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Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy: Techniques for Clinical Practice

ISBN: 978-0-470-92057-2
320 pages
November 2010
Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy: Techniques for Clinical Practice (0470920572) cover image
Praise for Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy

"From the wisdom of ancient cultures to modern neuroscience, the authors skillfully create a bridge of understanding between the practice of meditation, yoga, and psychotherapy. The Simpkins are at their best in describing how everyone can learn to integrate their own brain, body, and mind to facilitate a creative synchrony of healing and well-being."
Kathryn Rossi, PhD Coeditor, Collected Works of Milton H. Erickson: The Nature of Therapeutic Hypnosis

"This reader-friendly text is directed toward therapists and healthcare workers who are considering incorporating yoga and meditation into their work. These technologies are time-honored and appear to have beneficial effects on contemporary clients and patients. Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy serves as an informative introduction to these¿practices, and explains how a therapist might integrate such practices into their work. The chapters on neuroscience research and healthy aging are unique in books of this nature, and the discussion of alleviating depression alone is worth the price of the book."
Stanley Krippner, PhDProfessor of Psychology, Saybrook UniversityCoauthor, Haunted by Combat: Understanding PTSD in War Veterans

A thoughtful and pragmatic guide for integrating meditation and yoga techniques into traditional psychotherapy

Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy is an inspiring "how-to" guide grounded in the neuroscientific and clinical evidence that supports the use of meditation and other yoga practices to improve clients' mental health.

Drawing from the authors' decades of practice, teaching, and writing, this inspiring book is focused on applying meditation, yoga, and Zen to therapy, with discussion of:

  • The latest neuroscience findings, showing how the brain and larger nervous system are altered by yoga methods

  • Philosophical and psychological principles upon which yoga is based

  • The how, when, and why for use of specific techniques with common psychological problems

  • Fundamental stretching exercises and meditation techniques

Filled with vivid case examples and writings from renowned yoga masters, Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy encourages a therapeutic process in which clients move their attention from outside concerns to inner mindfulness. With a range of techniques that embrace the diversity and uniqueness of clients, this book offers methods to creatively individualize techniques for a wide variety of presenting problems.

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Preface xi

How Yoga Can Help the Th erapeutic Process xii

Yoga's Popularity xiv

About Th is Book xiv

Part I: Efficacy and Neuroscience Research 1

1 Efficacy 3

Efficacy Studies Overview 6

Efficacy Studies for Specific Problems 10

Factors of Healing 17

Conclusion 21

2 Yoga and the Brain 23

The Relationship Between Mind and Brain 23

Overview of How Yoga Affects the Brain 25

The Neuroanatomy of Yoga 26

From Mind to Brain: Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis 32

Conclusion 41

Part II: What Is Yoga? 43

3 Traditions 45

Tracing Yoga's Roots in Ancient Texts 46

Different Forms of Yoga 49

Introduction to the West Th rough Great Teachers 58

Conclusion 71

4 Philosophy 73

From Samkhya to Yoga: Integration of Mind and Matter 74

The Eight Limbs of Yoga 75

Integration 85

Conclusion 86

5 Practices 87

Integrating Yamas and Niyamas as a Therapeutic Tool 88

Asana Postures 89

Pranayama Breathing 100

Meditation 105

Conclusion 111

Part III: Applications 113

6 Overcoming Stress With the Eight Limbs of Therapy 115

Background and Theory 115

Taking Yoga From Theory to Practice 120

Using the Yamas and Niyamas 121

Pratyahara: Withdrawing 123

Dharana: Narrowing the Focus 124

Dhyana: Opening the Focus 129

Fostering Relaxation 129

Conclusion 132

7 Transcending Anxiety 133

The Anxious Mind, Brain, Body, and Spirit 133

Categories of Anxiety 135

Yoga Treatments 136

Overcoming Anxiety Actively 139

Dynamic Work on the Anxious Mind-Body-Brain System 148

Working With Panic Disorder 149

Treatments for PTSD 151

Treatment for OCD: Trading Rituals 154

Conclusion 155

8 Freedom From Depression's Grip 157

Theories of Depression and Their Integration 157

Working With Depression Integratively 160

Altering the Neurochemical Balance 162

Fostering Cognitive Change 170

Improving Social Interactions 174

Conclusion 178

9 Addiction: Five Steps to Lasting Release 179

Definitions 180

Neurobiology of Addiction 181

A Five-Step Method for Treating Addiction 182

Conclusion 194

10 Adapting Yoga for Children 195

ADHD: Discovering Steady Attention 196

Overcoming Anxiety and Stress 203

Aggressive Behavior 207

Some Special Variations for Children 210

Learning and Memory: Using Wisdom to Gain Knowledge 211

Conclusion 216

11 Healthy Aging 217

The Aging Mind, Brain, and Body 217

Uncovering the Value of Aging 222

Enhancing Vitality, Flexibility, and Strength: Chair-Sitting Yoga 223

Working With Memory 231

Pain Control 236

Conclusion 239

12 Freedom: Living From the Soul for Clients and Therapists 241

What Is the Soul? 241

Soul of the Client: Fostering the Best 244

Drawing on the Soul of the Th erapist 248

Attainment of Freedom 250

Appendix I: Warming Up for Supplemental Practice 253

Appendix II: A Quick Tour Th rough the Brain 257

References 269

Index 285

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ANNELLEN M. SIMPKINS, PhD, and C. ALEXANDER SIMPKINS, PhD, have extensive training in psychotherapy, meditation, yoga, and Zen. They have clinical, teaching, and research experience using meditation either as the primary method or in conjunction with other forms of therapy. They are the authors of several books on meditation, yoga, psychotherapy, and hypnosis, as well as books on several Eastern philosophical traditions.
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"The Simpkins are at their best in describing how everyone can learn to integrate their own brain, body, and mind to facilitate a creative synchrony of healing and well-being." (The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter, Spring 2011)

"This reader-friendly text is directed toward therapists and health care workers who are considering incorporating yoga and meditation into their work. These technologies are time-honored and appear to have beneficial effects on contemporary clients and patients. Meditation and Yoga for Psychotherapy serves as an informative introduction to these practices, and explains how a therapist might integrate such practices into their work, especially those who are receptive to Eastern thought and practice. The chapters on neuroscience research and healthy aging are unique in books of this nature, and the discussion of alleviating depression alone is worth the price of the book."
Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University, Co-author, Haunted by Combat: Understanding PTSD in War Veterans

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Annellen M. Simpkins and C. Alexander Simpkins WebsiteVisit the authors online site for more information
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