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Mindful Psychology Brisbane

    What is mindful psychology and how does it work?

    Mindfulness is the “awareness that comes from paying attention, on purpose, non judgmentally in the present momentJon Kabat-Zinn 2014.

    Much of our suffering comes from our unconscious identification with our thoughts and the associated feelings that arise in response to these mental patterns.

    Our minds are “thought generating machines” and the vast majority of our thoughts are not very helpful. Try observing your own thinking mind for a day or two… Notice how many negative, judgmental, self-critical or futile thoughts your mind thinks and how often it is in the past or future. Notice how much worrying and stressing your mind does.  The mind—often lost in past or future stories frequently weighed down with some level of disquiet—is commenting, interpreting and labelling everything.

    When we get hooked by these thoughts, we lose contact with the present moment.

    Why does that matter?

    Because the present moment is where ALL our power to create fulfilment, joy and happiness occurs.

    Instead, we humans tend to look  into the past or future when emotional distress arises.

    Our ability to bring more peace and wellbeing into our lives however, is reliant on directly working with our  internal experiences — our thoughts, feelings and behaviour in the present. Cultivating this ability to observe without judgement, can help us to respond to our experiences with greater clarity and focus, rather than reacting from old patterns which tend to be much less helpful.

    When we are able to notice the internal disturbance, pause and anchor in the breath or the body, we take a radical step forward. Such a choice makes room for compassionately allowing our emotional discomfort while observing our thoughts as passing mental events rather than reality itself. This ability to pause – to observe the conflict between our conditioned mindset and the unfolding world in the present moment; to let go of thinking and be in our hearts – is the entry point for improved mental health and psychological freedom.

    Cultivating this ability to observe without reactivity provides some space and capacity to notice our experience and pay attention to the big picture of what we are creating in life and whether this is in line with our values.

    This valuable information supports our ability to choose what is most nourishing for ourselves not only in everyday moments but also with big decisions.

    Common Questions about Mindfulness

    What conditions can benefit from Mindfulness?

    Grounded in 35 years of evidence based research, Mindfulness has been shown to have many benefits for psychological health including reduced rumination, stress reduction, boosts to working memory, improved focus, reduced emotional reactivity, improved behavioural regulation, increased relationship satisfaction, improved cognitive flexibility and increased subjective well-being (…and that’s just the psychological benefits. There are many physical benefits as well.) The powerful ability of Mindfulness to build adaptive skills when working with our internal experience makes it an extremely useful adjunct in the treatment of many mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, trauma, grief and loss, extreme stress as well as pain.

    How we use Mindful psychology in Therapy

    Therapy is about change and you can’t change something you’re not aware of.

    Mindfulness increases awareness: Becoming fully present to your thoughts, feelings and behaviour rather than being on auto-pilot (and hooked by your thoughts, opinions and judgements), Mindfulness is about being ‘switched-on’ and actively noticing what’s arising in your experience in this moment.

    What are the goals of Mindfulness Based Therapy?

    The essential elements of Mindfulness involve building an awareness of one’s moment-to-moment experience non-judgmentally and with acceptance. Acceptance in this context refers to the ability to experience events fully, without resorting to either extreme or excessive preoccupation with or suppression of the experience.
    By developing an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance, Mindfulness practice offers a move towards greater balance, choice and participation in life.

    Goals include:

    • Focus and presence. Cultivating more concentration and capacity to be in the moment with what matters here and now.
    • Emotional calming. Reducing reactivity and learning to befriend your emotions and express them in ways that set clear, caring boundaries.
    • Clarity and wisdom. Being able to see your patterns and values with more clarity so that your actions can be more beneficial to yourself and others.

    By incorporating the practice of mindfulness in therapy, you gain skills which are hugely helpful in achieving positive outcomes.

    For example, you develop a heightened awareness of all aspects of your experience; sensory, somatic, emotional, cognitive, as well as of interpersonal dynamics. This then gives you better access to what is actually taking place in your personal challenges, and allows you to access more specific details about the dynamics of the issue/problem you wish to address in therapy. And the more fully you are able to identify the details of what is taking place in your time of difficulty, the more likely it is that your therapist will be able to find the best solution strategies to support you.

    As a consequence of becoming more aware, a different relationship to your experience evolves; you learn to be less reactive even to painful experiences (whether physical or psychological), to allow the experience to be, to make space for the pain. And this is important, because the reactiveness is itself often a big part of what causes the difficulties that you may be struggling with.

    By practising mindfulness in therapy you also increase your ability to distinguish between a thought and an actual experience. While this distinction may seem obvious at first, the reality is that a vast number of the personal and interpersonal difficulties that hold us back from living a value guided life that we strive for are actually due to mistaking stories (thoughts, speculations, mind-readings, (mis)interpretations etc.) for facts (actual, lived experiences).

    You may be suffering from anxiety, depression, chronic pain, sleep problems, stress, trauma or any other personal problem that is addressed in therapy. Or you may be struggling to find motivation, to achieve your goals, to live up to your full potential, to find the right work-life balance, or to overcome any other life challenge. Either way, Mindfulness in therapy will help you achieve better and longer lasting positive outcomes.

    What is involved in a mindful psychology session?

    Mindfulness therapy is a psychotherapy that involves the application of a wide range of mindful practices. There are different types of mindfulness therapy, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy (MBCBT), and mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy (MBSR). Additionally, mindfulness can be incorporated into other forms of therapy.

    • MBCT a talk therapy which involves identifying dysfunctional thoughts, uses mindful techniques to notice the dysfunctional thoughts and practice choosing more helpful cognitions.
    • MBCBT is a type of talk therapy that combines cognitive therapy with behaviour therapy, focusing on how thoughts, emotions, and behaviours relate to and influence one another.
    • MBSR is a psychotherapy that incorporates mindfulness practices with stress management techniques. This creates a mindfulness protocol specifically for treating stress.

    The 3 minute breathing space is a mindful practice to support this approach. It follows 3 one minute steps:

    1. Ask yourself, “What am I noticing right now?” Focus on and identify the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that may come from this question.
    2. Bring your awareness to your breath for one minute.
    3. Notice your physical sensations and how you experience them in your body eg location in your body, size,  the weight, temperature, colour, texture?
    Dark Clouds

    Building your skills and learning more adaptive ways to manage life’s challenges is an investment in you and your relationships.

      Useful Mindfulness Resources

      For more information about Mindfulness, the following links are available:


      Mindfulness in 10 Easy Steps


      Beginners Guide to Mindfulness

      Learn More

      Mindfulness of Breath


      How Mindfulness can help address Insomnia

      Learn More