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08.04.2014
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Identify at least four benefits of the effect of mindfulness meditation on therapists and therapist trainees. Understand the relationship between therapists' mindfulness and psychotherapy outcome based on the research to date.
Mindfulness has enjoyed a tremendous surge in popularity in the past decade, both in the popular press and in the psychotherapy literature. Advocates of mindfulness would have us believe that virtually every client and therapist would benefit from being more mindful.
The term "mindfulness" has been used to refer to a psychological state of awareness, the practices that promote this awareness, a mode of processing information and a character trait. Researchers theorize that mindfulness meditation promotes metacognitive awareness, decreases rumination via disengagement from perseverative cognitive activities and enhances attentional capacities through gains in working memory.
Those findings are consistent with evidence that mindfulness meditation increases positive affect and decreases anxiety and negative affect.
While many studies have been conducted on the benefits of applying mindfulness approaches to psychotherapy clients (for reviews, see Didonna, 2009 and Baer, 2006), research on the effects of mindfulness on psychotherapists is just beginning to emerge.
Similarly, in a study of Chinese college students, those students who were randomly assigned to participate in a mindfulness meditation intervention had lower depression and anxiety, as well as less fatigue, anger and stress-related cortisol compared to a control group (Tang et al., 2007). While research points to the conclusion that mindfulness meditation offers numerous benefits to therapists and trainees, do these benefits translate to psychotherapy treatment outcomes?
Overall, while the psychological and physical health benefits of mindfulness meditation are strongly supported by research, the ways in which therapists' mindfulness meditation practice and therapists' mindfulness translate to measureable outcomes in psychotherapy remain unclear.
Future research holds tremendous potential for learning more about the neurophysiological processes of meditation and the benefits of long-term practice on the brain. In addition, psychologists and others need to explore other ways to increase mindfulness in addition to meditation. Research is also needed on effective and practical means of teaching therapists mindfulness practices. Given the limited research thus far on empathy, compassion, decreased stress and reactivity, more research is needed on how mindfulness meditation practice affects these constructs and measurable counseling skills in both trainees and therapists. Shapiro and Carlson (2009) have suggested that mindfulness meditation can also serve psychologists as a means of self-care to prevent burnout. In conclusion, mindfulness has the potential to facilitate trainee and therapists' development, as well as affect change mechanisms known to contribute to successful psychotherapy.
Mindfulness meditation has been around for literally thousands of years, and there’s a reason for that: it works.
A new study in the journal Health Psychology shows an association between increased mindfulness and decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Anybody who has practiced mindful meditation long enough understands that meditation beats almost all other methods of stress relief, except maybe physical exercise. Sustained meditation can also lead to something called neuroplasticity, which is defined as changes in neural connections and synapses, both structurally and functionally, which are due to changes in behavior and environment. Research by University of Wisconsin, neuroscientist Richard Davidson on Tibetan Buddhist monks has shown that experienced meditators exhibit high levels of gamma wave activity that seem to reflect the impact of meditation on attention and synchrony of high-frequency oscillations that probably play an important role in connectivity among widespread circuitry in the brain. Meditation can come handy by just sitting in a couch. It may not be for an hour since small doses of meditation will also be effective. Research shows that practicing meditation helps in maintaining blood flow, regular bowel movement, reduces anxiety, depression and insomnia, and lessens the severity of acute respiratory illness.
Like a connection with a psychic advisor where you get an insight of love, relationships, psychic readings and the likes. Meditation compliments the social aspect of every individual because meditation is not a solitary activity and it develops the sense of connection to others. It is also the capacity of the person to be motivated to be guided by and to pursue one’s goals. With all of these, knowing how to connect with others enhances your emotional intelligence by being aware of one’s relevance to other people and the relevance of the other people to oneself. When one is socially competent, the person is emotionally intelligent by taking into consideration the situation of oneself and others in relation to the rest of the persons in the world. As stated above, when one is socially competent, the person is emotionally intelligent by taking into consideration the situation of oneself and others in relation to the rest of the persons in the world.
