Morita Therapy – Mindfulness as a 4 step approach

Created by a Japanese psychiatrist, there is the rather lengthy Morita Therapy, which is based on Zen ideology of non attachment. Morita utilises a structured approach based on four phases.

Phase 1 requires the practitioner to learn how to separate from the noise of an intrusive world that constantly bombards the senses. This stage requires a great level of solitude whereas phase 2 requires an engagement in monotonous work that has to be executed in silence.

This stage is dominated by leaving the solitude of phase 1 behind while also writing a reflective diary, enabling the practitioner to learn how to separate thoughts and feelings.

Consequently, the practitioner increases his or her awareness again that comes with opening up to the stimulation of the world, but this time with a deeper level of understanding of their own thoughts and feelings in association brought on by such stimulation.

In phase 3 the practitioner is engaged in strenuous physical work, such as chopping wood, etc. The work needs to be challenging and hard so that the practitioner gets a sense of achievement, a feeling of ‘ability’ to be able to handle difficult challenges.

This translates into greater levels of confidence and the practitioner thus gains the realisation that s/he has the ability to cope with whatever lies ahead. This phase is concerned with transitioning the practitioner from victim to victor. In this phase passive treatment given by others is transformed into motivating the practitioner to find his/her own inner strength and belief that ‘they can’.

For those who have physical ailments (such as an injury) that wouldn’t really allow for a ‘boot camp’ type physical challenges to take place, this phase may be all about learning to do some uncomfortable stretching, or strength exercises (i.e. challenging physio therapy).

To balance this rather physiologically demanding approach, practitioners are encouraged to spend time creating works of art. This may be painting, writing, carving, or whatever connects a practitioner to the creative aspects of their humanity.

In phase 4 practitioners are reintegrated into the ‘non treatment world’. Here they would utilise and integrate what they have learned in the earlier three phases. At this stage they should have ‘changed’ into a ‘self’ who has clearer thoughts, is more ordered and thus they have the capacity to control their set of circumstances rather than being controlled by it.

Last updated by at .