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Old 02.03.2011, 14:08
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Unprofessional behaviour on behalf of therapists?

Hi,

Just to be clear, I'm not looking to start a debate on the use of religion / spirituality in medicine. I just want some information!

I'm taking part in a cognitive behavioural therapy group based at the Hôpital de Prangins. The group is described as learning how to manage your emotions.

They are using the Mindfulness techniques. We had a session yesterday and we watched a video in English with French subtitles. As a native English speaker, I think I picked up more and something struck me as a bit odd. The technique we were learning about - observation - was described in very vague and non-specific terms. We weren't actually told HOW to practice it. I've already finished one therapy group at the hospital which had a small section on managing your emotions and all of those techniques were very rigorously explained. So I asked the psychologists leading the session to clarify. They told me that 'you can't teach observation, you have to practice it'.

That struck me as even more odd. So I did a Google search and quickly discovered that Mindfullness is based on Buddhist practices.

I feel that we should have been told this. Not because I have anything against Buddhism, but because the technique of Mindfullness was presented to us as a CBT technique, developed by psychologists, to help people with our type of problems. We were not told it had any links with any belief system. I feel they did not give us all the information. I feel that the behaviour of my psychiatrist, who wrote the prescription for me to attend the group (and who works for the hospital and has led the group herself), and of the psychologists who were running the group, was unprofessional. If you are going to use spirituality in your treatment, fine, but TELL THE PATIENT. I have a right to know where the techniques I am being taught come from, and I have a right to decide if I want to use those techniques.

So what I want to know is, is there some kind of code which has been broken here? Should they have told us that we were going to be learning spiritual practices as part of our CBT? Irrespective of what I believe, telling me an exercise is CBT when it's actually based on Buddhism is surely not right?
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Old 02.03.2011, 14:11
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Re: Unprofessional behaviour on behalf of therapists?

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If you are going to use spirituality in your treatment, fine, but TELL THE PATIENT.
You have every right to be angry.

I once had to sit through a work training seminar about Transcendental Meditation, which was presented as a secular means of relaxation (backed up with lots of hilarious 'scientific' graphs), when it patently isn't.

A bit of clarity goes a long way...
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Old 02.03.2011, 15:00
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Re: Unprofessional behaviour on behalf of therapists?

I'm not sure about your reaction to this. How far back do you want to go regarding the source of things?

Observation or awareness is not exclusive to Buddhism, awareness is inherent to the man. Fundamental principles or natural phenomena have been hijacked by all sorts and applied to a great many systems. You may as well go back as far as you can to when apes became stoned and Shamans started banging their drums.

You mentioned that you weren't actually told HOW to practice it. I am sure this is because the technique would most certainly be attributed to a certain methodology, such as Buddhism. I could understand if you then had an objection to this.

Spiritualism can be interpreted through everything, it permeates our very existence and perception... if you are looking for it. Surely you know that if you are going to be delving into anything involving the mind or the emotions, that there must be some spiritual stop along the way, in which case you should be able to work it out for yourself.
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Last edited by Traubert; 02.03.2011 at 15:12.
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Old 02.03.2011, 15:10
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Re: Unprofessional behaviour on behalf of therapists?

Quote:
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Hi,

Just to be clear, I'm not looking to start a debate on the use of religion / spirituality in medicine. I just want some information!

I'm taking part in a cognitive behavioural therapy group based at the Hôpital de Prangins. The group is described as learning how to manage your emotions.

They are using the Mindfulness techniques. We had a session yesterday and we watched a video in English with French subtitles. As a native English speaker, I think I picked up more and something struck me as a bit odd. The technique we were learning about - observation - was described in very vague and non-specific terms. We weren't actually told HOW to practice it. I've already finished one therapy group at the hospital which had a small section on managing your emotions and all of those techniques were very rigorously explained. So I asked the psychologists leading the session to clarify. They told me that 'you can't teach observation, you have to practice it'.

That struck me as even more odd. So I did a Google search and quickly discovered that Mindfullness is based on Buddhist practices.

I feel that we should have been told this. Not because I have anything against Buddhism, but because the technique of Mindfullness was presented to us as a CBT technique, developed by psychologists, to help people with our type of problems. We were not told it had any links with any belief system. I feel they did not give us all the information. I feel that the behaviour of my psychiatrist, who wrote the prescription for me to attend the group (and who works for the hospital and has led the group herself), and of the psychologists who were running the group, was unprofessional. If you are going to use spirituality in your treatment, fine, but TELL THE PATIENT. I have a right to know where the techniques I am being taught come from, and I have a right to decide if I want to use those techniques.

So what I want to know is, is there some kind of code which has been broken here? Should they have told us that we were going to be learning spiritual practices as part of our CBT? Irrespective of what I believe, telling me an exercise is CBT when it's actually based on Buddhism is surely not right?

Fear not. Buddhism is not a religion. It is a spritual code of conduct. If you would like to find out more about mindfulness, read books by the Dalai Lama. His teachings are transcribed by Howard Cutler to produce a meaningful useable approach for Westerners wanting to learn certain life techniques. The Buddhists probably were using this technique long before Western Psychology started to become recognised, and are thus experts in it's application.

Why can't CBT be based on Buddhism ? What is the real problem for you with this ? I am sure your Dr would not bother to tell you about the roots of his teachings , or the provenance of the medicines he prescribes. You can only go into so much detail, and perhaps the roots of the training techniques are beyond the scope of the course.
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Old 02.03.2011, 15:11
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Re: Unprofessional behaviour on behalf of therapists?

Quote:
You have every right to be angry.

I once had to sit through a work training seminar about Transcendental Meditation, which was presented as a secular means of relaxation (backed up with lots of hilarious 'scientific' graphs), when it patently isn't.

A bit of clarity goes a long way...

But it did fix your stutter ?
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Old 02.03.2011, 20:40
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Re: Unprofessional behaviour on behalf of therapists?

I don't think it's necessarily unprofessional. If you look up mindfulness, you do see that it comes from Buddhist thought, as the OP found out. It might be more arrogance than anything else - thinking that people don't need to know where something comes from, or having a schedule and not wanting to get put off track by questions about where the technique comes from.

Is the technique any less valuable because of its association with Buddhism?

Anyway, here's an interesting site

http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/mindfulness.htm

There are lots and lots of online resources.

Edited to add... I think this is a different issue than TM, however. There's a lot of serious study going on, and lots of people are using mindfulness techniques as an adjunct to cope with disease.
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