UMMS Affiliation

Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type

Book Chapter


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Behavioral Medicine | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Psychology | Movement and Mind-Body Therapies | Preventive Medicine | Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy


In this chapter I present a psychological conceptualization of mindfulness based on constructs in common therapeutic parlance. Taking a functional approach based on the skills and recognitions patients gain from the exercises commonly used in mindfulness training and avoiding exotic and cryptic language, it makes apparent both the commonality mindfulness has with modalities therapists will be already using in their clinical practice and the ways in which it may add something new and therapeutically useful. It also describes the evolutionary pressures that have shaped the biological imperatives driving the default movements of attention that result in day-to-day experience being experienced as less than pleasant; defaults that result in both the need for, and the challenge of cultivating mindfulness. So, while the instructions and narrative within which these principles are introduced into therapy will need to be adapted to the patient’s background and circumstances, an understanding and grounding in the principles enables the therapist both to skillfully make these adaptations to the training exercises and to make them immediately sensible to the patient, including the challenges they will meet in getting started.


Attention, Metacognitive awareness, Mindfulness, Psychotherapy, Re-perceiving

Rights and Permissions

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015. Author's accepted manuscript version of book chapter posted as allowed by the publisher's policy at

DOI of Published Version



Carmody J. (2015) Mindfulness as a General Ingredient of Successful Psychotherapy. In: Ostafin B., Robinson M., Meier B. (eds) Handbook of Mindfulness and Self-Regulation. Springer, New York, NY, p. 235-248. DOI:10.1007/978-1-4939-2263-5_17. Link to book chapter on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Handbook of Mindfulness and Self-Regulation