I am happy to introduce you to Cassandra Vieten, Ph.D. to help us out with the integration of mindfulness into pregnancy, birth, and early parenting. Cassandra is a licensed clinical psychologist, director of research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, co-director of the Mind Body Medicine Research Group at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco, CA, and co-president of the Institute for Spirituality and Psychology. Her research has focused on mindfulness-based approaches to cultivating emotional balance, the involvement of emotion regulation in addiction and recovery, and the factors, experiences, and practices involved in psychospiritual transformation. She has published several academic articles and spoken at academic conferences worldwide.
She is also author of the wonderful book Mindful Motherhood: Practical Tools for Staying Sane During Pregnancy and Your Child’s First Year (New Harbinger/Noetic Books, 2009) and co-author of Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life (New Harbinger/Noetic Books, 2008).
In their recent book Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom, neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, Ph.D and neurologist Richard Mendius, M.D. talk about the growing discoveries being made at the intersection of Psychology, Neurology and Contemplative practice and how we can influence our own minds. We’ll get more into this in an upcoming interview with Rick.
Prior to that interview, I wanted to share with you some interesting facts about our brains that he shares in the book that blew my mind, and I thought you’d find them interesting.
There is a tradition on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy blog. Every Monday, I cite a quote or a poem that is related to mindfulness and psychotherapy in some way and then explore it a bit and how it is relevant to our lives. For me, quotes and poetry can often sink me into a state of greater understanding. So for today, here is a quote by Tara Brach:
When we put down ideas of what life should be like, we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to our life as it is.
Well, here we are again, the “shoulds.” Or the classic saying, “I need to stop shoulding on myself.”
Today I have the honor of interviewing Susan Kaiser Greenland, who had the courage to leave a well-paying law career to embrace a calling to teach mindfulness meditation to children as young as four years old. She is author of the upcoming book The Mindful Child (Free Press, May 2010) and developed the website Mindfulnesstogether.com and the Inner Kids program, to teach young kids vital skills toward a more peaceful and compassionate world.
Elisha: Susan, what an amazing path you’ve chosen. When I teach mindfulness to adults, I often hear, how come we didn’t get this education when we were little, the world would be a much better place. What inspired you to leave the golden handcuffs and venture into this sorely needed area?
Loss is an unavoidable fact of life that we all experience, and it can come in all forms from job loss, divorce, unemployment, relocation, and of course, the most obvious, the death of someone we love. The truth is, for most of us, we’d love nothing more than to forget about the word “death” and to move on with life, turning the other cheek. The problem is, when we lose sight of the experience of loss, we also lose sight of the preciousness of the moment and of life.
“I was reminded about my own mortality, and my sense of urgency to experience life as much as possible and make a difference in the world.”
There is a tradition on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy blog. Every Monday, I cite a quote or a poem that is related to mindfulness and psychotherapy in some way and then explore it a bit and how it is relevant to our lives. For me, quotes and poetry can often sink me into a state of greater understanding. So for today, here is a quote by Rumi:
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
I am happy to introduce you to Cassandra Vieten, Ph.D. to help us out with the integration of mindfulness into pregnancy, birth, and early parenting. Cassandra is a licensed clinical psychologist, director of research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, co-director of the Mind Body Medicine Research Group at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco, and co-president of the Institute for Spirituality and Psychology. Her research has focused on mindfulness-based approaches to cultivating emotional balance, the involvement of emotion regulation in addiction and recovery, and the factors, experiences, and practices involved in psychospiritual transformation. She has published several academic articles and spoken at academic conferences worldwide.
There is no question about it, the interest in Mindfulness-Based Interventions to work with people experiencing a variety of “disorders” and also in healthy individuals is growing at a rapid pace. There has been research with psychological issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, bipolar, addiction, eating disorders, ADHD, OCD, Parenting and others. There has also been plenty of research with medical diagnoses such as Chronic Pain, HIV/AIDS, Cancer, Sleep disorders, heart disease, epilepsy and others.
The most well-known of these are Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and a growing interest in Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) for addictive relapse.
In her book The Art and Science of Mindfulness: Integrating Mindfulness into Psychology and the Helping Professions, Shauna Shapiro shows a variety of research with mindfulness-based interventions and says,
As it stands, there is solid evidence that mindfulness-based treatments can be successfully applied to the treatment of symptoms of anxiety and depression, whether MBSR, MBCT or ACT is applied. Mixed-modality intensive treatments like DBT that incorporate mindfulness training are also useful for treating more complex personality disorders, which often include substance abuse and self-harming behaviors.
Yet, it’s amazing that there has been this much positive research in only 30 years, most of it coming in the last 10 years. This is an exciting time in the field of mindfulness as a modality for medical and psychological distress.
The research is clearly pointing out that mindfulness as an approach has been and can continue to be translated into the mainstream and is indeed helpful as an intervention.
In a previous interview with Shauna, I asked her what she felt was the most exciting research out there in connection with mindfulness and she said:
Neuroplasticity. I believe this single word gives people hope; hope that change is possible. For example, we used to think that we all had a “happiness set point” much like with weight, and that no matter what our circumstances, we would always end up back at baseline. Good scientific evidence substantiates this theory, for example, people who win the lotto or those who are in a …
A while back I wrote the post 10 Quotes for a Mindful Day and followed up with 10 (More) Quotes for a Mindful Day. Since then I began an increasingly popular tradition called Mondays Mindful Quote where every Monday I post a quote that I think has some relevance to Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and then explore the quote.
Here is a new list I’m calling 10 Quotes for a Mindful Day Part III. I will write future posts that explore some of these quotes and how they are relevant to our daily lives. If you already have ideas on how they are relevant to you, please share your thoughts below (you can even do so anonymously if you like) as we can all learn from this living wisdom. Enjoy!
Today I bring back Dr. Daniel Siegel to show us his comedic side, while explaining the concept of mindsight’s connection to a sense of resilience, compassion and well-being. Dan received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. He is the co-editor of a handbook of psychiatry and the author of numerous articles, chapters, and the internationally acclaimed text, The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are. He has also published a wonderful book on parenting with Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., Parenting From the Inside Out. His breakout book in the field of mindfulness is The Mindful Brain, which explores the application of this newly emerging view of the mind, the brain, and human relationships. His newest book, which I am thrilled about, is Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation.
Dan has been invited to work with some esteemed people as a result of their interest in his work including: the U.S. Department of Justice, The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, Microsoft and Google, early intervention programs and a range of clinical and research departments worldwide. He has been invited to lecture for the King of Thailand, Pope John Paul II, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
He has done all this and yet, if you know him, you know he remains so personable and accessible.
Elisha: You are involved in a really comedic video explaining Mindsight with the Blue Man Group that I’m posting below. I’m going to have the readers take a look and then have you give us a glimpse into your experience here.