This book is written to support clinicians or therapists to use Heart Led Psychotherapy with their clients. It provides a valuable alternative to traditional forms of psychotherapy by placing an emphasis on purpose and meaning. It also teaches clinicians or therapists how to incorporate a spiritual perspective within their working practice using a BioPsychoSocialSpiritual approach to treating psychological distress and HLP can also be integrated with different psychotherapies.
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Illustrated by case studies to highlight key points, and including a range of practical resource exercises and strategies, this engaging book will have wide appeal to therapists and clinicians from a variety of backgrounds. Whilst written with the clinician or therapist in mind, the principles and ideas, exercises and meditations in HLP can be used by anyone regardless of whether they are a clinician, therapist, client or just someone wanting to evolve on their spiritual journey.
MINDFULNESS and MEDITATION EXERCISES
Mindfulness has a significant role in HLP. In her book, Alexandra details how many of us spend most of our time in the ‘Thought Bubble’, creating our own horror movies by churning over the numerous thoughts that bombard us in life. She details how to start living a mindful life and discusses the difference between informal and formal aspects of mindfulness. For many starting on this journey, the best approach is to start with an informal practice which doesn’t take any extra time and involves learning to connect to everything you can see, hear, smell, touch, taste etc. in the present moment; learning to be fully present in the here and now.
Formal mindfulness does take a bit of extra time in the day to go within and learn to notice and learn to embrace and accept whatever is found using meditation. Meditation is nothing wackier than learning how to sit with and embrace whatever you notice within. You don’t have to be Buddhist or sit in a certain position to meditate although adopting a healthy posture and finding a quiet space to meditate can really help. Meditation can be particularly challenging for many who begin on the mindfulness journey so mastering informal mindfulness is probably the best way to begin.
Alexandra is planning to upload more meditations onto You Tube so please feel free to subscribe so that you can have access to these when they go live.
The breath is always within us whilst we are alive. Learning to connect to the movement of the breath into and out of our bodies is an amazing and powerful way of bringing ourselves back into the moment. We can use mindful breathing wherever we are and whatever situation we find ourselves in, whether at home, work or school, or when we are out somewhere.
Alexandra has a simple meditation exercise on how to practice mindful breathing on You Tube. When we use the mindful breathing throughout the day, the intention is to stay mindfully awake. However, if you are struggling with sleep: either dropping off to sleep or finding yourself waking up in the night and being plagued by thoughts, using mindful breathing at night time is a really effective way of bringing your awareness back to your breath and it is ok to have the intention of falling back to sleep.
The New Extended Light Stream
This is a gentle yet very effective resource to use to find inner calm and peace. It is a visualisation exercise that is divided into 4 parts.
• Mindful breathing.
• Light stream where you are guided to imagine a healing light filling their body.
• Grounding techniques where you imagine roots from their body, like roots from an oak tree entering the ground below.
• Protection, where you imagine yourself surrounded by a protective bubble or shield that only lets the positive thoughts and energy enter within.
The Heartful Meditation exercise has five optional stages where a few phrases are held in mind whilst being connected to the heart area. The heart area may represent your source of unconditional love, compassion and your truth. The phrases in Heartful Meditation are:
May I be open to giving and receiving love,
may I be free from suffering and pain,
may I live a life of grace and compassion.
In the first stage, you are asked to connect to your heart area and bring to mind the above phrases whilst thinking of yourself. The second is repeating the phrases whilst thinking of a close person who has shown you unconditional love. The third stage is repeating the phrases whilst thinking of a neutral person (someone you may see at the supermarket or when out walking, but that they do not have any personal connection with you) and the fourth stage is repeating the phrases whilst thinking of someone who has caused you discomfort or suffering. Finally, the phrases are repeated and can be extended as far as your mind will allow to include all living beings, creatures and life on the planet and universe.
Soulful Meditation is similar to the Heartful Meditation but this time connecting at a soul level. This may be a particular place in the body, all over, or just an awareness of the presence of the higher sense, a sense of ‘knowing’ or ‘intuition’ at a soul level.
It is important not to force anything to happen, just connect with whatever comes up at a soul level. This can be further extended to connecting to a higher source, whether it is the Divine Source, God, your own personal team of guides, teachers, helpers and angels. It is important to make sure the intention is set to only ask for support and guidance that comes from a loving, positive source which is for your highest good.
As with the Heartful Meditation, there are five optional stages and when connecting to the soul the following phrases are held in mind before dropping them into the soul: