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Meditation is often regarded as something related to Buddhism or Freudian psychoanalysis. However, meditation can be effectively used in social work treatment. Moreover, meditation can be useful for both, the social worker and the client. There are many possible techniques to meditate. One such technique is the labyrinth, which is a very effective way to meditate, i.e. to contemplate, self-reflect, and, maybe, pray.
Sarah Docterman states that the labyrinth is a very effective tool that can be used when working with clients. Interestingly, labyrinths used for this kind of meditation do not have dead-ends or some tricks. These labyrinths are just the only path that inevitably leads to the center. Therefore, there can be no right or wrong way. These labyrinths can be regarded as a metaphorical reflection of human life: there is the only goal (the center of the labyrinth), there is the only way, and the only obstacles an individual faces are turns of the road which can be easily dealt with. The wanderer should only go along the path slowly and without making unnecessary moves. In this case, the journey which is peaceful and pleasant will lead to the major aim, i.e. to the center.
Noteworthy, Docterman points out that this kind of meditation is based on Christian tradition, which is important when working with clients of this cultural background. Keefe (1996) also stresses that meditation, on the whole, is closely connected with Christianity and other major religions. Therefore, meditation is a very important tool of social work treatment since it is possible to state that people will undoubtedly benefit from meditation (especially labyrinths) since it is one of the most ancient ways to relax and self-reflect.
As far as I am concerned I have never thought that meditation can be used in social work treatment. However, now I understand that this is a great experience which can help many people choose their life goals, to understand themselves better, to find conciliation. I was also surprised to acknowledge that meditation can be useful for both the client and the social worker. Sarah Docterman revealed many interesting facts about a technique used for meditation, which made me feel that I can benefit from practicing labyrinths myself. Importantly, Docterman introduced the labyrinth in such a concise way that I can already use the technique.
For instance, I have always wondered how meditators can concentrate on some particular object, image, or idea. However, as far as labyrinths are concerned there is no need to make any efforts since those distracting thoughts (memories, ideas, etc.) become a part of a journey when meditating. An individual simply concentrates on walking, certain action, and distracting thoughts disappear. Keefe (1996) also considers that focus on action is a very effective technique, though sometimes people should make effort to stay concentrated.
I would like to point out that when I tried to meditate using the technique of labyrinths, I found it really helpful. It goes without saying this experience will be useful for my future practice. In the first place, I will be able to better control my emotions and I will be able to empathize with clients which is important for me as a social worker. Besides, I can assist my future clients to use the same technique which will help them cope with their problems.
Keefe, T. (1996). Meditation and Social Work Treatment. In F.J. Turner, Social Work Treatment: Interlocking Theoretical Approaches (pp. 434-461). New York: Simon and Schuster.