This eight-week program is modeled on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program developed in 1979 and is still running at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It is an introduction to the multidimensional aspects of mindfulness for personal and clinical practice.
Mindfulness is both a meditation practice and a fundamental way of being and perceiving. As a meditation practice, we train the mind to pay attention and be in the present moment as an antidote to our usual ‘automatic pilot’ mode of doing. As an art, mindfulness is an embodiment of being present with your full attention in this moment, with kindness and compassion. The science regarding mindfulness has given us evidence that mindfulness is an “empirically supported clinical intervention across a wide-range of populations, a means of fostering self-care for helping professionals, and a catalyst for going beyond the profession’s focus on pathology to include positive growth and development” (Shapiro & Carlson, 2009).
The teaching/learning format for this course includes real-time instruction and personal engagement with the instructor, as well as dyad work, within a small cohort of learners. We do this through the use of live streaming video, whiteboard, PowerPoint, chat, and break-out rooms in an online classroom. You will have access to weekly homework handouts, readings, audio and video files to support your home practice. A discussion board for between class book chapter reviews with your peers is also available. The course is tailored for ‘helping’ professionals, so our conversations will include ways in which mindfulness might be incorporated into professional health, counseling, education, and social service settings.
No previous meditation experience is required, but a willingness to engage and be present in class and your life, is. Be prepared for about an hour of homework everyday during the course. If that seems like a lot, it is, but you are worth it!