Mindful family therapy has become increasingly popular, and with good reason: people are finding mindfulness to effectively relieve and calm their bodies and minds from daily hustles. The basic definition of mindfulness is knowing your internal thoughts, feelings, and emotions, without automatically responding to stressors emotionally.
In times of crisis people easily lose focus on their peace of mind— varying demands of education, work, lack of exposure to healthy stress relief, poor physical health, and more all contribute to this loss of security. To ensure families feel calmer and relaxed during trying times, encourage implementing mindfulness techniques into family life! This can also help improve communication and resolve conflicts.
1. Exploring Mindfulness of Emotions
As a therapist, you can help your patient improve their mindfulness of their emotions. While some might know what they’re feeling, they may not be able to handle their emotions. Guide them through self-reflection exercises that allow clarity of understanding.
An important aspect of exploring mindfulness is non-judgment. Therapists should demonstrate and implement non-judgment as they describe experiences. For instance, do they judge anger and anxiety as good, or bad? Just noticing judgment can enhance self-awareness and increase an individual’s patience with themselves and others.
2. Enhancing Awareness of the Mind-Body Connection for Family Therapy
Mindfulness helps us be more present in our physical body and find a stronger connection between our mind and body. Based on what the family is experiencing or going through, body awareness practices may be useful. This type of mindfulness technique helps individuals to identify issues better in themselves.
You may also encourage the family to explore self-compassion, which relates to mindfulness. Self-compassion is essential for healing and you can explore it both formally and informally. It’s basically centered around offering self-care and kindness. When individuals practice this on themselves, they are better able to approach relationships with compassion. They may then be able to serve their family members in similar ways, improving the lives of their family members as well.
3. Practice Mindful Listening
Regardless of the type of therapy practiced, every therapist should remain open-minded, receptive, and attentive to their patients. When therapists listen to their clients mindfully, the clients tend to feel better and know that they’re being heard. To improve mindful listening, practice the following:
- Listen and understand first before responding
- Mind your judgments, as well as any impulse you have to fix things
- Ask the family thoughtful and compassionate follow-up questions to understand them more deeply
- Encourage the family members to listen well to each other
4. Offering Basic Mindfulness Techniques to Use at Home
When practicing mindfulness with a family client, offer some easy tools that they can practice on their own after the session. For example, mindful breathing is an easy technique that helps in calming the mind and easing the body during stressful times.
You can support your patients with mindfulness by helping them to be mentally and emotionally present in stressful situations. Therapy is usually necessary because people want to fix the tense, chaotic situations they find themselves in. However, sometimes the best strategy for relief that you can give them is to simply feel, acknowledge, and accept the situation they’re stressed about.
5. Practicing Self-Acceptance
No one is perfect, and it’s ok. This doesn’t mean you, or anyone you may be frustrated with, can’t make any positive changes in your lives! When an individual is afraid to accept themselves as they are (and others as they are,) they won’t be able to handle emotions. What’s worse, they will not be able to find the confidence to make any changes in the future. Self-acceptance is a means of developing hope in oneself and other people around them.
According to studies, regular meditation can enhance mental health and help manage our emotions. It also helps to manage:
The best part about meditation for family therapy is that it doesn’t require any tools or money – plus, there’s growing evidence that meditation can positively change our neural pathways. So, just taking a few minutes daily for meditation can significantly improve any rising conflicts.
Beneficial Family Therapy
While you introduce mindfulness to your clients, provide support, compassion, and interest. Although it seems simple, paying non-judgmental attention to other people’s experiences isn’t always simple. Start small, as you allow your patient to blossom gradually. Also, be mindful not to cause re-traumatization during the sessions by understanding trauma-sensitive principles and being aware of signs of trauma so you’ll know what to do when it is present in the client.