The Difference Between Therapy or Counseling, and Mindfulness

Your thinking and emotions affect the way you interact with the world – yet much of what you think and believe is unconscious. Negative thoughts and beliefs limit you and cause you emotional and relational suffering. Both therapy and mindfulness can help you uncover your unconscious thinking and beliefs. Developing this awareness can help you live a more authentic life and feel more alive in the moment.

Counseling and therapy can be slightly different. Counseling is more often focused on a specific issue, such as a problem with your marriage or job. Once the problem is resolved, the counseling ends. Therapy tends to be more long-term and focuses on you as an individual over a range of issues and experiences. Various types of therapy can help you probe the influence of the past on the present – understand how your patterns of behavior are interfering with your goals, improve your relationship with others, express feelings, interpret dreams and other helpful practices. Therapy can also be useful for those with severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia or major depression, to help them manage life activities.

Mindfulness sessions are not therapy or counseling – rather educational—and they can be woven into counseling or therapy. While therapy or counseling usually try to “fix” problems, mindfulness takes a different approach – awareness and acceptance. Mindfulness aligns with words of psychologist Carl Rogers, “The curious paradox is that, when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” Often, we feel like we are human improvement projects, for example, “I need to be thinner, better at work or with relationships, exercise more…” yet, in accepting yourself just as you are, you may find relief from the nagging sense of not good enough and want to take better care of yourself because you realize that you are good enough!

Mindfulness also trains the brain for focus and attention. Science shows that the human mind often drifts to negative stories of the past and fears of the future. Mindfulness teaches you how to release these thoughts to be more present in your day. You will learn acceptance of what you cannot change and how to let go of the additional suffering your mind creates in resistance. One of the key cultivations in mindfulness is equanimity—an emotional evenness with whatever arises in the moment. Mindfulness can also teach you how to communicate more effectively. With mindfulness, you can tune into the human experience—messy, painful, and difficult—with more compassion for yourself and others.

Mindfulness is a helpful tool, and nothing can replace the power in healing your negative thoughts, emotions, and relationships, with a well-trained professional. It is important to seek out the help that you need and be willing to learn how you can live your life with less stress and more gratitude. For more information or to explore our mindfulness classes, contact Mindful Being Houston today.