Mindfulness in Commitment to Connection : One Therapist's Journey
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My name is Lisa Hjelmstad, MSW, LCSW, LMFT, LAC.    I bring to my practice more than twenty five years of experience working in the field of mental health, addictions, criminal justice social work, and child protection.  I offer mental health and substance abuse services to children, adults and families.  Individual, family, and group sessions are available.   I have specialized certification and training to provide trauma intervention and crisis services, including Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavior Therapy  (TF-CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).  I am a Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Program Educator offering premarital and marriage workshops and counseling services.   I offer Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and DAC evaluations for those working with their employers to resolve the return to duty process for both DOT and Non-DOT safety sensitive positions.   I am a Qualified Substance Abuse Professional under DOT regulations. 

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Mindfulness in Commitment to Connection

by Lisa Hjelmstad, LCSW, LMFT, LAC on 05/19/13

It seems that mindfulness is the new buzzword in the world of therapy.  This practice and skill is not a new concept, but it appears we are giving it greater recognition.  We are learning more and more about how mindfulness creates changes in our brain, actions and our presence.   Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

I recently spent three days gaining more respect for, information about and skills to develop the mindfulness practices.  I have experienced how mindfulness allows one to reconnect and commit to oneself, others and life in general.  I see it, believe it, know it to be true and feel it in relationship with others.  I want it and am willing to make some conscious efforts to be more accountable for demonstrating the change that I wish to be in my life.  

I talk about mindfulness to clients in my practice on a regular basis.  I encourage for example, the use of breath work, meditation, nonjudgmental observation and self-awareness every day in my practice.  However, somewhere along the way, I have stopped practicing for myself that which I encourage in others in a way that allows rejuvenation, balance and connection for myself.  Today, I recommit to the practice of mindfulness and self-awareness, and if you will, a more holistic connection for myself.   In turn, it is a recommitment to connecting mindfully and purposely with my family and most importantly, my spouse.   Yes, outside of the office!

Bringing this commitment to change to the forefront at this point in time is important to me, not only to the direction I wish to take my life, relationships, and my practice.  Do not get me wrong, I have been here before!   Being in the moment is something I can do.   At times I am awesome at this!  Most often I see this in my practice with others who are seeking assistance and at times when I am completely unhooked from the trappings of day to day responsibilities.  Sustaining it in my personal life is the more difficult task for me.    

The challenge is maintaining the process and practice in times when I am directed, focused or otherwise targeting my life for change.  I have been a driven person in most areas of my life ever since I can remember.   I will not go into all the details as to how this developed; what is more important is I know myself to generally be self-centered rather than self-aware in the process of being driven.   I develop tunnel vision rather than allowing the world to open before my eyes.  The challenge then for me is to be driven and balanced enough to be mindful in the process.    

I am up for the task and look forward to the journey.  I welcome the company and insight of others along the way.  I have been inspired by sharing the past three days with awesome colleagues and experiencing a connection with others I was apparently ready to know.  Again, it is only through the experience of connecting with others that I can commit to myself and others in my world.    I so appreciate the ability to learn, observe, reflect and evolve in a world around me that also appreciates and respects those abilities in and of itself as well as others.  What a gift I have in the life I have been granted.   I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to learn more about myself, my relationship to others, and a willingness to continue my evolution without evaluation in the journey.  More is yet to be revealed I am sure; and for that I am open.

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