Lynette Monterio co-founded the Ottawa Mindfulness Clinic with Frank Musten. These professionals are situated in Ottawa, ON and I like to support local resources. I picked this book up and quickly realized it would be a beneficial resource for my psychotherapy clients. I want to share why with you!
Overall I found the layout of the book well done and simplistic. Mindfulness practice can be overwhelming for individuals, especially those in mental health distress. Mindfulness could be viewed as a very broad and abstract concept that is so different from how one may live their everyday life and therefore be quickly disregarded as effective. This is why with my clients I start slowly.
Mindfulness Starts Here breaks down ways on how to use the book. There is a specific note that suggests picking favourites out of the overall mindfulness practice can undermine the intention and bigger picture of the eight week guide to skillful living. I must admit that I do use this book as an introduction together with other tools with my clients. There are times where I am simply reading excerpts of the book to my clients with the intention to tie in key learnings. Although I am not against the suggestion to follow the book in sequence I would not disregard the value of the book if you wanted to seek out bits and pieces to help inform you about mindfulness practice and related benefits. I think there are key nuggets of information throughout the book that can help one become more clear about what the practice is and how it may benefit them. This can be a good first start to doing the book in sequence as suggested.
I also picked this book up for the reasons earlier mentioned and because I enjoy the holistic nature of the teaching behind mindfulness. In the foreword of the book it lays this out nicely…
“Mindfulness is not about doing something strange, exotic, or anti-social. It is about letting ourselves open to the depths and richness of the present moment…”
The book often references the concept of trains to nowhere (concept credited to Joseph Goldstein) or rather the mindless peripheral paths one can get stuck on. Trains to nowhere, this image is a helpful way of visualizing what is happening in the moment. This includes racing thoughts and how we can get lost in those thoughts sometimes to the point of debilitating us.
I particularly enjoyed reading the experiences of Jason in Mindfulness Starts Here. The awakenings he experienced while doing a mindfulness program add a level of connection to the reader. This level of connection assists in understanding the broad nature of mindfulness or present moment teaching. The experience for the reader can give a relatable sense of – if he can do it, so can I. I enjoyed Jason’s specific awareness that came about in his practice as it related to fatigue and becoming aware of feeling the sensation rather than mindlessly escaping on the train to nowhere.
There are chapters in Mindfulness Starts Here that include understanding illness, stress and distress; well-being and creating intention plus the experience of noticing (something those I work with will know I use a lot)! Understanding roadblocks and traps as well as awareness of the body, emotions, sensations and thoughts are also discussed. There are easy to understand diagrams and suggestions for mindfulness practice throughout.
Jon Kabut-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction speaks about mindfulness as awareness and being present. Mindfulness is not something we do, it is a state of being. I also suggest if you are interested in pursuing mindfulness as a method to help you in your life, please work with a qualified mental health professional. Even if just to get started so as to ensure you are supported throughout your journey.
I recommend this book to psychotherapy clients who are actively ready to pursue a treatment format that requires some day-to-day work on their part. Mindfulness is a holistic treatment approach for those looking to inform themselves of a new way of being.
If you want to learn a new way of being, check out Mindfulness Starts Here: An Eight-Week Guide to Skillful Living By: Lynette Monterio, PhD and Frank Musten, PhD
note: this is not a paid advertisement, I just really like this resource!
If you are interested in working with Julie Clarke, Registered Psychotherapist send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tele-Mental health services are provided by On Call Health. Reliable internet connect is required. You must be 17 years or older for this service. Tele-Mental health is one of Julie’s favourite ways of providing therapy services!