Sunday, December 19, 2010

Practicing What You Preach

I'm the kind of person who sort of jumps from interest to interest.  For a while I'll devote a lot of time and energy to something.  Then my interest sort of fades and I move on to something else.  It's the same way in my professional life.  I like to learn new modes of therapy.  For a while I become very interested in it.  I read everything I can get my hands on and I incorporate it into my sessions with as many patients as possible.  After a time, something else catches my interest and I move on. 

I don't think there is anything particularly wrong with that way of doing things per se.  However, I believe I would probably better serve my patients by maintaining my enthusiasm for learning new treatments while not completely abandoning the "old" ones. 

I started thinking about this the other day.  I had a patient who could really benefit from mindfulness training.  If you can teach someone to practice mindfulness you can help them learn to better tolerate their emotions, which leads to increased emotional stability.  I dusted off the file labeled "Mindfulness" and pulled out my outline.  (Yes, I'm a dork.  I create outlines so I make sure to cover all the important points).  I hate to admit that I've sort of slacked off in my daily mindfulness practice.  As a result I'd sort of forgotten why I'd been so enthusiastic about it before.  I explained the mindfulness skills to my patient but I was nowhere near as confident as I used to be.  Fortunately, the patient didn't seem to mind.  She was genuinely interested and expressed a willingness to practice mindfulness regularly. 

Explaining mindfulness to my patient reminded me of how much peace it has brought me in my own life.  I need to go back to it, if for no other reason than to be able to confidently share it with those patients who could surely benefit from it.  In other words, if I'm going to "preach" it then I need to practice it.


  1. Merry Christmas!!! I'm sure you will be mindful.


  2. Melody, me too...jumping from interest to interest. For a while, I thought I was something wrong. Later I found out, life changes according to our needs. Inconsistent was the label being tag by my family and friends. I did feel bad about it for a while.. Merry Xmas to you, am thankful for you.


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