Being compassionate is the feeling or showing of concern for someone who is hurting, sick or poor. Then, if a person is emotionally intelligent and compassionate, the person also builds his social competence.
However, if one practices meditation, one can free his mind from negative feelings because the person can associate with other humans.
Researches showed that people who are openly monitoring their meditation performed better in coming up with new ideas.
When a person meditates, the mind becomes aware of his surroundings and the existence of the universe around him. The consciousness of an individual is prompted to become aware of the natural energies around them and how these energies affect them in return.
Because humans are conscious of them being humans, humans know how to understand each other and to be observant of their environment. But, most importantly, the person becomes compassionate and considerate in dealing with everybody by becoming knowledgeable of one’s attitudes and uniqueness when dealing with each particular situation.
Thus, self-awareness especially about one’s inclination and attitudes help in becoming socially adept in interacting with other people.
So, meditation is a very important activity that each individual must be engaging to because it is not only a way of refreshing and recharging ourselves amidst all anxiety, stress and worries, but it also makes us more sociable and capable of linking from one individual to another. If you have your own opinions, stands or queries, may this be in agreement or not, kindly share to us what you think by writing your comments below. To subscribe to our website and interact with our growing community of users, please enter your e-mail address below.


This feature will provide you with updates on critical developments in psychology, drawn from peer-reviewed literature and written by leading psychology experts. The practice has moved from a largely obscure Buddhist concept founded about 2,600 years ago to a mainstream psychotherapy construct today. Among its theorized benefits are self-control, objectivity, affect tolerance, enhanced flexibility, equanimity, improved concentration and mental clarity, emotional intelligence and the ability to relate to others and one's self with kindness, acceptance and compassion.
This article offers an overview of the research on mindfulness and discusses its implications for practice, research and training. To be consistent with most of the research reviewed in this article, we define mindfulness as a moment-to-moment awareness of one's experience without judgment. In one study, participants randomly assigned to an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction group were compared with controls on self-reported measures of depression, anxiety and psychopathology, and on neural reactivity as measured by fMRI after watching sad films (Farb et al., 2010). Improvements to working memory appear to be another benefit of mindfulness, research finds. Another study examined how mindfulness meditation affected participants' ability to focus attention and suppress distracting information.
Research also supports the notion that mindfulness meditation decreases emotional reactivity. Another line of research suggests that in addition to helping people become less reactive, mindfulness meditation may also give them greater cognitive flexibility.
Several studies find that a person's ability to be mindful can help predict relationship satisfaction — the ability to respond well to relationship stress and the skill in communicating one's emotions to a partner. Mindfulness has been shown to enhance self-insight, morality, intuition and fear modulation, all functions associated with the brain's middle prefrontal lobe area.
Empirical literature demonstrates that including mindfulness interventions in psychotherapy training may help therapists develop skills that make them more effective. Research found that premedical and medical students reported less anxiety and depressive symptoms after participating in an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction training compared with a waiting list control group (Shapiro et al., 1998).
Using qualitative and quantitative measures, nursing students reported better quality of life and a significant decrease in negative psychological symptoms following exposure to mindfulness-based stress reduction training (Bruce, Young, Turner, Vander Wal, & Linden, 2002). To date, only one study has investigated the relationship between mindfulness and counseling self-efficacy. In a study conducted in Germany, randomly assigned counselor trainees who practiced Zen meditation for nine weeks reported higher self-awareness compared with nonmeditating counselor trainees (Grepmair et al., 2007). Other research suggests that no relationship exists between therapist mindfulness and therapy outcome (Stratton, 2006). It could be that "more mindful" people are likely to score lower on self-reports of mindfulness because they are more accurately able to describe their "mindlessness." Conversely, people who are less mindful may not realize it and therefore may be inclined to rate themselves higher on such measures. Future research is needed to examine the relations between therapists' mindfulness, therapists' regular mindfulness meditation practice and common factors known to contribute to successful treatment outcomes. Research on neuroplasticity may help explain the relationships among length and quality of meditation practice, developmental stages of meditators and psychotherapy outcomes. Given that current research does not indicate that therapists' self-reported mindfulness enhances client outcomes, better measures of mindfulness may need to be developed or different research designs that do not rely on self-report measures need to be used. Future research could investigate ways mindfulness practices and mindfulness meditation could be integrated into trainees' practicum and clinical supervision.
