Mindfulness is rapidly being integrated into current psychological treatment protocols as a method of systematic training to stabilize attention, improve self-awareness, and reduce perseverative forms of emotional reactivity; however, clinical protocols remain diverse in their implementation and neurobiological mechanisms by which mindfulness functions in select populations are currently unclear.
This presentation will contextualize mindfulness across clinical and scientific contexts. The psychological and cognitive processes as well as the underlying neurobiology supporting existing mindfulness-based meditation practices will be examined in detail for both novice and expert practitioners. A systems-based model of mindfulness will be presented describing a core set of skill-based meditative practices that function to improve self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence.
Findings from the extant literature will be integrated into this model so that participants will better understand how self-processing and the brain networks supporting aspects of the Self are transformed through mindfulness-based practices. Connections between Dr. Vago’s research and the Unified Mindfulness System of meditation will be discussed. Finally, suggestions will be made for incorporating mindfulness-based practices into a model of clinical care for both caregivers and patients across clinical contexts.
This intermediate program provides mental health providers with an understanding of the underlying neurobiological mechanisms involved in mindfulness practice, providing a conceptual framework for utilizing different mindfulness- based practices in select populations.