick and easy way to help clients shift from mostly relying on mental processing to availing themselves of embodied awareness as well.
This website features a 25-minute video about using Embodied Mindful Pause in therapy. For ease of use, the Video is divided into several short clips, each of which has a transcript. See video. See also article on Embodied Object Relations.
See also: Demystifying Mindfulness: Active Pause®
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