Thomas Bien is an author and practicing psychologist in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he teaches mindfulness and meditation. In addition to his doctorate in psychology from the University of New Mexico, he also holds a master’s degree in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. His work is at the forefront of integrating mindfulness into the practice of psychotherapy. He is author of: Mindful Therapy: A Guide for Therapists and Helping Professionals (Wisdom, 2006), Mindful Recovery: A Spiritual Path to Healing From Addiction (Wiley, 2002), and Finding the Center Within: The Healing Way of Mindfulness Meditation (Wiley, 2003), and co-editor of Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship (2008). A new volume called The Buddha’s Way of Happiness is scheduled for release in January 2011.
The Art of True Presence and Deep Listening
We cannot be deeply present without nurturing ourselves. Whether we are present as therapists, colleagues, managers, clergy, or friends, listening to others requires being present to ourselves. In addition to providing new insights into the work of psychotherapists and others who seek to listen deeply, an important goal of this workshop is to provide a space for healing and transformation. This workshop approaches mindfulness as not only a set of techniques, but more importantly as a way to be more deeply present. While psychotherapists are the primary audience, others who seek to listen deeply, professionally or personally, will also find a lot of help here.
While mindfulness has become a topic of great interest among psychotherapists, work to date has focused on teaching mindfulness techniques to clients. Such approaches can be helpful, but the most useful aspect of mindfulness may lay elsewhere-- namely, in helping the therapist become more deeply open and present. Metaanalysis suggests that factors such as the therapeutic relationship are more important than the therapist’s specific clinical techniques, despite the attachment therapists have toward these. In an age of distraction, however, it is increasingly difficult to be deeply present to anything.
Mindfulness can be usefully abstracted from its Buddhist roots, yet there is also much to be gained by understanding the soil out of which mindfulness has grown. Buddhism itself, here taken as a kind of wise, ancient psychology, can deeply enrich our understanding and practice of mindfulness, and suggest many direct applications with clients as well. This course explores such foundational Buddhist insights as the Four Noble Truths, The Dharma Seals, the Brahmaviharas, and the Three Poisons in light of their clinical insight and utility.
At the conclusion of this workshop participants will be able to:
• Understand what mindfulness is and its role in the listening process
• Know how to practice mindfulness in daily life
• Deepen their capacity to listen and be present
• Identify at least three ways to care for thoughts and feelings through mindfulness
• Articulate the clinical utility of several foundational Buddhist insights
Periods of practice will follow periods of instruction. Exercises begin with mindful breathing, sensory awareness, and guided meditations, and build from there to direct practice of mindful listening. Participants should come prepared with a notebook and pen for written exercises.
• Shaman, Guru, Sage, and Healer: Re-envision the therapist’s role
• Understanding mindfulness
• Basic mindfulness exercises
• Therapeutic Insights of the Buddha: The Dharma Seals
• Balanced listening: The Brahmaviharas
• Metta meditation
• Understanding suffering: The Four Noble Truths Exercise
• The Three Poisons and their Antidotes
• Dyadic mindful listening exercises
• Mindfulness and the care of thoughts and feelings
• Clinical techniques
• A Day in the Life: Integrating life and work