For example, how does mindfulness meditation practice affect empathy and compassion for midcareer or late-career therapists who are experienced at mindfulness? Future research is needed on not only how the practice of mindfulness meditation helps facilitate trainee development and psychotherapy processes, but also how it can help therapists prevent burnout and other detrimental outcomes of work-related stress. The field of psychology could benefit from future research examining cause and effect relationships in addition to mediational models in order to better understand the benefits of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation practice. Davis, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in Brookline, Mass. Hayes, PhD, is a professor of counseling psychology at the Pennsylvania State University department of educational psychology, counseling and special education. A Practice Review of Psychotherapy-Related Research," from the APA journal Psychotherapy (Vol. Taking out just 10 minutes of your day to meditate can significantly improve many aspects of your life.
The meditation group was instructed to meditate before and after studying, and before exams. Mindfulness mediation makes it easier for us to judge ourselves in an objective manner (Carlson, 2013).
They found that long-time meditators showed higher levels of gyrification (a folding of the cerebral cortex that may be associated with faster information processing). In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page.
Another study conducted by Wake Forest Baptist University found that meditation could reduce pain intensity by 40% and pain unpleasantness by 57%, compared to morphine which only shows pain reduction of 25%. This is because being present with that which stresses us out turns the tables on the push-pull power dynamic between our daily troubles and our ability to withstand them. It turns out that our brains are being molded in profoundly beneficial ways by daily meditation practices.
Building connection to others is a human tendency that sometimes we neglect due to the rise of technology. Enhancing the social factor of a person, the emotional intelligence of a person is also increased.
A person who is emotionally intelligent knows how to work independently follows a systematic ethical value system and strives for self-actualization. Compassion is the sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. The researchers found that the participants who experienced mindfulness-based stress reduction had significantly less anxiety, depression and somatic distress compared with the control group.
A 2010 study by Jha et al., for example, documented the benefits of mindfulness meditation among a military group who participated in an eight-week mindfulness training, a nonmeditating military group and a group of nonmeditating civilians.


The researchers compared a group of experienced mindfulness meditators with a control group that had no meditation experience. In a study of people who had anywhere from one month to 29 years of mindfulness meditation practice, researchers found that mindfulness meditation practice helped people disengage from emotionally upsetting pictures and enabled them to focus better on a cognitive task as compared with people who saw the pictures but did not meditate (Ortner et al., 2007).
One study found that people who practice mindfulness meditation appear to develop the skill of self-observation, which neurologically disengages the automatic pathways that were created by prior learning and enables present-moment input to be integrated in a new way (Siegel, 2007a). One study, for example, looked at premedical and medical students who participated in an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction training.
The control group evidenced similar gains after exposure to mindfulness-based stress reduction training. Evidence from a study of counselor trainees exposed to interpersonal mindfulness training suggests that such interventions can foster emotional intelligence and social connectedness, and reduce stress and anxiety (Cohen & Miller, 2009). Another study assessed changes in symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder among New Orleans mental health workers following an eight-week meditation intervention that began 10 weeks after Hurricane Katrina.
Greason and Cashwell (2009) found that counseling self-efficacy was significantly predicted by self-reported mindfulness among masters-level interns and doctoral counseling students. But more important, after nine weeks of treatment, clients of trainees who meditated displayed greater reductions in overall symptoms, faster rates of change, scored higher on measures of well-being and perceived their treatment to be more effective than clients of nonmeditating trainees.
