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Mindfullness

Mindfulness is about being present in the moment. Being aware of what is going on around us and within ourselves at any one time. Paying more attention to what we are thinking, feeling and acting in relation to any moment contributes to our own wellbeing and personal development, and, help us develop healthy relationships with others.


The importance of being present in the moment can not be emphasised enough for those children, young people and families we work to support. Our awareness to others’ in their contexts and environments is the foundation of building our understanding of presenting strengths, vulnerabilities, and support change. In practice this is realised in the quality of our work reflecting: 


  • Our effectiveness to engage with children, parents and carers; 
  • The voice of the child or young person; 
  • Working with, not doing to;
  • Quality of our assessments and plans;
  • Management oversight.


Effectively, five of our Golden Threads of Practice are underpinned by mindfulness in our practice. 


What does it look like? Mindfulness looks like:


  • Regulating our bodily responses;
  • Effective, attuned communication;
  • Having emotional balance to give meaning and passion, without feeling out of control or overwhelmed, or, flat and unresponsive;
  • Pausing and consider various options and the possible consequences of them;
  • Acknowledging our anxieties, fears and stress and managing them;
  • Consciously responding to events rather than knee-jerk reacting;
  • Considering the perspective of other, trying to see things how they may see them;
  • Being morally aware, and;
  • Aware of or instinct, what ‘our gut’ is telling us. 


What does mindfulness look like in practice?


  • This is being aware of how our own presentation, use of language and active listening and observation during any direct work with children, young people and families, and, remaining present with them when carrying out visits, direct work, or in meetings; 
  • Being aware of our assumptions and biases, being curious about things we do not know our think we know;
  • Planning our work out, not rushing into things or rushing to draw conclusions without having considered the evidence and views of others;
  • Acknowledging there are times we will feel anxious, fearful, stress in our work and developing strategies for managing this within ourselves and/or drawing upon support from our colleagues;
  • Recognising when others are feeling anxious, fearful, stress and being aware of how we can help, or help them,  reduce this in the moment. 
  • It is being aware of the purpose of our work (assessments, plans, reports, supervisions) and ensuring that it is focused on the best interests of the child or young person exploring appropriate options.


There are several resources and centres of mindfulness to further your exploration of this topic. One of the most well known leaders in the field is Jon Kbat-Zinn, the founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is also the founding director of its renowned Stress Reduction Clinic and Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. 


The NHS page on mindfulness also provides a number of links, including a selection of self test questionnaires. A large body of research is available to be explored. The following selection of research articles relating to mindfulness provides a starting point for those wishing to develop their knowledge in this area. 


Developed by: Stephen Brock, M.S.W., Social Work Consultant. stephen.brock@manchester.gov.uk 

© 2020