New Mindfulness Programs: A Letter from Bev

A letter from Bev

A letter from Bev

Hey, it’s a new letter from Bev Klug, M.A., LMFT, Director of Mindfulness-Based Programs at University of Iowa. As most of you know, I’m an edgy kind of guy (oh, really?) although I am still practicing mindfulness which I learned in her class in the summer of 2014. You may not be able to tell if it’s working for me based on what I blog about and that’s OK. I can be passionate, angry, committed to causes I believe in, and climb 32 flights of stairs in a day because I’m too impatient to wait for the elevator because I’m a smokejumper psychiatric consultant in a big general hospital. I still remember how to breathe. When the class was over, our real practice began and our assignment was to write a letter to ourselves and give it to Bev, who mailed it to us later. I still have mine. Thanks, Bev.

Letter to myself

A letter to myself

“Dwelling in stillness and looking inward for some part of each day, we touch what is most real and reliable in ourselves and most easily overlooked and undeveloped. When we can be centered in ourselves, even for brief periods of time in the face of the pull of the outer world, not having to look elsewhere for something to fill us up or make us happy, we can be at home wherever we find ourselves, at peace with things as they are, moment by moment.”

~ Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life

Good Afternoon,

Spring is in the air! A time of new beginnings. Below are some ways to “begin again” with your mindfulness practice this Spring and Summer, or to encourage someone you know to enter into a mindfulness program for the first time.  Or, perhaps you are practicing consistently both formally and in your daily life but would like to feel a bit more deeply rooted in your understanding of the practice.  Maybe you are nurturing and growing some “sprouts” in your life and could benefit from our Mindful Parenting graduate group to help yourself in that endeavor as well as to help them be as healthy and happy as possible. New offerings for our 8-week programs and graduate groups are listed below with registration details. Please note that there are some new times for programs, including an MBSR option that starts at 8:00 AM this summer and the parenting group will begin at 6:30 PM which, hopefully, will better accommodate busy schedules. Please do check our website, too, in case of changes or corrections www.uihealthcare.org/mindfulness .

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)   This 8-week program assists people who want to learn to use their own internal resources to respond more skillfully to stress, medical and psychological conditions and to promote healthy living.  Please share the information with people whom you think might benefit. Everyone is welcome whether or not they are a UI employee. UI employees may be eligible for full fee support through UI Wellness. They need to meet employment criteria, fill out the Personal Health Assessment at http://hr.uiowa.edu/livewell and schedule an appointment with a health coach.  Currently registered UI students receive a 50% discount on the fee.  Non-UI employees who are highly motivated to participate, but have severely limited financial resources, may request a scholarship application.  Options for the required informational sessions are listed on the flyers below. See www.uihealthcare.org/mindfulness for more details.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

MBCT is a program that integrates mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy.  Scientific research supports that it is effective, when practiced consistently, for prevention of depression relapse and, for some, reduced use or elimination of anti-depressant medication.  It can also be helpful in relating skillfully to anxiety.  People who have had episodes of depression must be currently in at least partial remission in order to participate. The group is similar in structure and format to the MBSR program, with more focus on being aware of cognitive, emotional and behavioral patterns that contribute to depression relapse and/or escalation of anxiety and using the practice of mindfulness to respond more skillfully.  MBCT and the required intake session are paid for by most insurance plans with mental health and group therapy coverage. Participants must have a diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety. You can participate in this program even if you have completed MBSR and, in fact, many people find it useful to do so if they experience chronic depression and/or anxiety. Contact mindfulness@uiowa.edu or 319-384-5089 to schedule an intake session. See flyer below for details also.  Instructor is Bev Klug, M.A., LMFT.

MBCT Summer 2016

Graduate Groups

The groups below are open to people who have completed one of our 8-week programs at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Carver College of Medicine or University of Iowa (academic courses).  UI employees with flex spending accounts may be reimbursed for the fees. Many people find that the graduate groups help them return to more consistent practice, deepen what they are already doing, and/or benefit from practicing and discussing mindfulness with others.

1)  Practicing Kindness and Compassion

Meditation requires patience and lovingkindness. If the process of clear seeing isn’t based on self-compassion it will become a process of self-aggression. We need self-compassion to stabilize our minds, to work with our emotions, to stay…  ~Pema Chödrön, Mindfulness teacher and author

Mindfulness practice is one of paying attention intentionally with attitudes such as non-judging, patience, and compassion as we hold our experiences in awareness. Lovingkindness meditation is a practice of intentionally nurturing these attitudes toward ourselves and others while still acknowledging the truth of our experience. It can be useful in developing our ability to bring compassion and kindness to self-criticism as well as judgment of others. It’s also helpful in working with forgiveness of the self and others in a way that is appropriate for each individual at the present time. In this practice many people experience a sense of openness, freedom and satisfaction as well as the opportunity to work gently with feelings of anger and sadness. As is always true in the Mindfulness practice, we will work with responding to what arises in each moment rather than trying to make something in particular happen or to achieve some particular thing. Class time will include sitting meditation and suggestions for practice between sessions will be given.

