Katherine Thompson | 4 Apr 2023

The Origins of Christ Centred Mindfulness

Katherine Thompson

It is more than 25 years since I started my journey in the field of mental health, and for most of this time, I have enjoyed the challenge and hopefulness of working with 12- to 25-year-olds. I would describe myself as a curious, creative thinker who asks difficult questions. This worked in my favour as a research fellow where I could actively challenge the whys in life. I continued my questioning through a Bachelor of Theology, then came full circle to completing my clinical training as a Mental Health Social Worker.

Since then, my challenge has been integrating my training and life experience, searching to understand people and faith.

It is possibly not surprising that I now find myself in a role that specifically integrates psychology and theology at Melbourne School of Theology and Eastern College Australia.

I remember one day speaking to my work colleague about contextualising faith in our clinical practice and sharing my puzzlement about what popular mindfulness is, where came from and why we were using it in mental health treatment. Twelve years ago, it was difficult to find the answers to these questions. I was shocked to discover that most popular mindfulness was based in Buddhist meditation, even when it was part of a psychological therapy, and I wondered why the church was silent or perhaps ignorant about this. The frustration this triggered led me to search through the Bible and our Christian tradition for an alternative. In the process, I rediscovered contemplative practices that, when paired with psychological frameworks, could help us connect to our inner world and to God. The result was my first book, Christ Centred Mindfulness: Connection to Self and God.

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