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Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.

— Carl Jung

What is Mindful Psychotherapy?

Inner Observer

Mindful therapy looks to the part of ourselves that observes our entire experience without judgment or criticism. For centuries contemplative spiritual traditions have recognized the value of making contact with what which we now call our inner observer. The place within us that can recognize we are having a thought, for example, but at the same time observe ourselves as more than just a thought. It may also recognize we are having a sensation in our body, a feeling or an emotion, and see that they too are only parts of our overall experience.

When you are the witness of feelings, you are not bound by feelings. In place of your contracted self there is simply a vast sense of openness and release. As an object, you are bound; as the witness, you are free.

—Ken Wilber

Non-Judgmental Awareness

Mindful therapy develops that observing part of ourselves and helps us cultivate a non-judgmental awareness of our experience. This awareness is often a very rich and resourceful state from which our natural life force energy flows. When we have the experience of feeling depressed or down, for example, we are disconnected from this energy, this awareness, such that life can feel hopeless, meaningless, and directionless. In the mindful state, we can start to unwind that tight or stuck place that has bound up this energy and cut us off from the experience of possibility, substance, and forward motion.

Healing: to touch or enter with mercy and awareness those areas of ourselves from which we have withdrawn in anger or in judgment.

—Steven Levine

Relational Mindfulness

Mindful therapy takes the experience of being with the inner observer to the next level of healing because the therapy honors and nurtures the entirety of you. So often we get stuck or confused because our vitality within is either not seen or dismissed – either from our family growing up or by our relationships as an adult. When we are not seen and valued in our wholeness, we adaptively learn to hide and cut off from important parts of ourselves – to the point where we feel like that is the only way to be in relationship to another. In mindful psychotherapy, being in relationship to another who honors and values your complete self can be in itself freeing, opening, and transformative.