Schedule:  Thursdays, April 7 through May 5, 2016                   Deadline: March 31

Time:  Noon-1:00 PM

Fee:  $90 (Pay at first class – may be reimbursed by UI flex spending)

Location:  UI Hospitals and Clinics

Instructor:  Kerri Eness-Potter, M.A.

Registration: Email mindfulness@uiowa.edu and we will send you specific directions and confirmation of your registration.

2)  Mindful Awareness and Wise Action

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “Ok, I’m aware of what’s happening, now what?,” as you integrate mindfulness practice into your life? It’s easy to become confused and begin to think that mindfulness is simply paying attention to what is here, and holding whatever is here in awareness while waiting for it to pass. Mindful attention isn’t just a recognition of what’s here. Being aware and present isn’t sitting back and letting the world go by. This group will be an opportunity to clarify these distinctions and to explore how mindfulness practice supports particular qualities of attention and taking action in our lives with clarity and wise discernment.

Schedule: Mondays, April 11 – May 9, 2016                  Deadline:  April 4

Time:  5:30-6:30pm

Location: UI Hospitals and Clinics

Instructor:  Chris Klug, M.A.

Fee:  $90 (Pay at first class – may be reimbursed by UI flex spending)

Registration: Email mindfulness@uiowa.edu and we will send you specific directions and confirmation of your registration

3)  Mindful Parenting 

An important part of mindful parenting “is seeing ourselves with some degree of kindness and compassion. This includes seeing and accepting our limitations, our blindnesses, our humanness and fallibility, and working with them mindfully as best we can.”  Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn, Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting

Do you find yourself wishing you could truly be with your children more often, instead of feeling distracted and divided? When under stress, would you like to be more responsive and less reactive with your children? Could you benefit from cultivating greater compassion and acceptance for yourself and your family? This group will apply the fundamental attitudes of mindful awareness to our relationship with our closest observers and most beloved critics: our children. Topics will be tailored to the interests of the group as we share the full catastrophe that is mindful parenting. Class time will include sitting meditation, discussion and suggestions for mindful parenting practices throughout each week, with email support between classes.

Schedule: Tuesdays, June 14 –July 12, 2016                Deadline:  Tuesday, June 7

Time:  6:30-7:30pm

Location: UI Hospitals and Clinics

Instructor:  Kerri Eness-Potter, M.A.

Fee:  $90 (Pay at first class – may be reimbursed by UI flex spending)

Registration: Email mindfulness@uiowa.edu and we will send you specific directions and confirmation of your registration

4) The Comfort of Being Whole

“As we have seen, the fact that you can learn to respond to stress with awareness does not mean that you will never react anymore or that you will not sometimes be overwhelmed by anger or grief or fear.  We are not trying to suppress our emotions when we respond to stress.  Rather we are learning how to work with all our reactions, emotional and physical, so that we may be less controlled by them and see more clearly what we should do and how we might respond effectively…Responding to stress requires moment-to-moment awareness, taking each moment as it comes.  You will have to rely on your own imagination and you will have to trust in your ability to come up with new ways of seeing and responding in every moment. You will be charting new territory every time you encounter stress in this way.  You will know that you no longer want to react in the old way, but you may not know what it means to respond in a new and different way.  Each opportunity you get will be different. The range of options available to you will depend on the circumstances.  But at least you will have all your resources at your disposal when you encounter the situation with awareness.  You will have the freedom to be creative.  When you cultivate mindfulness in your life, your ability to be fully present can come through even under the most trying of circumstances. It will cradle and embrace the full catastrophe itself.  Sometimes this will reduce your pain and sometimes it may not.  But awareness brings comfort of a certain kind even in the midst of suffering.  We could call it the comfort of wisdom and inner trust, the comfort of being whole.” –Jon Kabat-Zinn in Full Catastrophe Living

Mindfulness practice can bring comfort, yet, as Jon suggests, it’s not a comfort that is based on always “knowing” what to do because we have a ”toolbox of techniques” that will direct us to the “right” answer.  Responding skillfully often means staying present with not knowing, with being able to hold that and whatever else is happening, in awareness as we draw from our inner resources to wisely discern what’s called for. Wisdom and wholeness are available to us. We practice mindfulness to bring them to life.  And what does it mean to be whole, anyway?  We’ll sit in class, discuss, and suggestions for home practices will be provided each week.

Schedule: Tuesdays, June 7 – July 5, 2016              Deadline:  Tuesday, May 31

Time:  Noon-1:00 PM

Location: UI Hospitals and Clinics

Instructor:  Bev Klug, M.A., LMFT

Fee:  $90 (Pay at first class – may be reimbursed by UI flex spending)

Registration: Email mindfulness@uiowa.edu and we will send you specific directions and confirmation of your registration

Retreats

Anyone who has completed an 8-week MBSR, MBCT, UI Undergraduate, Psychiatry Residency or teen group is welcome to attend an extended retreat. There is no fee but donations to the scholarship program are encouraged. Please email mindfulness@uiowa.edu for location details as they are not all held in the same place. Upcoming retreats will be Saturday from 9:00 am-3:30 pm on the following dates:

February 27

March 26

April 30

July 16

Wishing You Well,

Bev

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