Mindfulness psychotherapy to me is somewhat like looking at the Necker Cube graphic at the top of this page.
When you look at one corner, for example, one side of the box appears to be closer, and when you look at a different corner, another side of the box appears to be closer.
I use this tool frequently with my domestic violence clients, to illustrate a couple of things.
If I see one of the boxes and you see another, who is 'right?'
The best answer is that we are both 'right'.
The Necker cube used that way is an interesting tool for illustrating that everyone has a perspective, and that they can be different and right.
Another question to ask about the Necker cube, once you have observed it for a moment, and seen the sides flip, is to ask when I have seen box A, for example, where does box B go?
Box B is still there, isn't it, it has just moved to the background, and with a quick switch of attention, I can bring box B to the foreground, and move Box A to the background.
I think mindfulness psychotherapy is like that.
I can bring my attention momentarily to the breath, or to my thinking, or to my feelings, and the external world and my striving there moves to the background, and when I have calmed or agitated my internal world, I switch my attention to the external again, and attention to my thinking, feelings, or behavior moves to the background.
I actually have a poster of the Necker Cube in my group room where I do my domestic violence psychoeducational programs, and when I see a victim-persecutor-rescuer belief system come into play, for example, I will point to the poster and ask where the belief system about offering choice has gone.
Using the Necker Cube that way is an excellent visual reminder of the need to quickly be mindful of our internal experience before it drives an external behavior which generates unpleasant consequences.
When I was using Neurofeedback, or brain wave biofeedback, in my practice, I came across some research done by Barry Sterman,Ph.D., done for the Navy at their Top Gun school, which indicated that the most successful pilots in that sophisticated and intense simulated combat training were the pilots who were able to move effectively between work and rest, or beta and alpha brain waves. (Beta brainwaves are associated with focused external awareness and cycle 15 to 42 times per second and alpha brainwaves are associated with relaxed external awareness and cycle 8 to 15 cycles per second, if memory serves me right).
But cycles per second indicates that effective mindfulness can happen in very short increments.
Every other mindfulness psychotherapy I had seen, for example, like Transcendental Meditation, involved taking a segment of the day to switch from beta brain waves to alpha brain waves, but I was looking for something that would work like brainwaves cycling, that might involve a quick internal switch, rivaling even the switch that we experience when the Necker Cube shows us its other side.
So I was delighted to find Heartmath, or heart rate variability biofeedback, which gives me a tool that satisfies my logical mind, with some visual and auditory data to corroborate my feeling of relaxation resulting from attending to a regular meditation schedule. In other words, I could measure my progress, and fooling myself about my success with mindfulness psychotherapy was less likely, and if I can trust it, I can recommend the tool to my clients as a wonderful skill to learn, a skill which can be practiced in 20 minute increments, and once learned, can be practiced heart beat by heart beat.
So I have my mindfulness psychotherapy tool, which works to change my attention from the beta brain wave focused external awareness to the relaxed external focused alpha brainwave fast enough that I can benefit my brain fitness and my heart and my soul quickly and efficiently.
I actually replaced the EEG biofeedback with Heartmath heart rate variability biofeedback because of its ease of use for clients.
I believe heart rate variability biofeedback makes for an excellent mindfulness psychotherapy tool, but it does not replace EEG biofeedback.
However, the idea of changing the coherence of my heart beat every five minutes in a heart beat or two is very appealing to the part of my that needs to build in mindfulness personally.
Does Heartmath heart rate variability biofeedback have any side effects?
Yes, it does. It opens the higher perceptual centers of your brain for effective decision making, and it keeps your belief systems focused on the cooperative and affiliative.
That in itself makes life easier.
Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro will train your attention for mindfulness.
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