As an approach to treatment, mindfulness started as an outgrowth of Eastern practices. In combination with other therapies, it has evolved from its spiritual roots into treatment for many disorders, including depression, anxiety and chronic pain, to name a few.  The research of Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington, Jon-Kabat Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Mark Williams at Oxford University Medical School and many others has contributed to this evolution. Like DBT, mindfulness has been scientifically tested and is evidence-based.  St Louis DBT’ therapists are trained in mindfulness and practice mindfulness in their personal and professional lives.

Mark Williams describes mindfulness as awareness of what’s happening as it happens both inside ourselves and in the world around us. Mindfulness includes observing and describing with detached curiosity “what is” inside and outside ourselves without judging it good or bad while participating in (or experiencing fully) “what is” in this present moment.   Mindfulness is at the heart of DBT.  It is how we find middle ground between the opposing forces of acceptance and change.  Mindfulness enables acceptance of what is – your emotions, the situation, other people, your circumstances, the world around you as it is in any given moment without judgment.  Accepting what is in this way gives you the freedom to directly change your thoughts and behaviors and experience related emotions without being overcome by them.

Listen to Jon Kabat-Zinn explain mindfulness here.