What Really Helps
Using Mindfulness and Compassionate Presence to Help, Support, and Encourage Others
Publication Date: December 28, 2010
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Most of us, at one time or another, would like to help a friend, family member, or acquaintance through a challenging time. But do we really know how to give meaningful support and guidance? And why do our best efforts at helping others often come up short? Here is a practical guide that will be of special interest to helping professionals—and anyone who wants to make a positive difference in the lives of people they care about.
To be truly helpful to others, Karen Wegela explains, we must begin by focusing on ourselves. We must develop greater awareness, steadiness of mind, fearlessness, and self-compassion. Only then can we extend these qualities to the people we’d like to help. Drawing on her experiences as a psychotherapist and on her longtime study of Buddhist meditation, Wegela emphasizes the benefits of mindfulness, or learning to become fully present in our moment-to-moment experience. Through mindfulness we develop a fearless, compassionate presence in our daily lives—and we become better listeners, take wiser actions, and give more valuable, effective guidance to the people we’d like to help.
Karen Kissel Wegela, PhD, is a psychotherapist and professor of contemplative psychology at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. A longtime student of Buddhism, she speaks to professionals about the connections between Buddhism and psychotherapy and writes a popular blog at psychologytoday.com. She is also the author of The Courage to Be Present: Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Awakening of Natural Wisdom.
“A step-by-step handbook on becoming present to oneself so as to be able to offer meaningful help to friends, relatives, and clients in distress. Written in simple, direct language.”—Publishers Weekly