Introduction

Jon Kabat-Zinn first employed Mindfulness-based treatment in offering psychological services to clients at the Center of Medical services in Massachusetts at around 1978. The new model was viewed as the most effective in helping those suffering from chronic pain since it was thought to reduce suffering among those who had lost their beloved ones. The first attempt was successful, forcing other counselors to think about using it in their therapies in treating other conditions, such as despair, disquiet, borderline personality, cancer, eating problems, and sexual dysfunction, including erectile malfunction (Zamore, Leutenberg, & Brodsky, 2008).

Therapies that make use of mindfulness have received support because of their efficiency since they facilitate acceptance of the situation and commitment to change the attitude. Debilitating disorders are known to disrupt the normal functioning of individuals in modern society, but mindfulness therapies seem to offer a lasting solution to the condition. In the United States, the practice is accepted generally, and many public schools recommend its usage in consoling students suffering from grief having lost their parents or close relatives. Mindfulness originated from Buddhism even though it is gaining relevance in many modern religions, Christianity being one of them. In academics, several psychologists recommend its application in helping the sorrowful members of society, but scholars are still confused as regards the nature and the practice of mindfulness as a therapeutic model.

Mindful is defined as the principles of the brain, recognition, and tolerant objectivity, implying an individual has to understand the problem, accept it as normal, and keep off from coming up with empty judgments. In this paper, mindfulness therapy is employed, whereby its usage in psychology is observed with an attempt to develop a model that would help a client suffering from grief.

Application of Mindfulness-Based Therapy in Healing Grief

In psychology, Buddhism claim that self is a delusion is disapproved because the word has several meanings and cannot be tired of personal illusions. In this regard, psychologists interested in utilizing the therapy use the words wise mind and I, with an attempt to understanding the sensory experiences. Unlike Buddhist assumptions, psychological models employing the therapy attempt to coagulate and build up a sense of self whereby an individual is encouraged to think of the ways through which self-actualization would be realized instead of focusing on the past or the future. In other words, the emphasis is always on the present events, which implies the self should not be seen as permanent. Such therapies view the self as a foundation in which every decision is built.

Even though the psychological application of mindfulness is different, it aims at realizing specific goals just like in Buddhism since the major objective is to keep the individual consciousness present while appreciating the fact that some things are beyond the control of the individual. In this case, an impartial attitude towards internal experiences is encouraged whereby the client is advised to accept the things the way they are and focus on what really matters in his or her life. Mindfulness in psychology is different since it was removed from its religious context, implying that it could be employed effectively in helping the client suffering from grief (Symington & Symington, 2012).

Mindfulness offers an alternative method of responding to anxiety and expressive suffering. The therapy based on mindfulness encourages individuals to share out their experiences, augmenting individual thoughts and feelings, and enhancing an acceptable approach towards a psychological problem, such as grief. Through this process, the chances are high that a client would be freed from a distressing issue. The aim of mindfulness therapies, therefore, is to alter the impact of the stressor and respond to individual thoughts and feelings.

The client is likely to disengage from unhealthy behavior patterns meaning he or she would embrace adaptive strategies that would play a critical role in coping with the situation hence enhancing the wellbeing of an individual. In the therapeutic field, mindfulness has had a great influence since it is often utilized effectively in helping those with pain. Several therapies are either informed by the principle of mindfulness or are based on its tenets. Those informed by mindfulness are known to borrow from Buddhist principles and western psychology meaning clients are not fully taught to embrace the practices. Therapies based on mindfulness involve teaching clients mindfulness skills, meaning the principles of Buddhism are fully introduced to those suffering from grief. In this case, a client is encouraged to enroll in mindfulness classes with the aim of training him or her through dialectical behavior therapy.

Again, mindfulness could be also be used in resolving the issues facing the client through instruction and practice, with an aim of reducing stress (Zamore, Leutenberg, & Brodsky, 2008). The last category of mindfulness is usually employed quite often since it focuses on formal meditation.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction is usually offered as a group program having been developed initially to treat chronic pain and other stress related problems. For the client suffering from grief, an eight-week course will have to be developed and the number of clients should be at least thirty for effective results to be achieved. The therapist will be meeting the clients after every week for approximated two-hours whereby specific instructions would be issued regarding major skills in life, such as coping strategies. Each group member would then be required to exercise the skills personally while the therapist records the progress for at least fifty minutes each day on weekly basis.

The practices undertaken under the therapy would be categorized into two, one being the prescribed practice whereby three different exercises would be carried out one being the body examination, which means a steady movement of concentration/attentiveness through the body from the toes up to the skull and is conducted while the client is lying down. The second exercise entails a sitting reflection meaning channeling concentration to the vibrations of inhalation while sitting. The final exercise under the official or formal practice is watchful movements whereby mild extensions and bearings are conducted to develop mindfulness when moving (Matthews & Marwit, 2004).

The second practice of mindfulness that would help the client recover from grief is informal practice meaning conducting several daily activities, including walking, standing, and eating with the objective of refining a stability of wakefulness in all activities. Psychologists refer this exercise as the heart of the practice in offering mindfulness therapy in the sense that it helps the client to release tension. Unfortunately, this exercise is not easy to master as it calls on the client to work hard while the therapist is to offer the necessary support of formal practice. If applied successfully, the informal practice has the potential of stabilizing the mind hence facilitating the healing process.

