Agoraphobics and those with social anxiety and shyness issues are often searching for more self-help tools and strategies to help them better manage their anxiety. Often, they are highly motivated to overcome their anxiety, but are afraid of venturing out of their safe zone. Online counselling and therapy provides a convenient and effective solution.
Most of the clients that I work with in the office or online through Skype ( Skype Therapy ) are highly motivated to make changes in their lives and want to overcome the root cause of their anxiety or depression (See Online Anxiety Therapy ). They want to get better, but don’t know how to work with the underlying core emotions that keep them trapped in cycles of emotional suffering.
Mindfulness Meditation Therapy(MMT) is a form of therapy that develops your ability to form a therapeutic relationship with your inner core emotions; your fears, anxiety and depression in which you first learn to stop the proliferation of reactivity and then embrace the painful emotion with the healing space of mindfulness.
How does mindfulness work? At the most basic level, mindfulness teaches us to recognize our habitual patterns of cognitive reactivity – the backbone of anxiety disorders and depression. This negative self-talk, based on negative beliefs constrains and imprisons us. Habitual reactivity has tremendous power over, yet most of us are not really aware of these reactions as they arise. So, the first task is to simply become aware of our habitual reactions and learn to respond to them with mindful-awareness, rather than simply falling under their spell. We need to take the initiative and catch these negative thoughts before they catch us. This is the first part of mindfulness therapy that I describe in my book “ The Path of Mindfulness Meditation” as the Recognition Phase.
Each moment of recognition introduces a brief but highly significant space in which we have a moment of freedom and choice. This inner space, which is the essence of mindfulness, can be developed and cultivated. Reactivity takes away our freedom; mindfulness restores this inner freedom. Learning to be aware and become an observer of our inner thoughts and emotional reactions is essential. We have to begin to step out of our habitual mode of reactive thinking and step into a wider dimension that we call the dimension of pure awareness – the natural state of knowing mental objects instead of reacting to them. Each moment of mindfulness is a small but powerful victory, and with each conscious encounter, we strengthen the mindfulness muscle and increase the amount of time we spend as the observer, rather than being imprisoned in the observed. Gradually, we break free from the compulsive bondage and identification with our habitual thinking, and in this process of inner liberation, our innate intelligence is finally given the freedom to operate. As our intuitive intelligence comes into play, the internal structure of our emotional suffering is able to change and transform in a beneficial direction that will eventually lead to healing.
The faculty of mindfulness, like the observational skills of the hunter or scientist can be developed through practice, and this is what I teach when working with clients online through Skype therapy sessions. But, as I frequently point out, this is not the end of mindfulness practice but just the beginning. When clients begin to create a space around their anxiety or panic, the emotion begins to respond in direct proportion. It starts to become malleable and fluid and regains emotional plasticity; the emotion starts to unfold and change in this inner therapeutic space provided through mindfulness. We all have the innate intelligence that will naturally heal emotional suffering; a point taught by the Buddha over 2500 years ago, but in order for healing to occur there must be the inner freedom and spacious presence of mindful-awareness.
Often what unfolds is some form of imagery. Many of the agoraphobics that I have worked with are surprised to discover intense imagery at the core of their emotional complex, and frequently this imagery encodes the emotional energy that powers the negative beliefs, reactive thinking, worry and panic. As I have described in some of my other articles, experiential imagery is a very rich medium to work with, because it is tangible, and as the imagery is allowed to change, so too will the emotions. But for change to happen, there must be space and inner freedom; all provided by the remarkable form of awareness that we call mindfulness.
The medium of Skype is an excellent way of learning and means that you can be in control of the process of your own healing. All you need is a computer fitted with a videocam, and Skype, which you can download for free. Simply go to my website, learn more about Mindfulness Meditation Therapyand when you are ready send me an email and we will schedule a Skype therapy session.