Practicing Mindfulness in Your Speech Pathology Practice—No Matter Where YOU Treat!

The art of being present and mindful is a hot topic lately.  The basic tenets of being mindful can be applied to …well…everything! Personally, with two young children and an admittedly busy schedule, I have been making a concentrated effort to be more mindful at home.  So many times we are rushing to get ready for school, or zipping around going from birthday party to play date, that I forget to be …present.  I find myself thinking about the “to do” list, tomorrow’s calendar, the weekly appointments, etc.

Mindfulness at work--works!

Many of you reading this are new to the field and have only practiced for a short period of time and many of you are seasoned professionals with years under your belt—but the fact of the matter is–we can all benefit from the principles of mindfulness.  I have outlined some ideas below—but, as always, I appreciate any and all feedback.

Be willing to be observed.

All undergraduate and graduate programs in speech language pathology require students to attain observation hours—which we know because we had to do it!  Most students are looking to get a variety of experiences.  Contact your local universities and volunteer to be on the “ok to be contacted for an observation” list.  Many times you won’t have much interaction with the student, but it will be just enough to get you thinking about your session/the client/the approach you used, etc.

Supervise a graduate student.

As the field gets more saturated, securing quality externships for our graduate students gets harder and harder.  Volunteering to supervise a student for an externship experience is a big commitment but it can be incredibly rewarding.  The act of being observed and talking about your clients, as well as your therapeutic approach, will undoubtedly help your student as well as force you to continuously reassess your practice.  Many times your student’s innocent questions will lead you to view your client in a new light or try a new technique you may not have otherwise.

Take your notes on-line.

OK, so the idea of having a graduate student does not sound appealing, but you are committed to be rooted in the moment?  Consider writing your treatment notes while you are treating.  Now, I know, for some of you, this may seem daunting—but you can quickly get the hang of it after doing it a few times.  Everybody writes their session notes differently—so you will have to figure out what resonates with you, but the point is to consider the therapy while it is happening and make any necessary changes immediately, so your session can be that much more successful.   I always have a pen and paper within arms reach so I do not “miss” anything.