PSYCHOTHERAPY AND MEDITATION
Tom Gibbons received his Master of Social Work degree from NYU where he trained as a psychotherapist. As part of his training he worked at various agency placements in New York before returning to Bermuda to work at Transitions. He treats adults using primarily Cognitive Behavioral therapy, and has an interest in the utilization of meditation and mindfulness as an adjunct to the psychotherapeutic process.
Further training includes a 5 day residential workshop with Dr. John Forsyth on using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for anxiety, CBT for Anxiety from the Beck Institute and the Mindful Mood Balance for Professionals course in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy.
He has also completed the Path of Freedom course with the Prison Mindfulness Institute, and is a qualified Realization Process embodiment teacher.
Though he counsels people over the full spectrum of life issues, he has a special interest in anxiety disorders and addictions. Tom is also a long time meditator, practicing in a number of traditions, including Buddhist Mahamudra meditation. He is a member of the Bermuda Counselors Association and the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.
Across a wide range of disorders, from anxiety and depression to eating disorders and trauma, CBT is probably the most scientifically validated psychotherapy. With roots in both behaviorism and the work of Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis, the cognitive behavioral tradition now encompasses not just the cognitive (which looks at our thoughts and beliefs) and the behavioral (which looks at our behaviors), but also newer approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) that utilize mindfulness and other techniques along with the traditional CBT methods.
Mindfulness is basically present moment awareness. A good way to explain the appeal and effectiveness of this approach is to consider why people come to therapy in the first place. Most likely they are experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings such as anxiety. We cannot escape from such an inner "threat" in the same way as an external one, like running away from a snake, though we may try to do so by rejecting our unpleasant feelings. This can lead to an inner struggle that we can't win and we can actually end up increasing our distress by trying to avoid these feelings. Acceptance and mindfulness can lead us out of this dilemma by showing us how to make space for and be compassionate about our difficult inner experiences without so much judgement, because judgement - our inner critic - is one of the main factors that keeps us stuck in the same places and patterns.