Mindfulness Coaching & Counseling Case Study #1
The client is a 70-year-old female and retired. She lost her husband two years prior and felt excluded by her extended family. She also relocated from out of state and felt isolated. Her daughter suffers from substance abuse and had recently been put into jail. The client had been out of contact with her for two years, which was causing anxiety and grief. The client also felt unappreciated by some of her other children, which caused her to be distraught and disappointed.
The TSD Mindfulness Client Assessments were administered before the first session. Results showed high levels of the following in the “Mental Processing” category: stress, self-doubt, distraction and confusion; in the “Flight, Fight, Freeze” category uneasiness; and in the “Grief and Trauma” category feelings of neglect, rejection, inferiority, numbness, grief, loneliness and guilt. High levels ranged from 40 to 80 on a 100-point scale.
Concepts and Exercises Coached
Mindfulness Coach, Sarah Vallely, met with the client during four one-hour sessions. Vallely taught her the concept of rumination and to be mindful of what triggers her rumination. Vallely also explained the concept of devaluing (thinking she is lesser of a person due to an emotion, action or thought). Vallely encouraged the client to allow for physical responses to her emotions so that she
could move into healing and acceptance.
Other concepts taught were “care for the person not the outcome” to help ease her anxiety and be relieved of holding on to a certain outcome with her daughter. Vallely coached her to trust insights, accept realities, and lean into her emotions in a mindful and healthy way. In addition, Vallely taught her a mindfulness practice in humility and self-compassion.
Short mindfulness exercises Vallely coached the client to use included single-pointed-focus on breath, and physical sensations (especially during a difficult emotion) and with eyes open looking at a physical object. Additionally, Vallely taught the practice of noting (naming thought cycles, such as rumination) and redirecting attention to breath or sounds. The client also learned loving kindness meditation.
Based on a follow up assessment after four sessions, the client decreased the following on a scale of 100 total points: “distraction” by 53 points, “confusion” by 36 points, “feelings of inferiority” by 31 points, “grief” by 46 points and “emotional numbness” by 40 points. Any decrease of 30 or more points, is considered a significant shift and the points for each state are based on nine questions. For example, nine questions regarding “distraction” were used to create a score for distraction.
Prior to coaching when difficult emotions of grief surfaced, she client devalued herself, believing she was lesser of a person because she was experiencing these emotions. Now she leans into her emotions by validating herself for feeling this way. She also notices physical sensations related to these emotions in her body and allows for physical responses to her emotions, such as crying. Both of which instigate a release and offer peace. In other instances, she calms herself by looking at an object and/or breathing when difficult emotions feel intrusive. This is particularly helpful when she feels upset about her husband who passed. Additionally, she also uses deep breathing to calm emotions of worry about her daughter.
The client reported that her relationship with her children has become stronger. Her mindfulness exercises support her to pause before responding, which has contributed to her closer relationship with her children. Additionally, after two years of no contact with her daughter, she said to her daughter, “Your difficulties do not define you nor make you any lesser of a person.” The client’s newfound compassion for her daughter is helping support their new relationship. The client explained that overall mindfulness coaching makes her feel more empowered and calmer; and has helped her heal a significant amount of grief around the loss of her spouse.of her