February 6, 2009

Mindfulness and Social Work

Many years ago, I attended weekend retreats that were based around Buddhist teachings, but more importantly, meditation. In those retreats, the majority of the meditation was the kind where you simply sit there and come back to the breath if you stray. I remember when I would leave those groups, my senses would be sharpened and I would feel very peaceful.

Imagine my surprise when, a couple years ago, I did Dialectical Behavior Therapy training and meditation was a part of it! Of course, it was called mindfulness, but it was the same, and very familiar. Working with highly anxious children back then, I was able to utilize many of the techniques that I knew, as well as some of the ones that I was taught.

Now, working with adults, mindfulness is popping up more and more, which is a wonderful sign. I think in today consumerist world, our eye is always on the future. We are filled with wants and desires that we do not need, but that consume our time and money. As well, so much of our emotions are wrapped up in this future orientation. By using mindfulness, we are able to come back to the present and just be in the moment.

In my practicum, I will be working with some groups, and in at least one of them, we will be using mindfulness. I will be picking some appropriate activities that fit in with the days teachings. This is very exciting to me, because not only do I have knowledge of this area, I also know how much mindfulness can help the people that use it.


cb said...

It sounds very positive - will look forward to hearing about how you get on!

Anonymous said...

I had to attend a DBT group for my daughter. I loved it and have used the skills in my life and with my clients. Meditation was always so hard for me, I could not get my mind to stay on my mantra. This group helped so much. I'm hearing more and more about being mindful and DBT skills being taught more often and I think it is a very good thing.

Anonymous said...

I believe that mindfulness and meditation are excellent practices to teach social workers, because they help us to be centred and in touch with our own selves. Too often we're so busy doing that we lose sight of being. I don't think that's good for the people we work with.

antiSWer said...

@ Cheryl: When I did the training, there was a lot of participatory mindfulness techniques. I'm hoping to let people see that mindfulness isn't just sitting there in the lotus position focusing on a candle. :)

@ Sylvia: It's definitely not good for the people we work with. Too many times I see someone off in space, only really looking for symptoms...rather than being with the person. It sucks.

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