Mindfulness-based counseling, MBSR/MBCT/MSC, Trauma-informed mindfulness consulting, MBSR mentorship, professional trainings, and retreats.
Mindfulness – Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an 8-10 week intensive course designed to transform your relationship to stress and increase your enjoyment of life. MBSR was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn a the University of Massachusetts and has been extensively studied since the late 1970’s. MBSR is not simply a course in learning how to meditate or even a course in how to practice mindfulness. Instead, this powerful curriculum leads you through a process of bringing mindfulness to the challenges of your own life.
The course is called "mindfulness-based" because the core teachings are around how to be present in our lives, with ease; in other words, how to be mindful in all of our moments. Mindfulness has two main components: 1) being present, focused, attentive, aware and concentrating on THIS MOMENT; and 2) being at ease with, as well as friendly and kind to, our own experiences. This course teaches both sets of skills, in detail.
More and more scientific studies are implicating "stress" as a causative factor in medical conditions. . . everything from diabetes to cancer to MS to chronic back pain. The intermediary is inflammation, caused by over-reactive stress hormones. While diet and exercise play a role in decreasing inflammation, so does calming the nervous system directly through mindfulness practice; often within seconds our body begins to activate different genes which bring our system into balance. More than simply "stress reduction" MBSR gives you the skills to thrive in all of life's circumstances, including the very challenging ones, without over-taxing your nervous system.
MBSR teaches four types of mindfulness skills: Each of the 8-weekly sessions will build these skill sets.
1) Formal mindfulness meditation practices: sitting meditation, walking meditation, body scan, mindful movement/gentle yoga, and lovingkindness meditation. Through formal practices you learn focus, awareness, and concentration that stabilizes your mind for stressful situations you might encounter during your day.
2) Applications of mindfulness to everyday activities such as mindful listening, eating, driving, making decisions, planning, and responding to stressful situations--learn to use your mindfulness skills 24/7!
3) Mindful Inquiry Increasing your ability to answer the question "what am I experiencing right now?--what am I feeling, what is happening in my body, what am I thinking?
4) Infusing all of the above with a friendliness to your own experience. This is a skill most lacking in our culture. We are trained to seek perfection and chastise ourselves severely though self-criticism and self-judgment when we fall short. For many, this is a habit that can follow them throughout their days and years--though like any habit, it can be changed and mended. The MBSR course will teach you specifically how to do this.
Common reasons for learning these skills are:
Course Format and Content
I closely follow the recommended guidelines for content, format and number of hours as intended by Jon Kabat-Zinn and The Center for Mindfulness at UMASS.
The class consists of eight weeks of 2 ½ - 3 hour classes with one extended retreat. Classes are highly participatory and practical. The course includes:
In order to get the most out of the course, both regular attendance of the classes and regular work with the material between classes is required. This may require re-prioritizing the way you spend your time during the course. The more you make mindfulness a priority during the course, the more it is likely to be a resource for you after the course.
Continuing after the 8-week course
On-going retreats and individual sessions are options for your continued local support; additional fees apply.
"MBSR is simply the best method I know for empowering you to develop a regular mindfulness meditation practice that is right for you (choosing from one of the 10+ mindfulness practices taught in the course) AS WELL AS learning to apply the principals of mindfulness to the challenges--both inner and outer--present in your everyday life. Imagine doing all of this in a way that actually feels friendly and safe to your inner world, where awareness is cultivated along with compassion towards yourself--exactly as you are right now. Most participants find they not only are more present and confident in their lives after my MBSR class but they also know and like themselves better, too! Inner peace, calm, contentment, wisdom and friendliness to yourself and others are very common outcomes of the course, even when life circumstances don't change one bit--though they often do change for my participants, since they see options more clearly and have the courage to make needed changes." Trish Magyari, MS, LCPC, Certified MBSR Teacher
What if I need to miss some of the sessions? Each of the 8 MBSR classes build on the next and it is important for group process that participants attend regularly. If you know in advance that you will miss more than two meeting times--either classes or retreat, I recommend waiting for another session. In addition, you must attend at least one of the first two class meetings to participate.
If you are missing one or two sessions out of the nine, while not ideal, it is possible to participate in the current session. Registrants will have all course materials at the first class so if you miss a class you will be encouraged to follow along with CD instruction, home practice and workbook exercises. I am also available by phone, email and in-person before/after class to briefly explain what they will miss/have missed (please note that this is simply going over the expectations, not a full make-up session). If there are two or more classes running concurrently, you may attend the other section once or twice during the course with advance notice. If there are no other MBSR classes currently running, full make-up sessions are only available by scheduling an individual appointment and paying for a private session. Therefore, its important to confirm your availability to attend at least 7 of the 9 sessions for the series that you sign up for.
What if the MBSR session has started, can I still join? If there is still space, I allow new participants to join up through the second meeting. Once the course has met twice, no new participants are brought in; if this has occurred, please contact me for information about the next course time.
What is required during the course? In order to get the most out of the course, both regular attendance of the classes and regular work with the material between classes is required. Home practice might take the form of practicing one or more of the mindfulness meditations, or applying mindfulness to daily life situations, for instance, practicing "mindful eating" between classes. Bringing mindfulness to our daily activities does not take any more time than not being mindful of them. Practicing meditations do take time and its important to make this a priority during the class, which may include re-prioritizing your daily activitites to find minutes during the day. As someone recently said, "If you have time for FaceBook or Twitter, you have time for meditation". Support and ideas for finding time for the home practices is available during the course, however, it will still require your commitment to make this happen.
How do I register? For the Friday morning April/May 2016 MBSR course through MUIH, please click here for more information and to register directly through MUIH.
Still have questions? Please contact me! I look forward to hearing from you.