Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship

Edited by Steven F. Hick and Thomas Bien
Foreword by Zindel V. Segal

Paperbacke-bookprint + e-book
July 21, 2010
ISBN 9781609180195
Price: $31.00
240 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
Copyright Date: 2008
March 1, 2011
ePub ?
Price: $31.00
240 Pages
Copyright Date: 2008
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $62.00 $34.10
240 Pages

A number of books have explored the ways psychotherapy clients can benefit from learning and practicing mindfulness. This is the first volume to focus specifically on how mindfulness can deepen the therapeutic relationship. Grounded in research, chapters demonstrate how therapists' own mindfulness practice can help them to listen more attentively and be more fully present. Leading proponents of different treatment approaches—including behavioral, psychodynamic, and family systems perspectives—illustrate a variety of ways that mindfulness principles can complement standard techniques and improve outcomes by strengthening the connection between therapist and client. Also presented are practical strategies for integrating mindfulness into clinical training.

“The book's interest lies not in the gradual unfolding of a complex line of argument but rather in an exploration of how these fairly straightforward propositions might play out in the hands of experienced and creative therapists, working in different contexts and with differing models of psychotherapy....I enjoyed this book....Fascinating, with much food for thought. The authors and editors have illuminated an area ripe for investigation and one that richly deserves research, as they almost universally recognize.”

Journal of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

“This may come to be seen as a groundbreaking text. In it, contributions from the fields of psychology, addictions, family therapy, and social work highlight the primary, integrative role that the authors believe mindfulness plays in the development of the therapeutic relationship and, thus, in the efficacy of therapy....I found the book powerful....I hope social work will thoughtfully consider the value and place of a practice as potentially radical as mindfulness. Hick and Bien do a great service in laying the foundation for that exploration.”

Social Service Review

“Represents an important addition to the literature on including mindfulness principles in Western psychological practice....The book effectively integrates Buddhist theory with Western psychological concepts. It also establishes that other practices, such as compassion and loving-kindness meditations, may be of future interest to Western researchers....The authors effectively establish their position that mindfulness practice may greatly enhance and deepen the relationship between therapist and client, therefore likely improving upon treatment outcomes.”

Journal of Psychosomatic Research

“This book provides direction for the application of and research on the use of mindfulness in clinical care....The authors' focus on the relationship between client and clinician spirituality is an important new direction for the literature....This book would be a nice addition to anyone's professional library who is interested in using spiritual practices to inform the provision of clinical care.”

Journal of Contemporary Social Services

Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship serves us well as a required book in the Adult Psychotherapy concentration at the doctoral level. We teach and practice mindfulness at this level because it fosters presence, attention, and empathy in therapy, and also supports students' well-being as they go through graduate school. The book anchors the practice, illuminates it with theoretical understanding, and fosters cognitive flexibility. The topic and multiple viewpoints fit the needs of the class, and at an affordable price, too.”

—Alex Suarez, PhD, Core Faculty, School of Applied Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy, Antioch University Seattle

“Mindfulness is not an esoteric topic relevant only to a few therapists—it is a process that profoundly changes how we think about the nature and goals of therapeutic work itself. No recent book shows that more than this one, which illuminates the social nature of consciousness and carefully lays out the implications of mindfulness for compassion, connection, and relationship. We have long known that a powerful therapeutic relationship is a key to success in therapy. This book begins to show how we can use ancient wisdom to cultivate that relationship.”

—Steven C. Hayes, PhD, codeveloper of acceptance and commitment therapy; Foundation Professor of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno

“Mindfulness and psychotherapy have quite naturally found each other in ways that allow both patients and therapists to reap the benefits of embedding awareness practices within a traditional therapeutic frame. In this important volume, Steven Hick, Thomas Bien, and their contributors embark on a much-needed discussion of the contours of this emerging synthesis, through a multifaceted examination of the connection between the therapeutic relationship and mindfulness practice....The beauty of this book is that it allows the reader to look at the space between these two sources and see how a bridge between them, perhaps a trestle at first, is starting to be built.”

—from the Foreword by Zindel V. Segal, PhD, Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada

“This fascinating, clinically fertile, and wide-ranging work illuminates and interweaves what may well be the two most significant themes in contemporary psychotherapy: the 'discovery' that therapy is a process of transformation through relationship and the introduction into clinical work of a 2500-year-old tradition of mindful awareness. Exactly how these developments may be integrated is the question addressed by the contributors to this scholarly yet accessible volume. Their responses are by turns practical, thought provoking, and inspiring. Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship will doubtless prove a valued resource for novice and seasoned clinicians alike.”

