Consider Taking a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course

I just finished my home-practice for the John Kabat-Zinn, PhD-inspired 10 session course MBSR [Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction], I’m taking with world-class expert, Jeff Brantley, MD  over @ Duke Integrative Medicine. We’re in the 7th week, with a day-long meditation coming this Saturday.  My professional interest is in the solid & impressive scientific research on participants’ mind /body outcomes — I’ve long been interested in the major overlaps/similarities between the altered states of consciousness we call “clinical hypnosis” & “meditation”. And a fine teacher of mine, Michael Yapko, PhD, in Caiif. published this year what he told me will be his last  book — Mindfulness & Hypnosis: the power of suggestion to transform experience —about how guided Mindfulness meditation & guided [as opposed to self-] hypnosis have such commonalities [& differences] that meditation teachers & practitioners would benefit greatly from the good science that’s been done over many decades on hypnosis & suggestion.  Meditation folks, like most other folks, seem to me usually rejecting hypnosis practice & research, w/o really knowing anything at all about what clinical hypnosis actually is.

My personal interests in the course are the same as what i think calls most/?all psychotherapists to becoming therapists — dealing better w/ the conflicts, discomforts & interferences leftover from the interaction between our genetic potentials & our formative family experiences.  There’ve been enough positive developments from that course in my inner life & it’s outer expression, especially in up-time experiences of frustration & anger, that I’m recommending highly clients & therapists take an MBSR course themselves, when the time is right.

Michael Yapko has suggested that if/when follow-up studies of daily self-hypnosis practitioners were done [there are none he know of], brain changes & psychological benefits similar to those reported for MBSR participants & daily, long term, self-guided mindfulness meditators/monks would likely be found in the daily self- hypnosis group.  Doing such research w/ self-hypnosis would be quite challenging for many reasons.  And I think many more folks practice daily mindfulness meditation than daily self- hypnosis, partly because the historical context/reputation of mindfulness is so much more appealing than that of [much-misunderstood] hypnosis — people likely identify way-more with being “spiritual”, like the Dali Lama, than with being “wierd/dangerous”, like Dracula, Svengali & stage hypnotists.

Please share your experience/response to this Post. I'd sure like to know, and it could be useful to someone else. You can click the Post's title to view the entire post, and Comment below, if you like. The "Name Field" will accept any name, so you can be Anonymous [Anon] if you prefer. You must enter your Email to post a comment, but your Email address will not appear publicly. Thanks, Dr Bob
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2 Responses to Consider Taking a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course

  1. Peggy says:

    I can’t tell any difference between experience of self-hypnosis/hypnosis and meditation.

    • Dr. Bob says:

      I’m sorry my earlier reply got lost somehow, Peggy. Thanks for sharing your experience. Though many meditators might disagree, like you, I experience no difference between guided mindfulness and clinical hypnosis with an external facilitator. In these two altered states of consciousness, a person’s responses depend on the interaction between: 1] the direct & indirect suggestions/images offered, 2] the emotional relationship between the person and the external guide, and 3] the person’s interpretation of the experience .
      However, solo mindfulness meditators only to notice non-judgmentally what they experience, whereas in self-hypnosis. people intend to observe their internal images and often change those images to arrange their desired outcomes. For example, beyond simply noticing physical pain in solo mindfulness, in clinical hypnosis, the physical experience can often quickly become much more comfortable when the client’s trance images of size, shape, color, temperature, voice or dialogue with the pain the pain change. Like religious differences, these differences in belief, expectation, vocabulary, and imagery probably matter primarily to those who practice mindfulness daily, to professional teachers of meditation, and to clients and psychotherapists. Both paths seem to lead equally well to personal comfort, balance and skillful management of life’s challenges. Dr Bob

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