Kabat-Zinn is believed to have developed the mindfulness therapy. He suggested that breathing is the most important exercise towards recovery from a stressful event, such as grief since it is an integral part of all other practices. Again, a client is likely to embrace the rest of the exercises if he or she employs breathing tactic successfully. In this regard, the client is would be encouraged to be mindful of his or her breath the entire day in case the recovery from grief is to be achieved. Therefore, breathing skill is critical in the application of mindfulness therapy as it raises the meditative awareness paving way for effective healing.

The therapist would be expected to introduce the client suffering from grief to other activities in the course of the eight weeks with much attention being placed on meditation, especially sitting reflection. After the introductory skills, the therapist will then shift the focus to the examination of the entire body, the sounds, opinions, and client’s way of thinking. The response of the client will determine the next course of action since others would choose not to discuss their feelings and thoughts as regards the stressful event. If the client is unresponsive, choice less awareness would be employed as the way forward meaning no action is taken and the therapist will simply be focused on anything that arises. It is noted that mindfulness therapies insist on learning and practicing certain principles as suggested in the Buddhist ideals.

However, mindfulness is not equated to the applied techniques since the therapist is expected to deal with the situation as presented. The ideas of Buddhism are to be reinterpreted to suit the situation meaning they are compared to the meal not the menu or the map and not the territory. The practices are subject to changes since they should not be followed strictly having defined the word practice as a way of being or seeing suggesting that the methods and techniques have to be implemented in the best ways possible. It is noted that in case the client is taking too much time to change his or her attitude, the timetable of the learning process would be adjusted since the aim is help the client to heal instead of simply offering instructions without taking into considerations the needs of the grieving individual. Kabat-Zinn observed awareness, approaches, and even reflective experience of immobility and happiness do come. However, it would be erroneous to suggest the objective of practice is to make these incidents happen. The spirit of mindfulness is to realize its own interests meaning it is an end and not a means (Kabat-Zinn 1993, 267).

Kabat-Zinn (2003) distinguished mindfulness training as a therapeutic model from other forms of health interventions. One of the major differences the intention since stress and anxiety reduction are better dealt with by abandoning certain goals thereby encouraging clients to focus on the present needs. Clients that lose their relatives or close friends are usually worried about their future since the deceased could have been playing an important role in their lives in one way or the other. For instance, a husband would not be ready to enter into another relationship after the death of his wife because of certain things that the wife used to do. Similarly, the father might have been the sole breadwinner in the family and his death would bring a lot of tension given the fact that each member would have to deal with the financial situation separately. Mindfulness instructs the grieving individuals to concentrate o what is going on currently as it insists on the no-attachment to the outcome principle.

Studies indicate that mindfulness based cognitive therapy is the latest model that started at around 1990 when Segal Williams and Teasdale developed a treatment model to help individuals suffering from relapse depression. Their model could be borrowed in offering help to an individual suffering from grieving. It is noted in their study that an individual experiencing a major depression, such as grief is highly vulnerable to recurrences especially when mild dysphoric conditions are experienced. Grieving conditions are always unpleasant meaning they are likely to generate ruminative thinking whereby an individual would only be focusing on the contents of negative thinking, bad memoirs, and negative beliefs. If these happen, chances are high that an individual would be critical of him or herself leading to negative judgment of the self.

Mindfulness therapies are effective in providing alternative information processing configurations, which are commonly referred to as cognitive modes that play an important role preventing the negative ruminations. In other words, mindfulness therapies generate a cognitive mode that offers a meta-cognitive insight that has an ability to experience thoughts as ordinary events in the mind instead of focusing on their contents. Therefore, the aim of mindfulness therapy would be to teach the grieving client to be cautious of his or her thoughts and feelings in order not to be judgmental (Gilpin, 2008). In fact, he or she would be expected to keep distance from of the thoughts, as this would entail viewing them in a less personal way.

In this case, the feelings should be viewed as any other ordinary cognitive process that does not represent reality. In the event that a relapse occurs, the client would be skilful to prevent ruminative escalation. A client is encouraged to master the various skills under the mindfulness therapy, as they would play a role in resolving the major problems that interfere with his or her normal functioning in the wider society.

Conclusion

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is effective in helping individuals suffering from grief. It entails developing an eight-week intervention program, but at least forty individuals must be willing to participate. The model has two major practices that must be observed in case the desired results are to be achieved. Kabat-Zinn was the first psychologist to make effective use of this therapy in treating depression and other forms of stress. The model borrows heavily from the Buddhist principles on mindfulness, but a number of psychological practices are incorporated to make it scholarly.

For instance, it gives instructions on how a depressive relapse could be dealt with meaning it makes use of psychological processes. Before offering therapy on depression, the model gives specific information, such as the features of the problem and its signs. The idea of breathing space is emphasized, which is viewed as a way of offering a generalization on formal practices. Just like other psychological models of diagnosing and treating problems, the model discourages individuals from focusing too much on the future. Psychologists underscore the fact the self-actualization is achieved through focusing on the present. Bernard

References

Gilpin, R. (2008). The use of Theravada Buddhist practices and perspectives in mindful-based cognitive therapy. Contemporary Buddhism, 9(2), 1476-1556. Web.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2): 144–55. Web.

Matthews, L., & Marwit, S.J. (2004). Complicated grief and the trend toward cognitive-behavioral therapy. Death Studies, 28(2), 849-863. Web.

Symington, S., & Symington, M. (2012). A Christian model of mindfulness: using mindfulness principles to support psychological wellbeing, value based behavior, and the Christian spiritual journey. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 31(1), 71-77. Web.

Zamore, F., Leutenberg, E. A., & Brodsky, A. L. (2008). Griefwork: Healing from loss : reproducible, interactive, and educational handouts. Duluth: Whole Person Associates. Web.

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