Relational mindfulness, spirituality, and the therapeutic bond.

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Relational mindfulness, spirituality, and the therapeutic bond.

Asian J Psychiatr. 2012 Dec;5(4):351-4

Authors: Falb MD, Pargament KI

Mindfulness training, which emphasizes deliberate non-judgmental attention to present moment experiences, has become increasingly mainstream over the past several decades. With accumulating evidence for the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness, it has been integrated into medical and psychological treatments and is increasingly accepted in the fields of psychology and psychiatry. However, several elements of mindfulness practice which potentially contribute to its benefits have been largely neglected. These include the connections between mindfulness, interpersonal relationships, spirituality, and the psychotherapeutic alliance. The emerging concept of “relational mindfulness” focuses attention on the oft-neglected interpersonal aspects of mindfulness practices. Relational mindfulness is potentially relevant to the psychotherapeutic process, due to its cultivation of the types of qualities that enhance the therapeutic relationship, including warmth, empathy, curiosity, acceptance, self-attunement, and emotional intelligence. In addition, mindfulness practices, especially relational ones, can contribute to the development of spiritual qualities, such as transcendence, boundlessness, ultimacy, and interconnectedness. Several recent studies suggest that meditation/mindfulness interventions may be explained and or enhanced by an emphasis on spiritual components. In this paper, we suggest that focusing on the oft-neglected relational and spiritual aspects of mindfulness practice has the potential to deepen its benefits, especially within the context of the psychotherapeutic relationship.

PMID: 23174445 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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