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    In chapter seven of our textbook, Newsome and Gladding (2014) note that the holistic approach to client care stems from a biopsychosocial (BPS) model constructed by cardiologist Dr. George Engel in 1977. This holistic model views clients’ concerns in the form of their biological, psychological, and sociological states of being. The results of these three areas can help counselors construct a more individualized experience as well as implement alternative counseling methods such as mindfulness training.

            Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training is based upon the idea that by training clients to focus their thoughts on various anchoring sensations they can take control over thoughts that occur mindlessly and intrusively (Brown, Marquis, & Guiffrida, 2013). Answering what helps me be more focused is difficult because I have never really thought about it before taking this class. I have always had intrusive, overbearing, and anxiety-laden thoughts but I never thought to anchor myself in the present and give each thought enough time to release its power. I think if I entered therapy with a counselor who knew how to implement MBSR properly I might benefit from it because I do have anxiety issues. So to answer the question, I guess I feel the most focused or mindful when I am reading for pleasure or writing but to be honest it has never occurred to me until now.

            Whenever I read for pleasure it pulls my attention into the story much like movies do. My breathing becomes more calm, racing thoughts tend to slow and fade, and a sense of peace comes to me. I usually read in bed as the last thing before falling asleep, so the act of reading must also increase my level of melatonin but I can’t prove that true or false. When I write, there are different sensations because of the active cognitive nature of writing, which is usually conducted by typing in my case. As my trained fingers easily find each letter I intend to press on the keyboard, the feeling of the smooth plastic keys could be an anchor for me. For some reason I tend to hold my breath or breathe in erratic ways when I’m typing, so occasionally I realize it’s happening and I readjust my breathing. Currently, I’m uncomfortably aware that my eyes hurt from staring at the computer screen for too long and probably need to be closed for a few hours. I also tense the muscles in my cheeks, which causes headaches fairly often. Knowing about some of the mindfulness techniques may help me reduce the anxiety I have and may teach me how to teach myself to let go of thoughts and feelings that should not have any control over me.

References

Brown, A. P., Marquis, A., & Guiffrida, D. A. (2013). Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Counseling. Journal of Counseling & Development91, 96–104.

Newsome, D. W., & Gladding, S. T. (2014). Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Community and Agency Settings (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.