I was an undergrad at the University of Michigan at the time Eastern philosophy (Buddhism, etc) was influencing Western psychological thought and treatment. Western approaches had been dominated by the disease model which involved identifying pathology and eliminating or curing it. The problem with this approach is that life problems and suffering are intimately intertwined with who we are. The Eastern idea that building upon one's ability for compassionate and non judgmental self awareness (mindfulness) can lead to a more peaceful acceptance of who we are and can in turn open the door to growth and change made sense to me. Although considered 'fringy' back then, the psychotherapy tool of mindfulness has caught on like wildfire across the US since the 2000s
I teach the tool of mindfulness as a means for becoming more aware of thoughts and feelings - and old patterns of behavior - that perpetuate suffering. All of the other tools of therapy become more powerful when self-awareness is enhanced. Mindful awareness can enable one to become more aware of feelings at a deeper level, and more aware of automatic and habitual thoughts. Catching oneself at the early stages of anger, in the early stages of becoming attached to negative or anxiety producing thoughts, can create more opportunities for change. Greater awareness of feelings can create an opportunity for tolerating and processing feelings as an alternative to acting out on them, or harboring them.
Upon completing my undergrad degree in psychology at U of M, I spent 2 years working as a psychologist in Ohio. It was during this time that my interest in psychology and consciousness became supercharged. I decided to go back to school at California School of Professional Psychology, where I was awarded a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1980.
I have been married for almost 35 years. My husband and I have 3 adult children. Through the years, the mindfulness tools that I learned through my own practice have helped me in my efforts to staying calm, centered, and balanced - a state of being that is no more challenging to achieve than in family life!
Patricia Lyman ReachesKalamazoo MI