Mindless Mindfulness

shrinbks-links-photo1If you’re a shrink and have been paying attention to trends, you’ve noticed that everyone in shrinkland is talking about something called mindfulness. I don’t know if mindfulness has infiltrated non-shrinkdom as much as it has the land of shrinkishness; but if it has, it’s either got you completely converted, or, if you’re like me, you’re ready to puke.

As much as I hate to admit this about a trendy thing, the purveyors of mindfulness are selling something that’s real, and really good; the trouble is, they’re doing such a great job of selling it that they may be outselling their supply. The customers buying mindfulness may be placing their order, awaiting the delivery, opening the box, only to find it empty, containing as much mindlessness as they have in the rest of their life.
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Relaxation Therapy

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Once upon a time, a client came into the community mental health clinic where I worked, checked in with the receptionist, and, instead of sitting in the waiting room till I came to get her, went straight to the lady’s room and slit her wrist. She had slit her wrists many, many times before and had dozens of hospitalizations for suicide attempts. She was the toughest, most frustrating, most hopeless case known to all the therapists in the clinic, given up on by all, and recently transferred to me. When I heard what she had done, I began to believe she was beyond help, too. Continue reading

Therapy and Spirituality

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I recently read and was asked to review Eastern Wisdom Western Soul by Richard Singer. It got me thinking about how us shrinks handle spirituality. There are basically three ways. We can, a) ignore it and pretend it doesn’t matter; b) help the client work through what

they’ve been taught till they arrive at beliefs and practices that work for them; or c) indoctrinate the client in something new. Eastern Wisdom Western Soul is an example of the choice C. I liked the book, but I’m skeptical that it’s the right way to go. Continue reading