Bill Gayner is a registered social worker and Adjunct Lecturer at the Factor Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. He has meditated for more than thirty years and trained clinicians in mindfulness for fifteen. Bill’s research into mindfulness for HIV+ gay men led him to develop Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Therapy. He presents at national and international conferences.
Meditation and Empathic Exploration in Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Therapy
Saturday, May 2, 2020 — 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
In this workshop, we will introduce Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Therapy (EFMT; Gayner, 2019) meditation and how EFMT therapists empathically explore clients’ meditative and current experiencing, comparing and contrasting this with meditation and mindful inquiry in mainstream Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs). MBIs emphasize attending to present-oriented experience in a non-judgmental way and decentering from and letting go of distractions from this, such as difficult thoughts and feelings about the past or future. This creates optimal conditions for experiential and emotional processing, however, MBIs neither specify nor encourage this. In contrast, EFMT integrates experiential and emotional processing into mindfulness meditation and how therapists explore clients’ meditative experience.
EFMT emerged out of research into how to integrate self-compassion more deeply into MBIs to better address issues associated with internalized stigma and high levels of adverse childhood events (ACEs) in HIV+ gay men, such as harsh self-criticism, shame, challenges in interpersonal relationships and complex trauma. EFMT integrates MBIs into Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) to target internal conflicts and unfinished business, navigate issues in daily life, and cultivate growth and flourishing. EFMT clinical groups are being run for HIV+ gay men, psychiatric outpatients, family medicine patients and an artists’ health centre and has been adapted for hospital employee wellness and is used in various settings in individual therapy.
Participants will come away with:
- Experience and discuss EFMT practice and be able to describe key differences between this and MBI meditation
- Learn how EFMT therapists/trainers explore meditators’ practice using EFT empathic communicative attunement
- Begin exploring and integrating experiential and emotional processing into their own meditation practice on their own