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Mindfulness Group

Mindfulness Curriculum at Aris Clinic Intensive Outpatient Program

At Aris Clinic’s IOP, our mindfulness based curriculum seeks to provide ways for our kids to listen to their own bodies, thoughts, and feelings in order to begin trusting in their own experiences. In a sense, we try to teach our kids a new way of experiencing themselves and therefore a new way of looking at problems, coming to terms with what life has offered them, and a new sense of being in more control. This way of being more in tune with our experience is called mindfulness.

To the observer unfamiliar with mindfulness practices, watching someone lying on their backs while taking deep breaths might look a little goofy. Some people might be tempted to chalk it up to mysticism and some even worry that it is some form of religious instruction. In reality, none of that is true. We believe this misunderstanding exists because many people are not sure what is really taking place when people are practicing mindful awareness, which is that mindfulness is really all about paying attention to our own experiences! So really, mindfulness is something we are all already familiar with, as most of us, on some level, have experience with tuning into our bodies, thoughts, and feelings. However, we are going to suggest that many of our patients spend much of their day on “autopilot”, unaware of how their thoughts, feelings, and bodily experiences influence them from moment-to-moment.

During times of emotional crisis our thoughts and feelings can become so frantic and overwhelming that they can easily cloud our ability to make healthy, informed choices for ourselves. During these times we believe that our patients likely spend large amounts of time and energy ruminating about events that are now a part of the past. They may also spend large amounts of energy and time ruminating about things that might or might not be in the future. During these times, we believe that our patients lose out on the opportunity to access their internal resources and make well-informed, healthy decisions for themselves. We hope to provide opportunities for your child to learn how to approach emotional crisis with more clarity, and thus more freedom to care for themselves and make positive choices.

At the Aris Clinic IOP we provide at least three hours of mindfulness based instruction per week. This instruction is in addition to psychoeducational topic groups, psychotherapy groups, psychiatric consultation, and family therapy meetings. Mindfulness based instruction will include basic education, relaxation activities, and experiential activities. Each week we will be sending home a group schedule, letting you know what topics and exercises we will be inviting your children to participate in, and suggesting some exercises you might want to try at home. If at any point you should have questions about your child’s participation in any of our therapeutic programming, we invite you to bring those concerns to your next family therapy meeting, so that your therapist can address your concerns in person.

Why the Aris Clinic IOP Uses a Mindful Awareness-based Curriculum for Their Therapeutic Groups

Research has shown that regular mindfulness practice can reduce:

  • Anxiety and panic symptoms
  • Depressive relapse
  • Overall psychological stress in both clinical and “healthy” populations
  • Teacher reported problem behavior
  • Test anxiety
  • Tendency to ruminate about the past or future (anxiety)
  • ADHD related problem behaviors

Research has shown that regular mindfulness practice can also improve:

  • Self-reported calmness
  • Ability to relax
  • Self-esteem
  • Overall academic performance
  • Selective attention
  • Acceptance of self and others
  • Awareness of unhelpful thought patterns
  • Awareness of unhelpful behavioral patterns

1 in 5 children ages 13-18 in the U.S. need mental health services; only 20% are likely to receive professional help

Source: National Institute of Mental Health