Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Meditation, Disidentification & Mental Health

     "Refinement of awareness may be a central process mediating the therapeutic benefits both of meditations and of psychotherapies and may also be a necessary precondition for a further important meditative process: disidentification.
      Disidentification is the process by which awareness (mindfulness) precisely observes, and therefore ceases to identify with, mental content such as thoughts, feelings, and images.  
     This process is similar to Piaget’s 'decentration,' Safran’s 'decentering,' Bohart’s 'detachment,' Deikman’s 'observing self,' Tart’s 'dehypnosis,' Teasdale’s 'metacognitive awareness,' Wilber’s 'differentiation & transcendence,' and Kegan’s 'de-embedding.' Robert Kegan suggested that the process of disidentification 'is the most powerful way I know to conceptualize the growth of the mind . . . [and] is as faithful to the self-psychology of the West as to the ‘wisdom literature’ of the East.' 
     Consider, as a practical example, the thought 'I’m scared.' Meditators report that if they are clearly aware of such a thought, then they do not identify with it (assume it to be a valid statement about themselves). Rather, they simply observe it, recognize it as merely a thought, and are unaffected by it."

       Walsh R, Shapiro SL. "The Meeting of Meditative Disciplines and Western Psychology. A Mutually Enriching Dialogue." American Psychologist 2006; 61(3): 227–39. 


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