Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Therapeutic alliance, Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, Psychotherapists-Psychology, Winnicott, D.W. (Donald Woods), 1896-1971, Neuroplasticity, Contemplation, Affective neuroscience, Brain, Meditation, Therapeutic relationship, Mindfulness, Mindful therapist, Contemplative neuroscience, Social brain, Therapeutic presence, Presence, Mindfulness in psychotherapy


There has been an explosion of interest in mindfulness within contemporary Western society and across diverse disciplines, including the mental health field with enthusiasm for the promise of how mindfulness enhances psychotherapy. It has been proposed that mindfulness training offers a tremendous resource for cultivating those desirable qualities present in a strong therapeutic relationship. In light of the importance of the therapeutic alliance and the promise of mindfulness, this theoretical thesis presents the nature of mindfulness from a Buddhist perspective and explores how mindfulness informs the therapeutic process and potentiates a clinician's therapeutic presence. The psychodynamic concepts of D.W. Winnicott and neuroscience offer a valuable palate in which to examine and generate a richer understanding of the phenomenon of mindfulness and how it informs the psychotherapeutic experience and enhances a clinician's mindful way of being. This theoretical thesis reveals an unexpected and significant synergy between these three lenses and a strong resonance with the values and ethics of the social work profession.




iii, 131 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 119-129)