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Relaxation, Meditation, & Mindfulness: A Mental Health Practitioner's Guide to New and Traditional Approaches Hardcover – March 4, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Springer Publishing Company; 1 edition (March 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826127452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826127457
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


...a well-structured and well-organized book...a storehouse of knowledge for novice practitioners and seasoned professionals alike." -- Yasmin Nilofer Farooqi, PsycCRITIQUES, Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books

From the Publisher

"Relaxation, Meditation, and Mindfulness: A Practical Guide by Jonathan Smith should be on the bookshelf of every serious practitioner of cultivated relaxation skills. Smith is one of the leading practitioners and theorists on this topic. His book provides one of the few comprehensive theories of variety and complexity of relaxation strategies, and their many uses, from medical and psychological treatment to enhancement of spirituality and quality of life. It is clearly written, well-documented, and provides a cogent rationale and detailed manuals for using various relaxation methods, from muscular stretching exercises to mindfulness meditation, and provides a rationale for choosing the most appropriate relaxation strategy for each person. It covers most of the relaxation methods currently in use. It also includes some useful assessment questionnaires. The book will be accessible to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as to members of the general public interested in studying and acquiring relaxation skills. It will be invaluable for trainers and therapists."

- Paul Lehrer, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, UMDNJ --- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

More About the Author


My work focuses on critical thinking and extraordinary claims of the paranormal, relaxation and meditation, and most recently mindfulness. I earned my doctorate in psychology in 1975 from Michigan State University and obtained my license as a clinical psychologist. Since 1976 I have taught at Roosevelt University's Psychology department and continue full time as a tenured full professor. I have taught and supervised undergraduate, MA, doctoral students in scientific psychology, dissertation work, clinical psychology, assessment, stress, mindfulness, and critical thinking.

From 1982-1991 I served as Psychology Department Chair and created Roosevelt University's doctoral program in clinical psychology. In addition, I am Founding Director of the Roosevelt University Stress Institute (and the Pseudoscience and Paranormal Laboratory).

My publications include 22 books and more than three dozen articles. In addition, I have served as expert outside reviewer for PsycCRITIQUES, Perceptual and Motor Skills, The Brain, and Psychosomatic Medicine. I have published invited chapters as "guest expert" in eight textbooks and encyclopedias. My book publishers have included Aldine, Guilford Press, Macmillan, Oxford University Press, Plenum, Praeger, Prentice-Hall, Research Press, Springer, and Wiley/Blackwell. My personal and professional materials on critical thinking as well as mindfulness and relaxation are positively regarded (two have been reviewed by the American Psychological Association's PsycCRITIQUES as "best" in the field).

In 2014 I retired as a Clinical Psychologist to devote time to developing and teaching effective science-based approaches to mindfulness. My latest series of books, "Mindfulness Reinvented," is scheduled to be released late 2015. I share my ideas, techniques, and findings in training programs and workshops for health professionals and the general public.


Mindfulness is a core brain-based skill. To be mindful is to focus. It is to do so fully, in a way that is accepting and undistracted. To be mindful is not to be bothered or preoccupied by self-centered thought or mind-wandering. As such, mindfulness is not just another set of mental health tips or spiritual guidelines. Mindfulness is a tangible practice-based skill centered in brain physiology, or in technical terms "neuroplasticity of prefrontal cortical, amigdalic, and localized alpha activity"). Translated, to learn mindfulness is quite literally to develop "mindfulness brain muscle." We might even consider mindfulness as "brain fitness."

Mindfulness is a tool for effective and focused living and spiritual exploration. However, it is ideally introduced outside of organized religion, where it is often contaminated and constricted by ancient doctrine and dogma. My vision is that mindfulness is best taught in a nondogmatic, ever questioning, science-based, and spiritually attuned educational environment.

When teaching mindfulness I begin with the observation that many who explore the technique quit out of frustration or boredom. To maximize success, I use a comprehensive and individualized strategy. Training focuses on a three-part "mindfulness triangle" of core exercises:

1. Body/breath mindfulness scanning meditation;
2. Concentrative, or "centered focus meditation" (first on 5 potential focal target, later reduced to one or two), and
3. Pure mindfulness.

We then combine this core triangle with five mindfulness booster exercise strategies borrowed from the five basic approaches to relaxation and stress relief (breathing exercises, yoga stretching, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenics, and imagery). Each booster strategy works for different individuals and situations. Boosters augment training by enhancing skill at reducing distraction and mind wandering, as well as cultivating focus, interest, and motivation.

Training concludes by creatively and strategically "pairing" brief mindfulness exercises with everyday activities (walking, eating, listening to music) and then "coupling" mindfulness experiences with one's personal spiritual beliefs and life philosophies. We seek to integrate the skills of mindfulness with everyday living.

Training is guided by a powerful tracking tool, the Mindfulness Experiences Questionnaire. This empirically-developed self-report inventory tracks four facets of Premindful Relaxation, 7 facets of Core Mindfulness, and 3 facets of Mindful Engagement and Transcendence. Through tracking, the student can readily see multiple signs of progress and identify fruitful strategies as well as those that appear to be unproductive and worth letting go.

To summarize, my approach to mindfulness training has four phases:


The Chicago Mindfulness Project (CMP) is dedicated to the professional exploration and instruction of mindfulness skills to health professionals and personal seekers. The CMP seeks to work with and learn from all professional, religious, and spiritual groups seriously committed to exploring the promise of mindfulness.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Duane A. Lundervold on January 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Smith's current version of his Attention, Behavior, Cognition (ABC2) theory of relaxation is presented in slightly less technical form in Relaxation, Meditation and Mindfulness. The text is written in a style for undergraduates and presens everyhig for everybody; hence, the title. He does provide scripts that are helpful in teaching relaxation. Most problematic is the lack of supporting evidence related to his statements and assertions and the pletora of questionnaires that he has included. Consistent with all other books by Smith, he claims that what he is presenting is supported by published research. Unfortunately, this is a distortion, if not simply untrue, a falsehood. The research that has been conducted is ll from his laboratory and most of it has not been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Rather, he includes bits and pieces of student's theses in a his pook as evidence in support of his theory. This is certainly appropriate up to a point, but Smith goes over board with his claim of scientific support. Further, the vast majority of the research by Smith is restrospective, descriptive non-experimental. Only four prospective experimental manipulative studies have been conducted attempting to validate Smith's ABC2 theory. They have failed to do so. More troubling is Smith's blatant plagiarism. Smith includes the Brief Behavioral Relaxation Rating Scale as a measure of relaxation. This instrument is so obviously based on Poppen's Behavioral Relaxation Scale, that the behaviors and definitions included in Smith's instrument are the same as Poppene's BRS. Consistent with Smith's empire building approach to publication, he fails to cite Poppen's publication of the BRS used as the basis for "his" measure.

Smith has embraced the worst of self-help books under the guise of scholarship. Sadly, he has succeeded in the former and failed in the latter.
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