Reply To: Week 2 Homework Assignment (Mindfulness in Behavioral Health)

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Sarah Ferriss

1. I enjoyed the body scan meditation and took time in the middle of my work day to lie down which in itself took some effort as I have such a hard time giving myself permission to stop “doing” in general. I was initially overcome with just the sensation of my back against the floor. I chose to not listen to the audio and instead with my eyes closed started with the top of my head and worked my way down my body purposefully breathing and noticing my body and noticed tension that seemed stuck for lack of a better word in my neck and shoulders. I was able to just notice and let go and move on to other areas of my body. I have been anxious about how sedentary I have been during the pandemic and that it is too easy to just ignore my mind/body connection. I revisited my neck and shoulders after 10 minutes and spent time breathing through the sensations and did my best to just notice the feelings as opposed to diagnosing them or worrying about what is wrong. This meditation was effective for me and I noticed that when I returned to back to my clients I felt more present.

2. I really loved the DBT meditation exercise and it felt very different than the body scan meditation and honestly I think what I like about this is that it seems so accessible at any given time for myself and clients as well. I chose to focus on a small blue soap stone heart I keep on my desk. I don’t have a strong emotional attachment to it but it reminds me of love and caring. It was my first experience focusing in with my sight and taking in every aspect of this little stone and then to pick it up and feel the cool and smooth surface I found the transition from sight to feeling the stone very grounding. I noticed my entire body relax and noticed that my breathing became less shallow. I found this exercise nice in that I was able to sustain my focus without too much cognitive effort which is appealing me. My mind did not wander much in this exercise (which did happen with the body scan) I am not sure why that is but I seemed able to focus. This exercise was very effective for me how I evaluated this was how I noticed that my breathing became deeper and I felt overall a reduction in stress which I had been feeling over the course of the week.

3. In regards to how I envision bringing the body scan into clinical practice I think this could be especially useful for many of my clients. I have never done a lying down meditation with a client but I could imagine depending on the clients sense of safety this would be very helpful. I do a lot of work with eating disorders and have clients who are very disconnected from their bodies and are speak harshly to themselves and their bodies continuously. I think this exercise might be useful to help my clients cultivate self compassion and tenderness towards their bodies.

In regards to the single object mediation I couldn’t help but think of one client this week who during our session was having intense shame about his substance use disorder. In our session he was struggling to breathe and talk about what was going on for him. After this meditation I think this is something I may bring to our next session as I think it might help calm the shame voices in his head. With other clients as well I think this is very useful! I am currently doing all my clinical work on ZOOM and this particular exercise would be very easy to do remotely.

Thank you for all the resources!