New Mindfulness Programs: A Letter from Bev

An open, “beginner’s” mind allows us to be receptive to new possibilities and prevents us from getting stuck in the rut of our own expertise, which often thinks it knows more than it does. ~Jon Kabat-Zinn in Full Catastrophe Living

Greetings,

I hope the moments that you read this message provide a pause in what you are doing and allow you to take a breath, feel the body and, possibly unhook from auto-pilot, if that’s what’s been happening. Just read. You’ll discover some upcoming Mindfulness programs in March and June through August, along with retreat dates. Remember our web address recently changed to www.uihc.org/mindfulness-programs so save it and double-check class offerings in case of changes or to share with others.

Many of you have been asking and reflecting on how to engage with current cultural and political events mindfully. Near the end of this message is an excerpt from teacher, author and scholar Andrew Olendzki who reminds us of the important connection in how we relate to internal and external experiences mindfully.

Follow-up Groups (formally called “Graduate” groups)

Click here to learn more about our Follow-up Groups, which 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.  There are two available in March in addition to our summer offerings.

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 announcement below. See our website for more details.

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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 our support staff at mindfulness@uiowa.edu or 319-384-5089 to schedule an intake session. See announcement below for details also. Instructor is Bev Klug, M.A., LMFT.

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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:

July 15

August 19

October 21

November 4

On Mindfulness in the inner and outer world…

The challenge and promise of mindfulness practice is not simply to become aware of things, but to do so with a particular attitude or emotional tone – a confident, benevolent, mindful, ethical, tranquil equanimity. When meditating, it does no good and some harm to blame yourself for your attention wandering off the breath, or to get annoyed at the person behind you for coughing, or to resent the fact that a pain is arising in your knee. In just the same way, it is not helpful and can make things worse to erupt in hatred toward the mob that stones an innocent woman, the officer that shoots an unarmed black man, or the fanatic who executes a helpless captive. The object of awareness may be reprehensible, but the attitude with which we are aware of it is a different matter and shapes who we are and what will happen next. All the great reformers (Gandhi, Mandela, King) knew the importance of this distinction and made it a cornerstone of their life’s work.

One can know with wisdom that these acts are deeply wrong, feel unbounded compassion for the victims of the atrocity, conjure up the energy needed to see that the perpetrators are brought to justice, and work with determination and even joy to change the conditions enabling such transgression to occur. These are healthy emotions and can be just as effective as their unhealthy counterparts. Taking this on as a practice either when examining our own inner prejudices or exposing the injustices of the world, marks the difference between being swept along on the flood or working against the stream.

~From Untangling Self by Andrew Oldendzki (2016)  pp.94-95

Research on Mindfulness:

There is a steady stream of research now on the benefits of practicing mindfulness Here is a summary of a recent study on the effectiveness of MBSR. See our website for links to other research.

Fall Program Schedule will be posted on our website soon

Wishing you well,

Bev

Bev Klug, M.A., LMFT

Director of Mindfulness-Based Programs

Department of Psychiatry, UIHC

200 Hawkins Dr. /1911 JPP

Iowa City, IA  52242

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