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“When the Student is Ready: The Pause Arrives!”

“When the Student is Ready: The Pause Arrives!“


L.T. Force, Ph.D.


Where to start? That is the question. Where to start? Let’s start at the beginning with a statement I believe we all agree with: "We all have stuff!”. Yes, as individuals and as members of family systems and friendship circles - “We all have stuff!”. As I share with my clients when we first meet - at the first session - I reference as the: “landscape session” (where you get to know: “who’s who and what’s what” i.e., what brings the person in to seeking therapy?) I share with my clients: “I am not your hero. I can’t fix you….because you are not broken….We all have stuff! I also share with them, from my perspective, the best Therapist you can find - is one you forget….because you have then returned or forged ahead into the rhythm of your own life”. But the question is: “what is the best way forward in plowing through, burning through….or untangling this Stuff"? And remember, we all have Stuff!

About 6-years ago, I was introduced to the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his work in developing the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at Massachusetts General Medical Center: Kabat-Zinn’s original work was with chronically ill patients - and the staff at Mass General. This work resulted in his 1990 (revised, 2013) published book: “Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness”:….a well received national Best Seller.

Fast forward, in 2017, I participated in a funded research project teaching caregivers of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities how to use Mindfulness Stress Reduction approaches to reduce stress. One of the paradigms we placed emphasis on - is the value found in: “Pause-Thought and/or Pause-Breathe-Thought”. The program was successful and well received. How do I know that - because of the participant feedback we received and the fact the funding agency continually renewed our grant support. As of this writing, we are now using a virtual platform to provide training opportunities for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities themselves to utilize a Mindfulness Stress Reduction to reduce stress: MPowerMe: (In December 2019, I had the opportunity, with a group of friends, to attend a presentation by Jon Kabat-Zinn in New York City. I have always been impressed by the work and genuineness of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn).

The point of the historical perspective, and my knowledge and awareness of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work, is: “it has only been recently that I really get it!”. For years, his book: “Full Catastrophe Living“ has been on my bookshelf. To tell you the truth, initially, I really didn’t even understand or connect with the title of his work: “Full Catastrophe Living“. “But, I get it now!". Remember, what I believe: “We all have stuff! Every person and every family has stuff! Mine included!”.

Last month, I was having a conversation with a dear friend of mine, Dr. Geri Abbatiello. She started to reference an article she had recently read - comparing the outcome of using Zoloft - in comparison to utilizing a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) practice. She said what she got from reading the article - was the author was suggesting that a MBSR practice could be as effective as using a psychotropic medication regime in addressing anxiety or depressive manifestations. However, she added to our conversation: “However, a Mindfulness Practice is more work”. Bingo! A light went off in my head! That evening, I removed Kabat-Zinn’s book from my bookshelf and began to re-read it. I truly understand his title now: “Full Catastrophe Living” and what he is stating….there is a full life in living through catastrophes. The point is, just like all individuals and families have stuff….all individuals and families have catastrophes. Kabat-Zinn’s work in the use of meditation and a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) approach is a powerful tool in helping one: “Stay in the moment….focus on the breath….and live life fully in addressing difficult and stressful times”. (I now have deliberately incorporated into my daily life a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) practice….and I do see and feel the difference, in me). Thank-you Dr. Geri Abbatiello for sharing your insights….so valuable. Thank-you Dr. Jon Kabot-Zinn, for sharing your message and wisdom with the world….your work makes a difference for many….myself included! This student is ready…. "there is a fire in the sky….burning away the dark clouds of doubts, concerns, anxieties and worries”….the Pause has arrived!


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