Trauma informed mindfulness-based techniques increase awareness of feelings, behaviors, protective defenses, and relational patterns.  It teaches people to track what is happening internally before reacting. Mindfulness-based therapy creates space to explore and come into a sense of safety with the feelings, thoughts and body sensations that make people most uncomfortable. 

By building a physiological foundation, nervous system regulation, containment, and boundary setting becomes more accessible. Learning to manage the nervous system also helps with anger, stress, and anxiety management. A mindful approach helps slow clients down, so they can be more intentional in the language they use in their relationships. 

Meditational practices involve mindfulness; however, mindfulness practices can occur outside of formal mediation sitting. Mindfulness involves recalibrating the autonomic nervous system through breath, movement, or touch.

I integrate mindfulness into a holistic practice of Somatic Experiencing and Psychodynamic and Attachment Focused-EMDR therapies.  

Many clients have entered therapy after attending a prolonged meditation retreat, in which they were asked to sit for days in silence, as uncomfortable material escalates into dysregulated states of anxiety or dissociation.  

Unaddressed, even perhaps, unknown, childhood wounds and traumas can be activated by enduring silence without guidance. Such an experience is counter to trauma-informed somatic and mindful practices. I rarely recommend meditation outside the therapy room, unless I know the full history of a client, and only with an APP or podcast that is guided and relatively brief. 

Current research shows the effectiveness of mindfulness solutions for reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and trauma. It also improves people’s ability to tolerate their emotions, however unpleasant, thus changing their experience of themselves and their ability to sit with sensations, thoughts, and feelings. 

Much of the research on mindfulness practices points to its benefit for increasing concentration and boosting our immune-system responses by building capacity for how we respond to stressors. Mindfulness practices create mental health benefits by reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Evidence suggests that mindfulness is linked to changes in neuroplasticity particularly in the cingulate cortex, insula, frontal-limbic network, and the temporo-parietal junction. In short, these changes help with increased ability for self-regulation.

As a therapist who is trauma informed, I integrate mindful techniques in a collaborative, well-paced, and therapeutically guided way. Mindfulness practice is not sufficient as a stand-alone therapy.