Mindfulness and healing intention: concepts, practice, and research evaluation

Journal Article

By: Stefan Schmidt
Publication Name: J Altern Complement Med
Year: 2004

This paper deals with the role of the health care professional in creating an optimal healing environment (OHE), with a special focus on which inner state and way of being in the world can create a healing intention. A core thesis is that every healing effort and every healing intention starts within the health care professional. An accepting, mindful, and warm-hearted relationship with self is primary to any healing intention. Important concepts to develop such an attitude are mindfulness, love, compassion, and awareness. The concept of a healing attitude toward the self is described, as is the mirror principle that states there is symmetry between someone's relationship with the outer world and his or her inner world. The mindfulness concept is outlined through a set of mental and heart qualities. Mindfulness is strongly related to compassion, and it is compassion that serves as a source for all healing intentionality. Compassion connects the suffering of the patient with the healer's own suffering, and this emotional connection instantiates a healing relationship. The power and importance of mindfulness and compassion for healing are explored along the Frank model of nonspecific therapeutic components. This is the approach whereby a health care professional can elicit self-healing powers in patients through his or her inner attitudes. Finally, a research program and some hypotheses on how to implement and research this specific approach toward the creation of an OHE are outlined.

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