Learn to cultivate life-long tools that improve the quality of your life, even when facing stress, illness, and pain.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an empirically-supported 8-week psycho-educational group intervention that teaches mindfulness meditation as a means of coping with stress, pain, and illness. Created by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, MBSR is now taught worldwide. The program offers participants the opportunity to develop the capacity to cultivate a different relationship with stress. Research outcomes have demonstrated positive improvements in physical and psychological symptoms, as well as changes in health attitudes and behaviors. And, while MBSR is not a form of therapy, it is intensely therapeutic. The following are some of the common challenges our participants are facing at the time of enrollment:
Anxiety and worry
Chronic pain and life-threatening medical illnesses
Problems with substances
Grief and loss
The program is highly experiential and focuses on the systematic development of mindfulness attitudes and skills that, once cultivated, can be applied formally and informally in daily life. Mindfulness, however, isn’t a magic cure-all. It is a learned skill that — when applied — is extremely effective. Don’t use it, and you’ll experience little benefit. For many, the practice of mindfulness is described as both challenging and life-affirming, with most graduates reporting a marked sense of accomplishment upon completion.
Each MBSR class incorporates a significant component of mindfulness practice, along with group discussion and sharing, as well as some presentations designed to teach critical themes. The key to gaining the most from mindfulness is in the cultivation of a daily home practice, which is assigned each week by the teacher in addition to other weekly self-reflective exercises. Students are provided all the necessary handouts as well as downloadable audio recordings for home practice.
The MBSR program has a mandatory orientation session which all participants must attend. During this initial, three-hour session participants will be given an overview of the course, fill out any necessary forms, and experience a small taste of mindfulness practice. The teacher will then meet briefly with each person and go over any issues that might prevent the individual from completing the course. Also included in the eight-week program is a full-day, silent retreat usually held on a weekend. Attendance at the retreat is considered mandatory.