Kathleen Bishop, Ph.D.
Dr. Bishop received her training in Teaching Mindfulness at the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Integrative Medicine Center in Philadelphia. She has taught comparative religion at Rutgers University and has a private practice of Psychotherapy.
She is a long time practitioner with over 20 years of experience in sitting meditation, leading and attending meditation retreats.
She earned her Masters of Divinity and Ph.D. from Drew University as well as an Ed.D. in Marriage and Family Counseling from The College of New Jersey. She is also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in NJ.
6-Week Mindful Awareness Course
The goal, in this six-week immersion, is to make mindful living a choice, both on and off the cushion. There are specific teachings for each week along with suggestions for home practice. Handouts will be distributed each week as we construct our own manual. A CD of guided meditations is also included.
MBSR is an evidence-based 8- week course that uses sitting meditation, body awareness and mindful movement to reduce stress. In studies supported by the NIH, participation in the 8-week course appears to make measurable changes in the brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. While MBSR has its roots in spiritual practice, the program itself is secular.
In order for a mindfulness course to be called MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, developed by Jon Kabat Zinn) it must be 8 weeks and include a day-long retreat in between weeks six and seven. The 8-week course is an evidence-based program that gets results. Research articles on mindfulness almost all base their findings on the 8-week course.
The course, as it has been developed at the University of Massachusetts by Jon Kabat Zinn and his colleagues, is more than eight weeks worth of sitting together in a group and going home. There are specific teachings for each week, different types of meditation, and the experience of two hours each week that introduce, elaborate and reinforce the practice. Perhaps you are struggling with the home practice. If so, you may benefit from the community of other practitioners under the guidance of a teacher. I have taken the course twice myself and can attest to the importance of what I call "the wisdom of the group." By the time the course came to an end, most of us were sad to see it go. The consolation is that even though the course must come to an end, the practice can last forever. I heard the words, "it changed my life," said with sincerity, many times by graduates of the course. It certainly changed mine.
The fact remains, however, that it is difficult to find eight unencumbered weeks on the calendar. Nor can some settings where the course is offered accomodate a long course. For these reasons Jon Kabat Zinn devotes a chapter (Full Catastrophe Living) to other alternatives. Shorter courses teach the basics and lay out a path for further practice, which is why I started offering them. I also plan on offering some "One Day" retreats that may suit alumni of my courses or give a taste of what mindful living could be like to the uninitiated. Watch this space!