More research is needed to better understand how the benefits of meditation practice accumulate over time. Garland and Gaylord (2009) have proposed that the next generation of mindfulness research encompass four domains: 1.
Significantly higher grades were found in the experimental group than in the control group. As such, it lowers anxiety and depression by helping us feel, more than think, about that which conflicts us psychologically. In 2008 a team of researchers from UCLA compared the brains of long-term meditators with those of control subjects. While it might be promoted by certain practices or activities, such as meditation, it is not equivalent to or synonymous with them.
In addition, the fMRI data indicated that the mindfulness group had less neural reactivity when they were exposed to the films than the control group, and they displayed distinctly different neural responses while watching the films than they did before their mindfulness training.
They found that the meditation group had significantly better performance on all measures of attention and had higher self-reported mindfulness. It found that the mindfulness group had significantly higher self-reported empathy than a control group (Shapiro, Schwartz, & Bonner, 1998). Counselors in training who have participated in similar mindfulness-based interventions have reported significant increases in self-awareness, insights about their professional identity (Birnbaum, 2008) and overall wellness (Rybak & Russell-Chapin, 1998).
Similarly, following such training, therapist trainees have reported decreased stress, rumination and negative affect (Shapiro et al., 2007). Although changes in depression symptoms were not found, PTSD and anxiety symptoms significantly decreased after the intervention (Waelde et al., 2008). In that study, attention mediated the relationship between mindfulness and self-efficacy, suggesting that mindfulness may contribute to the development of beneficial attentional processes that aid psychotherapists in training (Greason & Cashwell, 2009). Contrary to expectation, therapist mindfulness was inversely correlated with client outcome. Future research questions could include: Does therapists' practice of mindfulness meditation in clinical supervision with their supervisees affect the supervisory alliance or relational skills of supervisees? In the brains of the meditators, they found larger volumes of gray matter in the right orbito-frontal cortex and the right hippocampus, regions thought to be implicated in emotion and response control. After the retreat, the meditation group had significantly higher self-reported mindfulness and a decreased negative affect compared with a control group.
The researchers concluded that mindfulness-based therapy may be useful in altering affective and cognitive processes that underlie multiple clinical issues. The researchers found that the nonmeditating military group had decreased working memory capacity over time, whereas working memory capacity among nonmeditating civilians was stable across time. Mindfulness meditation practice and self-reported mindfulness were correlated directly with cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning (Moore and Malinowski, 2009). In 2006, a qualitative study of therapists who were experienced meditators found that they believed that mindfulness meditation helped develop empathy toward clients (Aiken, 2006). Self-compassion fully mediated the relationship between perspective taking and mindfulness. In addition, when compared with a control group, mindfulness-based stress reduction training has been shown to decrease total mood disturbance, including stress, anxiety and fatigue in medical students (Rosenzweig, Reibel, Greeson, Brainard, & Hojat, 2003).
The findings suggest that meditation may serve a buffering role for mental health workers in the wake of a disaster.
Other potential benefits of mindfulness include increased patience, intentionality, gratitude and body awareness (Rothaupt & Morgan, 2007).
Does practicing formal mindfulness meditation as a group in practicum or internship aid in group cohesion, self-care, relational skills or measurable common factors that contribute to successful psychotherapy? People as diverse as David Lynch and the Dalai Lama have praised the benefits of mindful meditation, asserting that it can increase attention, combat stress, boost overall health, and even foster compassion. Within the meditating military group, however, working memory capacity increased with meditation practice. Along similar lines, Wang (2007) found that therapists who were experienced mindfulness meditators scored higher on measures of self-reported empathy than therapists who did not meditate. In addition, the meditators had significantly better working memory capacity and were better able to sustain attention during a performance task compared with the control group. In addition, meditation practice was directly related to self-reported positive affect and inversely related to self-reported negative affect. Research along these lines is likely to enhance our understanding of mindfulness and its potential benefits to psychotherapy.



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