Victoria BC Therapy Blog

Mindfulness in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Why are so many current psychological approaches and practices focused on mindfulness?  Why would one want to become mindful?  The simple answer is that practicing being mindful leads to awareness of and freedom from mental conditioning.

‘Mindfulness’ is the translation of a term from Buddhism (although one definitely does NOT have to be a Buddhist to practice mindfulness).  Essentially, mindfulness means awareness.  It is an awareness of present experience that is sensitive, accepting and independent of any thoughts that may be arising.  It is a way of paying attention to what is happening with kind of a ‘witness’ consciousness, a dual awareness, so to speak.  With awareness we can experience our feelings, thoughts and sensations without becoming caught in them.

Usually we are kind of on automatic pilot.  Our experiences pass by with our reality dominated by an unbroken stream of internal comment.  We go through life in a reactive mode, responding to life from habitual patterns.

And it’s a funny thing about Life… it never seems to turn out the way we plan.  No matter how much we prepare, organize, coordinate and arrange, something often happens to throw a monkey wrench into our plans. Read more…

 

A Poem

Empty handed I entered this world

Barefoot I leave it.

My coming, my going

Two simple happenings that got entangled.

Kozan Ichikyo

died Feb 12 1360

age 77

 

Victoria, BC
October 24, 2012

 

Putting Feelings into Words

A client recently shared with me an experience of pain and trauma that she had kept to herself for two years.  Understandably, there was emotion that came to the surface.  She had not allowed herself to think about the incident, nor cry about it.  She was trying to just “let it go”.

The body does not simply “let go” of traumatic experiences.  There is a process before the letting go that involves some pretty hard work.  A recent study using neuroimaging gives us a clue as to why this might be. Read more…

 

Grieving the Loss of a Pet

For many people it may be difficult to understand how the loss of a beloved pet can trigger a deep grief process.   When we lose a family member or a close friend, our loss is usually met with sympathy and condolences. We are allowed to grieve.  But, talk to a pet owner who has lost an animal companion and you will hear quite a different story.

I know from clients in my therapy practice, as well as from my own personal experience, that many people do not understand the depth of grief at the loss of a pet.

The relationship with pets is multidimensional.  When a pet dies we lose a being that offers unconditional love in an uncomplicated and accepting way that few human relationships achieve. Read more…

 

Why Psychotherapy?

Not long ago, one of my clients softly told me:  “I’m falling in love with myself.”  We sat for a while together, gently holding this knowing as you would hold a baby bird in the palm of your hand.

In those few words, we find the goal of psychotherapy.  We come to psychotherapy so that we can come to love ourselves.

It seems that at the root of virtually all of the issues brought to my office is some form of self-judgement, self-criticism or self-hatred.  In Sanskrit, in an ancient Eastern tradition, it is called the Anava Mala.  It is an impurity that is imprinted in our separation from our authentic self.  As we heal this wound of separation through the journey inward, there truly is more love. Read more…