Mara McGraw, MSW - Relational Mindfulness for individuals, couples & moresomes
Mindfulness

We fall mindlessly into the delusion that we can live a life of sincerity without vulnerability. 
At these moments we must be courageous enough to break our own hearts. 

Mindfulness can help us become aware of our patterns and allow us the opportunity to explore alternative ways of being. Often, the mere act of noticing our experience is enough to disrupt the "auto-pilot", opening the doorway to conscious choices in accordance with our goals and values. Meditation is one way of practicing mindfulness formally. It can help train the mind to focus, emphasizing the quality of attention we bring to our experiences. However, a mindfulness practice doesn't have to be confined to traditional sitting meditation. In broad terms, mindfulness is acute attention that oscillates between the internal and external experience, including body sensations, thoughts, emotions, urges, actions, the environment and the observable behaviors of others. The ability to step back from the limiting lenses of assumptions, interpretations and preferences create space for an accurate and authentic experience. Mindfulness based approaches can be molded to address a multitude of symptoms and circumstances. When paired with other skills, psychological insight and emotional healing occur over time through the regular practice of mindfulness.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

If choices are based in our values, choosing becomes simple.

Acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT (pronounced as a single word), believes that changing our relationship to negative thoughts and feelings can helps us attain a more fulfilled life. The goal of ACT is to help clients consistently chose effectiveness (concrete behaviors as defined by values) in the presence of difficult or disruptive internal and external events. The acronym ACT has also been used to describe what takes place in therapy: Accept the effects of life’s hardships, Choose directional values, and Take action. The aim of ACT is to embrace the fullness and vitality of life, supporting a wide spectrum of human experiences. Acceptance (not the same as approval) of how things are, without evaluation or attempts to alter the experience, is a skill that develops through mindfulness exercises in and out of session. ACT doesn't attempt to directly change or stop unwanted thoughts or feelings (as in cognitive behavioral therapy), but rather to develop a new relationship with those experiences that can open opportunities for actions consistent with values.  Various exercises are employed to help identify chosen values, which act like a compass from which to direct intentional and effective behavior. People who are fused with their thoughts or avoid painful emotions often struggle with choosing purposeful and values-guided action. Through mindful liberation from such struggle they find acting congruently with their values quite natural and fulfilling.

Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP)

To see and be seen clearly, deeply and without armor is a transformative pathway.

Functional analytic psychotherapy, or FAP (pronounced as a single word), believes the relationship that develops between the client and therapist replicates relational and behavioral events present in other areas of the client’s life. In the therapy session we explore interpersonally related thoughts, feelings, and actions, highlight ineffective behaviors, practice effective behaviors and commit to take this new way of being into daily life. Through this process, clients develop insight into how they operate in the world and accurately, non-judgmentally assess the impact, thus improving the overall quality of life. FAP is a deeply heart-centered and embodied model using Awareness, Courage and Love to support the client's embrace of their growing edge toward self-actualization and authentic, fulfilled living.