How Can Meditation Be Used in Therapy?

How Can Meditation Be Used in Therapy?

Do you know what is so remarkable about meditation? Anyone can do it.

Meditation doesn’t seek to transform individuals into someone they are not but instead trains them in awareness to becoming a healthier version of themselves, physically and mentally.

The Process of Meditation

The goal of meditation is to achieve a state of thoughtless awareness, during which a person is unconsciously mindful of sensations at the present moment.

To appreciate how meditation can impact an individual’s life, one must first understand the knowledge of the Vedic scripts of ancient India, where meditation initially originated. Vedic science implies that humans have three aspects through associated functions: the physical body, the inner faculty (working consciousness), and the deep inner self (nonchanging pure consciousness).

According to Vedic science, the deep inner self activates the inner faculty, which stimulates the physical body. Consequently, meditation provides a “feedback loop” where a conscious connection is formed with the deep inner self, providing inner peace and happiness.

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years through many religious traditions, and many meditative methods began in Eastern traditions. Since the 1960s, meditation has become popular in Western nations, particularly the United States.

Types of Meditation Used for Therapy

While the 1960s saw substantial research efforts in observing the effects of transcendental meditation, the 1990s took considerable interest in other types of mindfulness meditation which continue to progress into the present.

Some types of meditation engage in keeping a mental focus on a specific sensation or a recurring word or phrase. Others involve the practice of mindfulness, which entails maintaining awareness of the present moment without making decisions.

Most research on the influences of meditation was without much theoretical foundation. It has generally been limited to four types of meditation: transcendental meditation, which is a mantra meditation, along with mindfulness-based approaches such as focused attention meditation, open-monitoring meditation, and loving-kindness meditation.

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation is a form of meditation that allows the mind to settle in a quiet space and the body into a state of deep sleep.

Those who practice transcendental meditation may encounter less stress and anxiety within minutes. Long-term practice can lead to positive changes, including lower stress levels, reduced anxiety, and positive life satisfaction.

Transcendental meditation focuses on a single mantra repeated silently. The mantra can be different for each individual; those whom complete training programs are usually assigned mantras based on their characteristics.

Focused Attention Meditation

Focused attention meditation practice cultivates attentional control and observational skills, focusing on breathing and seeking to stay in a monitoring state.

When practicing focused attention meditation, the individual remains in the present but focuses entirely on one thing. Usually, the person will concentrate on sounds, visual aids, smells, or breathing patterns. Anything else that may pose as a distraction, such as physical sensations, surrounding noise, or interfering thoughts, must be disregarded by constantly relaying attention to the same focus point.

Open Monitoring Meditation

Contrary to focused attention meditation, open-monitoring meditation trains the person to focus on nothing and hold each sensation similarly.

Open monitoring meditation involves the individual being open to perceiving and observing any feeling or thought without focusing on a concept in mind or a fixed item; therefore, attention is flexible and unrestricted.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Loving-kindness meditation is a technique that can be used to boost well-being and reduce stress. Individuals who consistently practice loving-kindness meditation can increase their capacity for forgiveness, connection to others, self-acceptance, compassion, sympathy, and unconditional kindness.

Benefits of Practicing Meditation for Mental Health

Throughout the meditation process, increased stresses are absolved, energy is boosted, and health is positively impacted. Scientific research has established a myriad of benefits correlated with the practice of meditation, including:

  • Reduced stress levels
  • Decreased anxiety symptoms
  • Decreased depression
  • Reduced physical and psychological pain
  • Improved memory
  • Increased efficiency
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Healthier heart rate
  • Reduced lactate, cortisol, and epinephrine
  • Decreased metabolism
  • Improved breathing patterns
  • Better oxygen utilization and carbon dioxide elimination
  • Increased melatonin
  • Relative blood flow to the brain
  • Reduced cholesterol
  • Decreased sympathetic overstimulation

In addition, some types of meditation can even physically change a person’s brain and increase parts of the brain associated with problem-solving, mental resilience, and emotional regulation, allowing the individual to become stronger and experience improved mental health overall.

Meditations have remarkable benefits for a plethora of conditions and overall mental health. While many different meditations are efficient, each type offers a unique approach, and some forms may feel more relaxing and comfortable than others. The practice that feels right is the one to practice because those are the ones you will continue to utilize.

Meditation practices have a variety of mental health benefits and may help people improve their quality of life. If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health problems, we want to help. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in San Diego, CA, offers exceptional care with comprehensive treatment plans tailored to each client's individual needs. We specialize in complex psychiatric conditions, providing the opportunity for clients to learn and practice life and work skills to live independently. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute’s four-phase model of acclimation, resocialization, developing life skills, and obtaining independence promotes healthy modifications while providing a foundation to build toward success. We understand how challenging it can be to manage life, let alone mental health. We are here to support you from crisis to independence in our healing environment with caring team members to meet your needs for a successful recovery. Call (760) 477-4754 to learn about our treatment programs.