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By Robyn Ozelis, M.A., LPC  

Meditation is a process of focusing one’s mind on something such as breathing, nature, love, peace,  enlightenment, or a higher power such as God.  

All meditators focus on inner peace and detachment from anxiety, worries, material things, and things  that constantly change. Although the source of that peace may be thought to be different in nature, the  end goal of meditation is peace and relaxation.  

In therapy practices, the therapist uses meditational practices to assist their client(s) in preparing the  mind to let go of repetitive anxious thinking and body tension that accompanies depression, anxiety  and mental illnesses. 

Techniques and Practices:  

Breathing: Focusing on the breath calms the mind and enhances awareness.  

Breathing oxygen is the source of all life. A person’s mind and body can only be calm when  they are receiving enough oxygen. Each emotion has its own breathing pattern. In order to  return to a calm state, the anxious breathing that accompanies sorrow, anxiety, depression and  other troubled emotional states must return to a deep breathing pattern with all of the oxygen  inhaled, exhaled on each breath out. This is often called deep breathing, mindful breathing or  box breathing.  

Mindfulness: Present-moment awareness can most easily be gained by focusing on the body’s  five senses, sight, sound, touch, smell, taste and proprioception (where our body is in space).  This last sense is often the most altered in a period of panic causing dizziness and a feeling of  disconnection to the body. Learning to focus on our senses educates us in how to do so in a  period of anxiety to keep panic at bay.  

 Guided Meditation: This can be achieved in several ways such as through the guide of a  therapist or teacher with the aid of visual or auditory affects displayed or told to the meditator.  Through practice, the meditator can then learn to use their own imagination to gain a state of  meditation. During the meditational exercise, a person may choose to reflect on positive  aspects of their life or to focus on nature. They may also use Guided Meditation to envision  their own success, or to pray to God or their higher power for guidance and wisdom.  

Therapeutic Outcomes:

Stress Reduction: Meditation reduces stress hormones and promotes relaxation.   Cognitive Benefits: Enhances focus, memory, and emotional regulation.  

Mind, Body and Spirit: Supports overall well-being and healing  

Like many therapists I utilize many relaxation, breathing and mind-body techniques such as the ones  listed above as well as Progressive Relaxation and Emotional Freedom Tapping (a research proven  method of combining acupressure and thought-provoking mantras) to assist clients in the reduction of  negative emotional states so that they can best engage in the work needed for their healing.