Reply To: Week 4 Homework Assignment (Mindfulness in Behavioral Health)

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#33942
Sarah Ferriss
Participant

Question 1: The Urge Surfing meditation was timely for me as I had just had an exchange with my adolescent daughter that created tension for me. Although I wasn’t necessarily having an addictive urge in the moment and I did have an impulsive urge to address an issue with her and I knew the timing wasn’t in the moment when I was agitated and she was overwhelmed. What I noticed for physical sensations prior to listening to the guided video was that my heart was racing and my forehead felt tight likely with a frown. It took me about 10 minutes before I felt my body physically let go, my heart rate slowed and the tension in my head went away. In terms of the impulse and how it felt to refrain from acting on it I found the immediacy of the audio useful in that it kept bringing me back and I am not sure if I would have done that as well on my own. In terms of the usefulness of “riding it out” it was effective for me and I liked especially that it was just an audio. It’s a resource that I think will be helpful for several of my clients who are in a preparation phase of their recovery and experimenting with abstinence. I have had DBT training over the course of my career and really love the Surfing metaphor. Much of my practice is working with people struggling with binge eating and I often reference riding the wave. For my clients who as well are doing 12 step work they have shared that this skill also gives them time to remember what they value. It’s hard for me to be more specific than that!

Question 2: I chose the Leave on the Stream exercise because I have been thinking a lot about cognitive diffusion since starting this course. I recently went back into private practice and have noticed that so many of my clients are struggling with Anxiety some of which I am noticing has to do with an idea that if they reach their goals life will bring them happiness. What I am seeing consistently is that life is messier than that and that there isn’t a perfect outcome. Pause…just got out of a session mid answer to this question and had an opportunity to practice leaves on a steam with my client. It helped my client who has a constant conversation with herself about what she “should” be doing or how she could have done something better, she was able to put some of the chatter on leaves. I feel like I need more practice myself bringing this into the therapy space more deliberately and this course has given me more confidence to do so.

Question 3: As I reflect on this course I feel a lot of gratitude and I have appreciated the opportunity to practice Mindfulness again. I have my own recovery story and wanted to say that I love how in this last section you were able to draw parallels between the slogans in 12 step programs and mindfulness. I have always believed that this was true and it was described beautifully in your story. I feel like the perspective of how Mindfulness and AA or other 12 step programs have common spiritual messages is going to be very helpful with clients who may be more open to mindfulness or vice versa. The common denominator of present moment awareness resonates with me. I feel like ethically I have to bring this more deliberately into my practice which means being deliberate about incorporating Mindfulness into my own life. It feels fundamental to my values and beliefs about how I can be part of healing some of the human suffering (including my own) in the world.