Mindful Practice

Our Approach

Mindful Practice programs include interactive presentations, workshops, and seminars for physicians, trainees, other health professionals and medical educators. They are built on a strong bio-psychosocial foundation and contain three major components – mindfulness meditation, narrative medicine, and appreciative inquiry – each integrated with the others into a seamless approach.

Mindful practice depends on developing a capacity for mindfulness. Mindfulness is a naturally occurring human capacity, not just restricted to "mindfulness meditation" or "mindfulness-based" interventions such as mindfulness-based stress reduction or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Mindfulness can be cultivated in other ways including physical activity, narrative, dialogue, poetry, and music. Mindful practice workshops use a set of contemplative practices as a "container" for holding several other approaches that help to bring mindfulness to the clinical enterprise. Using a series of theme-based modules, Mindful Practice curricula are specifically focused on two linked goals: improving quality of care and improving clinician well-being and resilience.

Beginning with the 1999 JAMA article, "Mindful Practice" we have developed an intellectual basis for mindfulness and self-awareness. Since 2007, we have developed a series of programs in Mindful Practice at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry to address the educational needs of medical students, residents, medical center faculty, and community-based physicians. We offer a series of intensive residential workshops for medical educators and practitioners at the Chapin Mill Retreat Center. We offer other workshops nationally and internationally.

Mindfulness Includes:

  • The capacity for lowering one’s own reactivity (e.g., paying attention to experiences without having to react to them)
  • The ability to notice and observe sensations, thoughts and feelings even though they might be unpleasant
  • Acting with awareness and intention (not being on "automatic pilot")
  • Focusing on experience, not the labels or judgments we apply to them (e.g., feeling an emotion rather than wondering if it is okay to feel that emotion)

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