Let’s start with a few definitions…
Mindfulness is a bit of a buzz word that gets thrown around in the media; but simply put, it refers to the ability to be present and aware of what we’re doing to a deep level.
Aphasia is a language difficulty (understanding and/or speaking) that results from a change occurring in the brain (e.g., after a stroke).
Neuroplasticity refers to the ability of the brain/nervous system to alter its function after something within it has been changed (e.g., by a brain injury or stroke)
So, how do we connect mindfulness and aphasia therapy?
Research has shown that if therapy takes advantage of the neuroplastic nature of our brains, we see more positive therapy outcomes. AND, in order to take advantage of neuroplasticity, therapy must be grounded in mindfulness.
Mindfulness supports clients to manage the stress related to having communication difficulties. It also improves processing (thinking power) and attention. More positive participation with therapy can have a big difference over the outcomes. Pauses and silences can be filled with mindfulness meaning that it becomes “ok” to stop and think about answers.
Mindfulness can be incorporated into therapy in many ways including through discussion, direct practice, breathing, identifying stress triggers and managing low confidence.
Some of the mindfulness principles include retraining the brain to believe that:
- Therapy and practice is easy and not hard
- When communicating, you are ‘doing’ and not ‘trying’
- Pauses are for planning and thinking
- You know where to put your focus and can act on that
If you or a loved one are having communication difficulties or would like to talk about how to implement mindfulness in your home practice, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Hanrahan Health via phone on (02) 4862 5063 or via email on email@example.com.