Brain Change and Mindfulness . . . In 8 Weeks?

Could someone who has never before been exposed to mindfulness begin to see results in as little as 8 weeks?

Eight weeks isn’t all that long.

But it could be just enough to cause significant change in someone’s brain (and therefore in their life).

A group of researchers out of the University of Siena, in Italy, led by Emiliano Santarnecchi, PhD, set out to answer that question. They also wanted to find out if there might be a correlation between physical changes in the brain and how folks fared psychologically.

Rear view of a male and female doctors discussing brain scans in

The team randomized 48 right-handed participants who had never meditated before into either a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training or a wait-list control group.

(And in case you were wondering why they only looked at right-handed people, that’s because there are physical brain differences related to “handedness” – so this was just an added control measure.)

All of the participants were evaluated before and after the 8-week investigation. Their brains were scanned using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and their psychological well-being was assessed using a handful of self-report questionnaires (the TAS-20, PSWQ, STAI, BDI II, and the MAAS).

The 8-week MBSR training consisted of weekly 2.5-hour-long face-to-face sessions. During the week, participants were asked to practice on their own for at least 45 minutes each day, writing about what they did as they went. They also attended a day-long silent retreat at the end of their first week in the program.

#brainchange . . . in 8 weeks? - @RuthBuczynski Click To Tweet

Meanwhile, the control group underwent the brain scans and psychological tests while waiting 8 weeks to learn MBSR.

Dr. Santarnecchi used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to calculate the cortical thickness of grey matter (the goal being to increase grey matter).

Now, I’ve talked about VBM before, but to recap, it’s a computer analysis technique researchers often use to calculate brain volume from imaging scans like MRIs.

So, were 8 weeks of mindfulness enough to see a significant change?

According to Dr. Santarnecchi and his team, yes. They found an increase in right insula thickness. Plus, for all of the self-report tests, with the exception of the MAAS which wasn’t significantly different, participants were significantly better able to express their feelings.

The control group showed no changes at the end of the 8 weeks.

Now, this study doesn’t take into account the effects a short intervention might have on folks who are already struggling with psychological well-being, so we can’t assume that this is for everyone. Plus, I’d really like to see a treatment control here.

But this work shows one more way that mindfulness could enhance people’s lives.

Evidence shows Italian program changes the brain in 8 weeks. - @RuthBuczynski Click To Tweet

If you want to know more, you can get the details of the study at PLOS ONE (Volume 9, Issue 10).

But for now, I’d like to know what you think.

Would you consider recommending an 8-week MBSR trial to any of your clients? If not, what would prevent you? Please let me know what you think in the space below.

Please Leave A Comment

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57 Comments

  1. Jacquie says:

    Absolutely…. although I am wondering about the time framing. It would be interesting to do a study with different time frames.

  2. Betsy Goodman says:

    Here is an excellent free resource for people who live in areas where they can’t access a Mindfulness course. Dave Potter, a retired counselor in Idaho who was trained by Jon Kabat Zinn, has made his course available online for free. Over 1000 people have graduated from it… From all over the world. There are many excellent links and resources, and the course was recently translated into Spanish.
    Access the Mindfulness course here:
    https://palousemindfulness.com/

  3. Sue says:

    I was interested in the comments made with regards to treatment of PTSD and the caution using MBSR. My daughter has struggled for years with multiple traumas beginning at a very young age. She is presently starting EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Would anyone be able to comment. I am not a practitioner, but a very concerned Mum. Thank you.

  4. Julie Burns says:

    I am an artist in my 50’s who lives in rural Montana. I have found all your emails immanency helpful.

    Last Easter my father forced me out of the family for laying a boundary with him and my sisters. I have layers and layers of trauma from the family. I started Googling things like lack of empathy and mobbing that have lead me to a better understanding of my family. I now know that I have been a target all my life of malignant narcissist.

    Because I live so rural I have been doing self-therapy. I changed my way of eating to Paleo and stopped drinking. My self esteem has been shattered, my struggle with creativity now, when it used to just flow naturally, I wake up in the middle of the night sobbing.

