I recently met and interviewed Marian Smith, who holds a Masters in counselling psychology from the University of BC. In addition to her private practice, she teaches seminars in communication and healthy relationships, post-traumatic stress, grief and loss, anger and depression, disordered eating and spirituality.
I first encountered mindful practice as a participant in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction workshop led by her partner, Brett Peterson. Both Marian and Brett have taken workshops with Jon Kabat-Zinn who founded the idea of using a secular meditative approach, based on sound Buddhist philosophy and practice, for therapeutic application.
In this brief (ten-minute) interview excerpt Marian discusses the usefulness of being present as way to bring attentive awareness to our emotional state(s) and to ground ourselves.
Mindfulness is helpful for therapy as it helps individuals to open to the intensity of emotions we are afraid to
feel. It provides a protective distancing that enables us to create and maintain an observing ego through which we
can confront emotions that were previously avoided because they were unpleasant or overwhelming. Once these emotions
are permitted to surface, they are made conscious and their subversive power begins to lessen.
The practice of mindfulness enhances perception, allowing us to become intimately acquainted with our mental
habits and distortions. It helps us to perceive the distinction between a thought and its related emotion.
[This interview is also available on video at https://vimeo.com/127212471]