Our Treatment Approach
Mindfulness describes the basic human ability to be aware of our surroundings and be present in the moment. It involves letting go of focusing on the past or the future and being aware of the present in a non-judgmental way — in other words, paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them. Mindfulness empowers patients to manage their minds to live a meaningful, fulfilling life.
Insight recognizes mindfulness as a powerful tool to help patients move forward and improve functioning, outlook and quality of life. And, research has shown the powerful effectiveness of mindfulness in alleviating anxiety and depression.
There are many benefits of incorporating mindfulness into treatment at Insight, including the following:
- Mindfulness has been shown to calm the nervous system, allowing the mind and body to connect, while improving emotional regulation, centering and wise thinking.
- It improves one’s ability to use coping skills.
- It is associated with decreased stress (lower levels of cortisol), increased cognitive functioning and working memory and increased immune functioning.
- Mindfulness helps improve the effectiveness of exposure therapy, as individuals are able to ground themselves in the present moment and tolerate distress as they experience negative thoughts and feelings.
Mindfulness and therapy
Insight utilizes several evidence-based therapies rooted in mindfulness. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) both emphasize the importance of examining the thoughts and behaviors that are keeping patients stuck. In treatment, our clinical experts compassionately guide patients to consciously bring their attention to the present moment with openness, interest and curiosity. Only then can patients begin to respond rather than react to difficult situations by choosing the behavior that supports moving in a valued life direction.
While it sounds simple, paying attention to the present moment without judgment takes practice. If patients are in distress and have not practiced mindfulness, their minds will go right back to a difficult thought or painful stressor. So, we offer extensive education on mindfulness-based skills, including both “what” skills (observe, describe and participate) and “how” skills (non-judgmentally, one-mindfully, effectively). Therapy groups provide ample opportunities to practice mindfulness and build attentional strength through purposeful repetition, similar to strengthening a muscle of the body.
Mindfulness is an incredible therapeutic tool that patients can utilize not only in treatment at Insight, but throughout the recovery journey to make wise and effective decisions as they navigate the challenges of everyday life.