    Things that are helping are taking Natural Calm to help me sleep, when I wake up I now acknowledge that a part of me has woken up to the reality of my family life and I soothe that awoken part and reassure it that I am here for her and we are safe.

    It has been a very hard year and your emails have lead me to discovering about Pete Walker, Peter Levine and so many others. I have learned about the Vegus Nerve, the amygdala and the hippocampus. Things this artist never even thought about!

    I am planning to move to the city this summer in order to find a therapist and do body work, join yoga and water aerobics. This experience has caused me to avoid life and retreat within myself…time to jump back into life joyfully!

    Thanks for allowing us non-therapists to be part of your email list!

  5. Dawne Morgan says:

    Greetings, I am. Intrigued. I am a licensed practitioner who adheres to evidence based practices, to which there is some compelling research around benefits of mindfulness practice. I would recommend with enough evidence to suggest there is data to support meaningful change in identified target behaviors. My additional challenge is I work with ID/ASD population, children and young adults. Mindfulness exercises that could be modified would be essential.

  6. Cost is always a factor. Most of my clients receive welfare payment and cannot afford therapeutic intervention. Mindfulness is, luckily an easy tool to learn and introduced even at a very simplistic level can allow a sense of control and increased self worth.

  7. Girish Jha says:

    Hi Ruth
    I like your article. Many people have been saying that brain changes in 8 weeks of mindfulness.
    May i get more details from you.
    does ‘eight weeks’ means mindfulness is done every day or once a week?
    what happens after eight weeks ? does brain changes again and returns to its old habits?
    Thanks
    Grish Jha

  8. Mona Bordage says:

    It would definitely be a positive approach to seeking enhanced self expression and awareness. The model from Siena suggests a bit more than that what many clients receive in a clinical setting. This mindfulness training of 2.5 hrs per week and the day long silent retreat are very structured and these are more extensive interventions than the usual 1 hour session. But the outcomes suggest it is a healthy direction for the brain.

  9. Fascinating,

    as a Therapist – I am more and more open minded to MBSR as time passes.

    Great!

    Brian,

    London

  10. YES, I WOULD CONSIDER RECOMMENDING THE TRAINING; HOWEVER, I TEACH A VERSION OF IT THAT INCLUDES MINDFULNESS MEDITATION, MORE COMMONLY KNOWN AS INSIGHT MEDITATION, IYENGAR YOGA, AND CRANIAL SACRAL THERAPY. I USE THESE TEACHINGS FOR CLIENTS WHO HAVE SUFFERED TBI AND OTHER TRAUMA, DEVELOPMENTAL ISSUES, AND MANY OTHER ISSUES. I AM CERTIFIED IN ALL OF THESE THERAPIES, ALTHOUGH THE MEDITATION PIECE IS NOT A CERTIFICATION, RATHER, IT IS CE CREDITS FROM HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL AND THE MIND BODY INSTITUTE SYMPOSIUM HELD IN 1990, AT WHICH THE DALAI LAMA LECTURED ON THE RESULTS OF 10 YEAR LONG STUDY OF EEG/BRAIN FUNCTION TESTS AND HOW THEY ARE AFFECTED THROUGH MEDITATION PRACTICE. IN 1990, THIS WORK WAS IN ITS INFANCY, THE INFORMATION IS NOW AVAILABLE IN MOST CITIES IN THE U.S. AND EUROPE. FURTHER THE EFFECTS IF COMBINING THESE POWERFUL MODALITIES FOR TREATMENT OF BRAIN INJURY AND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OTHER KINDS OF TRAUMA WAS UNHEARD OF. I DEVELOPED THEM ORGANICALLY FROM MY PERSONAL PRACTICE BECAUSE OF A TBI AND OTHER INJURIES I SUFFERED IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT.

  11. Janice says:

    Sounds like an Italian version of MBSR that was developed at Massachusetts General (Harvard) by
    John Kabat Zinn. The book & CDs are titled “Full Catastrophe Living.” It is best done in a group with a trained MBSR leader. There is a lot of research on the benefits of this practice, as it has been in use since the late 1970s.

