Gil, I don't know the answer to your question about the prevelence of meditation in psychotherapy, and until we devise a way to querry all practitioners, it will remain difficult to determine (not unlike the prevelence of CBT or other approaches in psychotherapy). Nor can the use of meditation in psychotherapy be determined from the experimental literature, as there are only a handful of studies at this point.
Nonetheless, it seems clear that there is a tremendous increase in the use of meditation in psychotherapy. Evidence comes from several directions. Many professional meetings (scientific and clinical) have seminars in the use of meditation for psychopathology and psychophysiology (For instance, I have presented on this topic at the annual meetings of such diverse groups as the American Psychological Association, The Society for Behavioral Medicine, The American Kidney Foundation, the International Dance/Exericse Association, to name a few). Other indications that meditation is becoming increasingly integrated into clinical practice comes from a listing of the clinical services offered at hospitals and University Clinics. Many hospitals are offering Yoga, Tai Chi, and Buddhist meditation in pain clinics, as part of weight management programs, in mental health clinics, etc. And this is not only the case in California. Increasingly, clinics throughout the country have meditation offered as part of other programs, or as stand alone programs.
Yet problems exist in attempting to determine the prevelence of meditation as used by psychotherapists, and these problems are an indication of a larger concern regarding this emerging field.
First is the need to get a clearer definition of meditation. The term has been used to refer to sitting quietly and "thinking" about issues to lying in bed and imagining oneself on a beach in Tahiti to sitting in a Zen monastery and dissolving oneself into emptiness. Until a better working derinition can be achieved, or at least a consensus of styles considered "meditation", it will be not only difficult to determine prevelence, but dialogue and research will be hampered as well.
Secondly, "closet" users of meditation, both for their own sake as well as in the use with clients, need to "out" themselves. I am frequently asked by "shy" therapists how my colleagues and patients view my use of meditation. Personally, I have never had a problem with either colleagues or patients, and I remain unabashed by my promotion of the method, whether in an academic or clinical setting. Once practitioners become uninhibited in their use of meditation with patients, we will have a better sense of its pervelence.
Finally, there needs to be better forums for dialogues of the use of
techniques. BOL is just such a forum, and this more than any other approach
at this time will serve as the best method of "data collection." So I hope
readers will respond with stories of their own so that we can begin getting a
census of those who use meditation for psychotherapy.
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