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Talking about Mindfulness


Mindfulness meditation moves into the clasroom. Dr. Patricia Dobkin talks in a CBC audio show broadcasted on October 14, 2014. audio show.mp3

Dr. Patricia Dobkin talks about mindfulness and her work at McGill University. Listen to the interview broadcasted on CBC Radio Montreal. dobkin.risk_.mp3

Dr. Tom Hutchinson and Dr. Stephen Liben talk about mindfulness. Listen to the interview broadcasted on CKUT 90.3 FM Montreal. interview [.mp3]

A presentation on the mindfulness work that Dr. Patricia Dobkin conducts at McGill University with medical students, residents, physicians and other health care professionals, as well as patients with chronic illnesses was delivered at the MUHC Grand Rounds, Department of Medicine on November 27, 2012. To see the video, please click here.

October 2012, Montreal, QC

"Mindfulness was very much on the minds of delegates attending the conference. With two workshops on mindfulness as a process for dealing with stress and a series of research presentations dealing with both mindfulness and resilience, it’s not surprising that many delegates referenced the theme in their conference evaluations and said they intend to use the approach.

The most extensive discussion of the topic came from a workshop featuring various presenters and headed by Dr. Patricia Dobkin, McGill University, Montreal. McGill offers a Mindfulness-based Medical Practice program, with an emphasis on communication and self-care. She was joined by colleagues from Dalhousie University, Halifax, and others from Toronto and Kingston.

At the workshop, presenters from three provinces defined mindfulness as “sustained attentiveness” and the “intentional cultivation of nonjudgmental, moment-to-moment awareness” through meditative practices. The session noted there is a growing interest in this approach, with 730 peer-reviewed articles that mention the term published between 2008 and 2012 compared to 261 in the 12 preceding years. The presenters also said more medical schools are offering courses to students and health care practitioners as a way of relieving stress.

The session focused on the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction program developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in 1979. This structured eight-week program teaches the principles of mindfulness and how to apply them to deal more effectively with stress and chronic illness.

As described by Dobkin, the program “teaches you to become vividly aware of your breath, your body and every aspect of your life so that you can consciously begin to take better care of yourself. It requires purposeful dedication on your part to develop and sustain a daily practice of meditation.”

Studies have shown that the program reduces depression and anxiety, and improves empathy and the delivery of care by increased selfmonitoring. It has also been shown to decrease burnout and heighten a sense of community.

However, the presenters acknowledged there can be challenges in offering this type of program, and Dobkin summarized some of them:

• staying present to challenging situations and experiences of discomfort while teaching

• colleagues who don’t “get it”

• no societal pressure to practise mindfulness in the same way as other healthy activities such as exercise

• time constraints and the requirement to practise at home.

Through offering the programs, Dobkin said a number of lessons have been learned. These include the need to have an appropriate balance between research and evidence and the practical experience of meditation, and having clearly defined objectives for the program — such as relaxation, wellness or improved communication."