  12. Sara says:

    As a pastoral caregiver, I already encourage prayer and meditation. Now I can talk about the changes to the brain that have been seen in studies in as little as 8 weeks. Excellent.
    http://www.highlyfavoredoneministries.com

  13. Jo says:

    Only cost and accessibility would prevent me from recommending MBSR

  14. Caroline Storm says:

    Thank you Ruth…I seem not to have been able to make it clear enough to you that I am not a professional counsellor in any way. I am aiming to try and change a life which is, and has been now for 14 years (on March 16th) emotionally aware and mourning for my daughter who long suffered schizophrenia and finally died by suicide.
    I shall try to find more about “Minfdulness”. My life has friends, laughter, family and love. perhaps it…mindfulness… may enable me to live with fewer periods of mourning for Anne.
    I appreciate your information. Caroline

  15. Rhondda Curtis retired university counsellor australia says:

    Yes.

  16. paula worden, educator of young children says:

    I would like to participate myself.

  17. Maria Oria says:

    I would like to try the program. I am not a therapist but a patient that truly believes in the mindfulness approach and would like to see this field advance. What is a way to know if a trial like this will be conducted in the US.
    Thank you for all you are doing.

  18. liesl Reiki teacher says:

    I would like to go through this 8 week program myself before I would share it with my clients or students. Having suffered many traumas myself I am open to anything that is recommended especially when it comes via experts.

  19. Naomi Boothe, LPC, Chattanooga, TN says:

    This is so exciting to me! From working with addiction, I have learned that there is a significant shift in the brain at 90 days of sobriety where the brain begins healing which allows individuals to make more effective changes and have a higher chance of remaining sober. Trauma and substance use and mental health all go hand in hand. I wonder what changes we would see in the brain at 90 days or 3 months of MBSR. I also can see how this would speed up the healing processes in the brain for someone in recovery which would increase the overall likelihood of success. Are the changes made permanent or would there be some relapse should the individual not maintain or continue MBSR after the 8 weeks? Either way, 8 weeks is also a good time frame for establishing a habit which will ideally increase the likelihood that the individual would continue using MBSR and therefore continue to heal.
    Great research and information, thank you so much for sharing. I would definitely recommend this to my clients and actually know of an office locally that already offers a MBSR program which I will be looking into now! Thank you!

    • Georgy Olivieri, MBA, RADT, MA in Counseling Psychology Student, Mission Viejo, CA, USA says:

      As my second career, I am currently pursuing a specialty in addiction counseling. I agree with Naomi’s comments. I view the application of MBSR in addiction treatment programs as another significant tool to help enhance client opportunities for sustained sobriety. With the current rate of relapse and the implication of innumerable overdose related deaths, I would hope to see a 90 day trial and published results shared with the world of addiction treatment professionals. Please let me know if I can help in the promotion of this idea in the Southern California area, Orange County.
      Thank you for sharing this important topic with us.
      Georgy Olivieri

  20. Mica May - Supervision for Professionals says:

    I’m wondering how long a ‘mindful resistant’ group might need to see changes – assuming their resistance will be likely to decrease how long they will practice…
    Considering setting up a study of my own to examine this.
    What would be the pitfalls? How many people would I need to use to do this?

  21. Donna Bunce MSW & trauma survivor says:

    I walked into a mindfulness zen psychotherapist pretty much by accident over 5 years ago. I had lost everything in my life that was of value, my career, all relationships, and any lasting self-worth. I obtained permanent disability in a court hearing on my 55th birthday. I was placed on medications at age 39 after obtaining my masters. The medications caused a loss and a spin down into hell on earth. Every doctor and clinician gave me more diagnosis and medications. Many said a life long sentence, chemical imbalance. I know today, that it was a lie. An inaccurate assessment at best. The new brain science is a miracle!! So I began my healing journey by safely titrating off every medication, one at a time. I had been a psy. tech. and knew how. In 6 months I was off of every medication. My counselor gave me her book, the MBSR workbook and a DVD of Bob Stahl doing 30 mins of qigong and 30 mins of meditation. I didn’t know what I was doing but I became one with the DVD every day for months. I was resetting my central nervous system. After I successfully got off, I volunteered for two different projects that brought me great joy. It was not easy. I continued to heal myself for almost 5 years. I can tell you about trauma. The preverbal complex trauma I lived my whole life with. I can tell you about my dead parents and their own trauma history individually. I can tell you about massage therapy, energy healing, building safety and trust with healers. I can talk now. I continue to heal and share my journey. MBSR rocks!! So do healers!!! Thanks Ruth and many many more like Tara Brach, Peter Levine, Bessel Van Der Kolk, Jonathan Foust, Jack Kornfield, Don Miguel Ruiz, Eckhart Tolle, and many more!! There is healing♡♡♡

