Utilising mindfulness-based approaches and techniques within counselling has become increasingly popular with mental health professionals. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness can have positive implications for both clients and therapists. Relatively new to the field of counselling is a meditational, mindfulness based approach known as Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR). This qualitative study explored therapists’ experience of using IBSR both personally and in their clinical practice. Employing Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), six participants who were mental health professionals and had attained certification in IBSR were selected for this study. Seven main themes emerged from the findings including: IBSR’s influence on the therapist; self-care and burn-out; broader perspectives; IBSR’s strengths and therapeutic benefits; challenges and limitations; client populations and characteristics; and the therapeutic alliance. A range of benefits were identified as a result of utilising IBSR including the potential for immediate and life-changing effects for those experiencing IBSR, as well as supporting therapist wellbeing and protecting against burnout. Participants viewed IBSR as an effective self-care tool which promoted self-awareness, self-compassion, acceptance towards clients, greater cognitive flexibility and metacognitive awareness. The approach was also regarded as having positive implications for the therapeutic alliance. Some challenges and limitations were noted such as the short-term engagement with clients having detrimental financial impacts on therapists; and the ‘turnarounds’ (a way to explore different interpretations of an identified stressful belief) as a possible contraindication. Clients’ openness to IBSR was viewed as a key factor to the effectiveness of the approach.


counselling, mindfulness, The Work of Byron Katie, Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction, short-term interventions

Included in

Life Sciences Commons