VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Mindfulness Matters: Practices for Counselors and Counselor Education
Karen L. Caldwell
There is abundant research evidence that empathic responding and related skills can be taught by combining instruction, modeling, and feedback. While easily taught, these skills are not necessarily internalized by students (Lambert & Ogles, 1997; Lambert & Simon, 2008). Greason and Cashwell (2009) concluded from their review of literature that counselor education training has focused on external and observable behaviors such as mirroring and reflection of feeling rather than cultivating the internal habits of mind needed to control attention and respond with both cognitive and affective empathy. In addition, other counselor educators have noted that students’ development of cognitive complexity has been a haphazard process and piecemeal (Choate & Granello, 2006; Fong, Borders, Ethington, & Pitts, 1997). Mindfulness practices have been used to train other health care practitioners in attention and empathic response and may be useful in counselor education programs. The purpose of this paper is to describe the characteristics of mindfulness, review the literature on mindfulness practices used in the education of health care practitioners, offer several exercises that can be used in counselor education as means of developing mindfulness, and encourage research into this promising educational practice.