Mindful Processing Method
Mindful processing is a method of processing disturbing experiences in psychotherapy with the help of mindful awareness (Žvelc & Žvelc, 2021). Mindful processing is built on a fundamental assumption that mindfulness promotes natural healing of the organism, where the change comes spontaneously by acceptance and awareness of internal experience. The method is used within Mindfulness- and Compassion-Oriented Integrative Psychotherapy and it can be easily integrated with different psychotherapy approaches. The method was in a rudimentary form first presented in 2008 at the 4th European Conference on Positive Psychology (Žvelc & Žvelc, 2008). In last 12 years the method was developed in a complex method, which consists of seven phases: 1. Preparation, 2. Activation of schema/memory, 3. Cycle of mindful processing, 4. Processing of juxtaposition experience, 5. Metatherapeutic processing, 6. Integration, 7. Verification (Žvelc & Žvelc, 2021).
Mindful processing promotes transformation and processing of client’s painful emotions and sensations within attuned therapeutic relationship. Mindful processing method invites client to become aware of their moment-to-moment subjective experience with acceptance (Žvelc, 2012). The role of the therapist is to facilitate a mindful stance in the client. The therapist is also supposed to be in a mindful state of consciousness, aware of what is happening within them and with the client. In mindful processing the client alternates between mindful awareness of their inner experience and sharing of that experience with the therapist. The client is invited to pay attention to any experience that emerges from moment to moment. The therapist’s role is to offer an accepting space to all of the client’s experiences that are emerging from moment to moment. The therapist is not trying to change anything, they have to be curious and open to whatever experience is arising. Their role is to contain the process and emotions that are arising.
The method could also be called relational mindfulness. There are two mindful people in the room and the therapist is constantly inviting the client to pay attention to the present moment. Clients who come for therapy because of mental health problems often have difficulty accepting their inner experience. They find it hard to tolerate and stay with disturbing thoughts and emotions.
Mindfulness meditation is sometimes ‘too hard’ for them, they become lost in their experience and have great difficulty in developing de-centered perspective to their experience. In Mindful Processing the therapist helps them establish a mindful stance which involves capacity to observe inner experience. We can say that ‘Two aware minds are more powerful than only one aware mind’. The therapist’s presence can actually promote a mindful stance in the client that would be difficult to achieve alone. Moreover, such a stance actually promotes processing and integration of disturbing experience.