Psychotherapy as a meditation
by Fe Robinson
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a well known teacher in the art, mindfulness is the practice of paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgement. This practice is the heart of meditation, when we take time to specifically be with our own experience mindfully, without doing anything else.
It strikes me that this is also exactly what psychotherapy at its best is. Sitting, paying attention, on purpose, to what you are experiencing right here right now, without judging it. Psychotherapy at its best is clearly then a mindful endevour.
In a therapeutic relationship, the focus is on the experiencing of the client, with the psychotherapist bringing all of their awareness and insight to bear, helping the client deepen their awareness and experiencing. This may be by asking questions, by reflecting back, and by helping the client uncover themes and patterns in their experiencing.
A psychotherapist may help the client expand their awareness by exploring how the client now experiences things that they have not before considered, for example family dynamics, past events and future aspirations. Given we can only experience in this moment, these enquiries are still focused on what is happening now in response to what is explored.
Psychotherapy is a dynamic, lively process. It is also expansive, it has space and time to reflect and realise, and it is embodied. Truly, the art of psychotherapy is also the art of meditation, of just sitting, noticing, and coming to know ourselves more fully and deeply.