—David J. Wallin, PhD, private practice, Mill Valley and Albany, California

“Hick and Bien present a timely discussion at the intersection of two topics that have recently captured much-deserved attention in the psychotherapy field. Leading scholars from diverse orientations address mindfulness and the therapeutic relationship with regard to issues of definition, measurement, treatment, and training. The result is a significant contribution to the literature—one that will be greatly appreciated by clinical practitioners, researchers, graduate students, and instructors.”

—J. Christopher Muran, PhD, Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University, and Psychotherapy Research Program, Beth Israel Medical Center

Table of Contents

I. Theory and Practice

1. Cultivating Therapeutic Relationships: The Role of Mindfulness, Steven F. Hick

2. The Therapeutic Relationship: Central and Essential in Psychotherapy Outcome, Michael J. Lambert and Witold Simon

II. Therapeutic Presence

3. The Four Immeasurable Minds: Preparing to Be Present in Psychotherapy, Thomas Bien

4. Anatta: Self, Non-Self, and the Therapist, Paul R. Fulton

5. Mindfulness and Empathy: A Hermeneutic Circle, Russell A. Walsh

III. Therapeutic Presence in Different Types of Treatment

6. Mindfulness, Values, and Therapeutic Relationship in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Kelly G. Wilson and Emily K. Sandoz

7. Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention for Substance Abusers: Therapist Training and Therapeutic Relationships, G. Alan Marlatt, Sarah Bowen, Neha Chawla, and Katie Witkiewitz

8. Mindfulness, Metacommunication, and Affect Regulation in Psychoanalytic Treatment, Jeremy D. Safran and Romy Reading

9. Relational Mindfulness and Dialogic Space in Family Therapy, Mishka Lysack

IV. Teaching and Listening

10. Meditation: A Universal Tool for Cultivating Empathy, Shauna L. Shapiro and Christin D. Izett

11. Inviting Therapeutic Presence: A Mindfulness-Based Approach, Diane Gehart and Eric E. McCollum

12. Cultivating Mindfulness in Relationship: Insight Dialogue and the Interpersonal Mindfulness Program, Gregory Kramer, Florence Meleo-Meyer, and Martha Lee Turner

13. Mindful Listening for Better Outcomes, Rebecca Shafir

Epilogue, Steven F. Hick and Thomas Bien

About the Editors

Steven F. Hick, PhD, RSW, is Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where he teaches in the areas of mindfulness, human rights practice, social worker formation, and community development. The author or editor of a number of books, including the leading social work text in Canada, Dr. Hick is at the forefront in the use of mindfulness in social work practice, and has recently begun research on mindfulness. He is cofounder of War Child Canada, a nonprofit organization that helps children affected by war.

Thomas Bien, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he teaches mindfulness and meditation. The author or coauthor of several books on mindfulness, Dr. Bien conducts national and international presentations, and has played an influential role in integrating mindfulness into the practice of psychotherapy.


Thomas Bien, PhD, private practice, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sarah Bowen, PhD, Addictive Behaviors Research Center, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Neha Chawla, MS, Addictive Behaviors Research Center, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Paul R. Fulton, EdD, Tufts Health Plan, Newton Center, Massachusetts

Diane Gehart, PhD, LMFT, Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, California

Steven F. Hick, PhD, School of Social Work, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Christin D. Izett, MA, Department of Psychology, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California

Gregory Kramer, PhD, Metta Foundation, Portland, Oregon

Michael J. Lambert, PhD, Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

Mishka Lysack, PhD, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, and Calgary Family Therapy Centre, Calgary Alberta, Canada

G. Alan Marlatt, PhD, Addictive Behaviors Research Center, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Eric E. McCollum, PhD, LCSW, LMFT, Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Virginia Tech University-Northern Virginia Center, Falls Church, Virginia

Florence Meleo-Meyer, MA, Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts

Romy Reading, MA, Department of Psychology, New School for Social Research, New York, New York

Jeremy D. Safran, PhD, Department of Psychology, New School for Social Research, New York, New York

Emily K. Sandoz, MS, Department of Psychology, University of Mississippi, University, Mississippi

Rebecca Shafir, MA, CCC, Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health, Sudbury, Massachusetts

Shauna L. Shapiro, PhD, Department of Counseling Psychology, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California

Witold Simon, MD, PhD, Department of Neurotic Disorders and Psychotherapy, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland

Martha Lee Turner, PhD, Metta Foundation, Evanston, Illinois

Russell A. Walsh, PhD, Department of Psychology, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Kelly G. Wilson, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Mississippi, University, Mississippi

Katie Witkiewitz, PhD, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington


Psychotherapists from a range of backgrounds, including clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, couple and family therapists, and counselors; students in these areas.

Course Use

May serve as a text in graduate-level courses in psychotherapy, social work clinical practice, mindfulness and mental health, spirituality in psychotherapy, and related topics.