Integrating the Buddhist Practice of Mindfulness into the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress

By: Timothy Pedigo   Patricia Robey  

Many of our public health problems are the result of compensatory behaviors like smoking, overeating, and alcohol and drug use, which provide immediate comfort from the emotional problems caused by traumatic childhood experiences but never really address the root cause. Prevention practices that address avoidant and compensatory behaviors are particularly relevant in order to address the root traumas and distress and begin a path towards wellness. The Buddhist practice of mindfulness is a method of prevention and a way to realize improved health. Living mindfully means staying engaged and open to others and ourselves with gentleness and empathy. While this way of living has inherent value, it is also correlated with the realization of health and happiness. Mindfulness practices such as breath meditation or Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) and other compassion based practices are designed to help rework negative deep self-structures that effect many people but especially traumatized individuals. The use of mindfulness practices in therapy provides a great opportunity for transformation, but can also be misused and cause damage to vulnerable clients such as those who are working through trauma. The presenters will discuss the potential challenges, benefits, and guidelines for best practice of mindfulness when used as a therapeutic approach for trauma.

Mindfulness, Trauma, Prevention, Therapy
Religious Community and Socialization
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Timothy Pedigo

Assistant Professor, Division of Psychology and Counseling, Governors State University, United States
United States

I am an assistant professor at Governors State University where I teach mindfulness courses to graduate and undergraduate students. I am also a meditation instructor and coordinator of the Matteson Shambhala group in the Shambhala Meditation Tradition. I have authored articles on the relationship between mindfulness and psychotherapy and social-emotional learning in education.

Patricia Robey

I am a full professor and interim chair for the Division of Psychology & Counseling at Governors State University in Illinois, USA. I am a licensed professional counselor. I apply mindfulness to all of my courses, my work with clients, and in my personal life. I am also a senior faculty member of The William Glasser Institute. I teach Glasser's concept of Choice Theory and practice of Reality Therapy to people all around the world. My goal is to influence the people with whom I come in contact to adopt skills that will lead to more satisfying relationships with others and within themselves.