I’m a big fan of using mindfulness as a supplement to psychotherapy. It weaves effortlessly into the natural process of therapy turning insights into lasting changes. Mindfulness is a skill set and a new orientation to being with ourselves and the world around us. It’s useful for most concerns that people bring into therapy. Mindfulness offers us a new way to be with life’s struggles, a path to living more open-heartedly and a way to create real change.
Change requires a practice. Clients can learn to use the present moment to create new ways of being. There is opportunity in every day micro moments to experiment with new behaviors, thoughts or feelings. Mindfulness breaks us out of auto-mated reactions so that we can feel or become what we want.
A great example of the benefits of mindfulness is improving our social skills or social anxiety. Many of our client’s report feeling lonely, disconnected and unworthy—and they hardly want to reach out in that state. Therapy is excellent for helping people to see their defense mechanisms that block connection and a good therapist would highlight those defenses as they happen in session.
Mindfulness slows us down and tunes us into our immediate experience so we can see our obstacles to connection more clearly; the moment your mind goes blank at a dinner party, the moment your heart races as you approach someone you’re attracted to, the way your body closes in or your mind becomes dismissive of others. Therapy can create a clear diagram of how you relate and how you became that way and mindfulness helps to disrupt the old pattern with a new way of thinking and feeling. The therapy room gives us a safe place to rehearse this new way of feeling and thinking.
We can learn to hone in on the moment we would normally shut down and instead learn to keep our nervous system regulated and to choose to reach out and stay open.
Mindfulness is also great with sexual anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks and addiction.
Dr. Engler's Articles on the Huffington Post:
Should You Get Pre-marital Counseling?
Women's Health Magazine interviews Dr. Engler on the factors to consider.
Why Moving in Together Kills Your Sex Life, and What to Do About It.
Men's Health Magazine interviews Dr. Engler about how to improve your sex life, and reviews her book, "The Men on My Couch."
11 Things That Actually Surprised This Sex Therapist.
BuzzFeed reviews Dr. Engler's new book, "The Women on My Couch."