our programs

mindfulness-based stress reduction

What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction or MBSR?

Participants in our Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs gain a first-hand introduction to the practice of mindfulness by learning specific tools involving breathing, meditation, gentle body movements and other methods for incorporating mindfulness into their daily life. Using these practices, they learn how to focus their attention and cultivate an awareness of their moment-to-moment experience with a greater acceptance of how things really are without wishing they were any different. This promotes a more balanced approach to life and increases resilience during times of stress.

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course which originated at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has been on the cutting edge of integrative medicine for 30 years. Developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, nearly 30,000 people have completed this internationally acclaimed course and it is the most widely researched mind-body program in the world. The curriculum is designed to guide participants in learning how to practice, how to apply mindfulness in everyday life and ultimately how to integrate it into their lives for the long term. It creates a pathway to relieve suffering and increase well-being for people facing a variety of challenges, health issues and stress. The course consists of a free 2-hour orientation (mandatory), eight weekly 2.5-hour classes plus a full-day retreat. Each participant in the course will receive:

  • 25.5 hours of in-class instruction
  • Guided instruction in formal mindfulness meditation practices including the body scan
  • Gentle stretching and mindful yoga
  • Group dialogue and discussions aimed at enhancing awareness in everyday life
  • Daily home assignments and a home practice packet
  • Downloadable home practice audio files
    events, cost & scheduling

This series is for those who have taken either the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course or the 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion course and are interested in deepening their practice. The program is designed to enliven each participant’s practice, honing their skills and diving deeper into all aspects of being connected to the present moment. We are offering 2-hour sessions during which we explore the various factors involved in this “state of being connected” and all relationships – to presence, to ourselves, to one another, and the world around us.

➜ events, cost & scheduling

Participate in weekly online Zoom practices including guided meditations, seated stretches, and standing yoga. Use this as an opportunity to be part of an online community of support to strengthen your practice and cultivate resilience. We are pleased to announce an online book club beginning in May. Check our event calendar for details soon. 

➜ events, cost & scheduling

Learn the basics of a meditation practice at this introductory session. The program will briefly review the meaning and benefits of mindfulness practices, and then present an experiential introduction to breath-based meditation practice. Suggestions will be offered on how to integrate a simple, but effective, mindfulness practice into one’s everyday workplace and life.

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We offer half-day workshops that focus on a variety of subjects ranging in suitability for the beginner to those with a more seasoned practice. The half-day workshop allows more time for participants to experience the benefits of meditation and learn about integrating mindfulness practices into their life. Topics for the half-day range from meditation for beginners, to cultivating self-compassion, to learning to communicate mindfully, and to increase our innate capacity to be creative.

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This workshop is offered as a refresher for the MBSR graduate and is an opportunity to enliven and deepen their practice.  Participants review some of the practices, turn inward to remember their own capacity for finding stillness, and re-discover what it means to meet the wandering-mind with a degree of curiosity, patience and self-compassion.

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The full-day retreat is for the MBSR student going through the program and is also open to all graduates of the MBSR program. It is an opportunity for participants in the program to practice the skills they are learning, increase their self-awareness and deepen their practice. It is a good refresher for graduates of the program to hone their skills and re-commit to their practice. The full-day workshops, on the other hand, are centered around a theme and are for anyone with an ongoing practice. See our schedule for retreats and workshops.

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Weekend retreats delve more deeply into the practice of mindfulness and are geared for those with an ongoing practice. The focus is more exploratory than explanatory so there are extended periods of silence. These retreats are usually residential and offer the participants the opportunity to unplug, turn inward and re-connect with themselves.

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mindful self-compassion

What is Mindful Self-Compassion or MSC?

The goal of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) programs is for participants to gain the capacity to forgive, encourage, and motivate themselves when struggling with feelings of personal failure or inadequacy. The more people can be kind and compassionate toward the challenges and struggles they themselves face, the more they can be accepting and empathetic toward others. Shame, self-criticism, perfectionism and an intolerance for difficult emotions are at the heart of much of our suffering, and also belie many of the harmful behaviors we see in the world today. Extensive research has shown that the practice of self-compassion is a viable, powerful and effective “antidote” to these root causes of suffering, while promoting greater self-acceptance and increased resilience.

The Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) course is an evidenced-based 8-week course designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. It was developed by Christopher Germer, PhD, a leader in the integration of mindfulness and psychotherapy (www.ChrisGermer.com) and Kristin Neff, PhD, a pioneering researcher in the field of self-compassion (www.Self-Compassion.org) and teaches participants skills needed for greater awareness in the present moment of their own distress or suffering so they can respond with kindness and wisdom. Research is showing that self-compassion is correlated with greater happiness and wellbeing, decreased anxiety and depression, as well as healthier lifestyle habits. Participants learn how to treat themselves more like someone they love, befriending themselves, cultivating a gentle curiosity about inner experiences, motivating with encouragement rather than punishment, and coping with difficult emotions with greater calm and ease. The course consists of a free 2-hour orientation, eight weekly 2.5-hour classes plus a half-day retreat. Each participant in the course will receive:

  • 24 total hours of instruction in Mindful Self-Compassion, which includes carefully sequenced self-compassion exercises, guided meditations, written exercises, group discussions, and mindful movement
  • Weekly handouts to reinforce the learning and provide support and reminders for home practice
  • Weekly homework assignments (optional, but recommended)
  • Access to all meditation audio recordings
 
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This workshop is an introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), an empirically-supported training program based on the clinical perspective of Chris Germer and the pioneering research of Kristin Neff. MSC combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to enhance our capacity for emotional wellbeing. Mindfulness is the first step—turning with loving awareness toward difficult experience (emotions, sensations, thoughts). Self-compassion comes next—bringing loving awareness to ourselves. Together, mindfulness and self-compassion comprise a state of warm, connected presence during difficult moments in our lives. Burgeoning research shows that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, coping with life challenges, lower levels of anxiety and depression, healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying, compassionate relationships. Self-compassion includes the capacity to comfort, soothe and validate ourselves, but also to protect and provide for ourselves, and to motivate ourselves to achieve our goals.

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The full eight-session MSC curriculum can be experienced in an intensive format, usually consisting of an introductory evening, four full days of training, and a final morning of training and closing. Note that intensives are primarily taught by Certified MSC teachers who have completed additional MSC teacher training. As the name suggests, an MSC intensive is a deep dive into the practice of self-compassion. While it can be emotionally challenging, concentrated practice allows you to immerse yourself more deeply in MSC and experience its transformative potential.

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This 5-night silent retreat is rooted in mindfulness and self-compassion to provide an opportunity to renew and deepen your practice of mindfulness meditation and compassion while supported by experienced teachers in an environment enhanced by silence. The retreat fulfills the prerequisite for MSC teacher training and other mindfulness-based teacher trainings such as MBSR and MBCT. It is open to all who have some meditation experience, an interest in retreat practice and wish to deepen their connection with mindfulness and the practice of self-compassion.

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MSC Teacher Training is an intensive, 6-day residential program facilitated by a team of senior MSC teachers. The training is built around the eight weekly sessions of MSC with each half day dedicated to a condensed, experiential review of one of the sessions, followed by small group activities designed to give attendees opportunities to practice teaching, guiding and facilitating discussion in that session with the close consultation of one of the Teacher Trainers. In addition, the training includes short talks, group exercises, discussion, and periods of silence.

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college programs

What is the U-Thrive College Program?

It has been well documented that there is a positive relationship between students’ emotional health and their persistence to college completion but unfortunately, an increasing number of college students are now experiencing emotional health issues – to the point that it has become a public health concern. U-Thrive Educational Services has developed programs to improve college students’ psychological health by equipping them with the skills and attitudes that have been proven to underlie wellbeing. The core content of these programs is based on rigorous research in the areas of Positive Psychology, Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, and the resulting best practices to promote human flourishing. To learn more about these programs and how you can bring them to your college campus now, please visit our website at UthriveEducation.com.

➜ go to UthriveEducation.com

mindful awareness practices for educators

What is MAPs for Educators?

With mounting demands in and out of the classroom educators are underpaid and overworked. The pressures of deadlines, test scores, assuming responsibilities that fall in the parenting domain, and a new normal that physical harm is an ever-present danger in the school environment, are pushing educators to the brink. A staggering 50% of all teachers leave their profession within 5 years of entering the workplace due to the overwhelming stress they feel.  The MAPs program is designed to help educators care for themselves holistically and sustainably as a way to prevent burnout. Over the course of 12 online modules bookended by a one-day in-person retreat at the beginning and end, educators will learn how to create rituals for self-care, cultivate resiliency, explore various mindful awareness practices, have access to resources, and become part of an on-line community for support. Participants learn to care for their students by caring for themselves. For more information visit our website MindfulAwarenessPractices.com.

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