Mindfulness based treatment approaches have growing support in research for their efficacy in treating mental health concerns. In addition to her extensive training and experience with Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dr. Tracy Ochester‘s work with clients is informed by mindfulness practices and she is certified in the delivery of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).
Mindfulness is a practice that involves:
- a calm awareness of and gentle, sustained attention to the present moment
- being fully conscious in the here and now while accepting, without judgment, the experiences, thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations that arise
The American Mindfulness Research Association defines mindfulness as, “The state, process, and practice of remembering to observe moment-to-moment experience with openness and without automatic patterns of previously conditioned thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. Mindfulness can be cultivated through mind-body practices (such as focused attention and open monitoring meditation as well as other intrapsychic and sensory-based practices) that are founded on a discerning mode of awareness that recognizes wholesome and unwholesome states of being.”
Mindfulness can be learned through practice and becomes a vehicle for increased compassion, acceptance, and emotional self-regulation toward improved life satisfaction and functioning.
Much of human suffering is related to struggling for things we think we want and running away from or fighting against things we fear or dislike (grasping at or clinging to desires and pushing away aversions). The practice of Mindfulness helps us to be more aware of our emotions, choose our responses wisely, accept things that are outside of our control, adjust to change, and have more compassion for our own struggles and those of others.
Modern medicine increasingly acknowledges the role of the mind in health and wellness, spurred by 20th century discoveries around pain and stress. A growing body of research has demonstrated the health benefits of meditation and yoga for people who practice. These benefits include stress reduction, reduced blood pressure, improved immune functioning, physical fitness, relaxation, and an increased sense of well-being. In addition, many people subjectively report cultivating greater consciousness, a sense of freedom, self-acceptance and a state of equanimity (calm and psychological stability). Check out this video of one of Dr. Ochester’s MBCT mentors, Dr. Pat Rockman, defining mindfulness and its benefits:
Dr. Ochester practices daily yoga and meditation and she incorporates mindfulness and yogic philosophy in her clinical work. She is a registered yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance. She is a Certified Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Teacher and received her training through the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, a program of the UC San Diego School of Medicine.