Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, Mindfulness (Psychology), Insight in psychotherapy, Psychotherapist and patient, Qualitative research, Mindfulness, Relational theory, Psychodynamic theory, Meditation, Insight


This inductive qualitative research study explored therapist's experiences of using Mindfulness in session with patients. Through 12 semi-structured interviews with therapists who self-identified as Mindfulness practitioners with a psychodynamic orientation, narrative data was gathered on participant's explicit and implicit uses of Mindfulness within the therapeutic encounter. Major findings revealed that Mindfulness first and foremost attunes the therapist's attention to the body. Therapist's awareness of personal bodily sensations then initiated the therapist's process of understanding disavowed content from the patient. Upon pinpointing the therapist's own bodily sensation, participants then discussed how tenets of Mindfulness informed their therapeutic presence. Qualities of this presence included a spirit of inquiry and staying with the immediate experience with openness, nonjudgment, and compassion. In addition, findings showed how Mindfulness and Buddhist philosophy informed the therapeutic frame overall through the therapist's use of language and sense of being with instead of taking away patient suffering. Lastly, this study presents a framework for how therapists can use a Mindfulness practice to aid in the formulation of insight and reminds clinicians that the use of Mindfulness is a deeply personal choice to be used discerningly with clients.




v, 68 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 60-64)