  22. Donna Bunce MSW & trauma survivor says:

    MBSR is life changing if a person is ready.

  23. Jennifer Farmer,Licensed Professional Counselor says:

    I may have a few who might be interested in a trial. Thank you for sharing this study.

  24. Sergey Yatsenko, Inventor of Nanotechnology, Russia, says:

    Good day Ruth Buczynski, PhD . Social Medai : New Content from Thought Leader. Transformation of Thought Leader give New Understanding & Analytical Wisdom .

  25. val burns says:

    DEAR RUTH, THANKS FOR YOUR EMAILS RE BRAIN CHANGE. VERY INTERESTING.
    UNFORTUNATELY I DONT HAVE ANY CLIENTS TO PASS IT ON TO. I AM AN OLD RETIRED LADY.

    RUTH I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN = AND THANK YOU FOR ALL
    YOUR INFORMATION AND EMAILS. GOD BLESS YOU. LOVE VAL.

  26. Kent norton, health coach brain tuner, Sarasota fl says:

    I studied with herb benson and colleagues at HMS in 2010 and we had a 990 page manual on the Cme but nowhere did it mention why 8 weeks was the time frame for the program that patients take or why your #brainchange is so timed

    • Pamela Chamberlynn, MSW, IHCP, MP - Tallahassee, Florida says:

      Hi Kent. I am a Mindfulness Professional graduated from Duke Integrative Medicine Center’s (DIMC) Mindfulness Professional training program. While the MP program at Duke does not graduate us as MBSR instructors it is a wonderful professional foundation to use mindfulness in our professional practices like health coaching and medicine. I am also a graduate of the DIMC Integrative Health Coach Professional training program.

      It is my understanding that the eight week MBSR program with its very specific training standards is the original research model created at U Mass by Jon Kabat Zinn et all. Since then there has been and continues to be a wide array of implementations and research on the use of mindfulness in a broad continuum of settings. Some research shows five minutes a day is beneficial. Thank goodness. Most people won’t commit at first, if at all, to 45’+ of meditation practice every day or learn and practice the various forms of mindfulness meditation like the body scan. The spectrum of research is wonderful but it also is beneficial to have a world wide research standard so we can compare apples to apples – even though we acknowledge the joy of apples and oranges and celery and spinach and… you get the idea. The Newtonian Cartesian model of science is either/or. The quantum model is it can be this AND it can be that. A core of research is duplicability of research results. The eight week MBSR model achieves that. We can have a standardized way to research apples to apples MBSR AND we can research many other mindfulness applications. It’s all good! Benson did fantastic work in meditation also. How wonderful that this is now mainstreaming into society. Have you read Congressman Tim Ryan’s wonderful book A Mindful Nation yet? I recommend that as a sound starting point to all my clients and the professionals I work with.

  27. Sue McMurray Education, Mindfulness says:

    I am teaching an 11 week course at Duke University beginning January 6th. I will refer to this report in the first class! Mindfulness is growing, and this weary world needs it badly. Sue McMurray

  28. Gina Wilson, MA,NCC, Neuroplastician-Spring, TX says:

    In terms of working with clients that suffer from PTSD or trauma remember that neural atrophy has occurred that prevents the individual from being able to self-regulate. The cortical thickness to the amygdala thickens, while access to the PFC diminishes. Helping clients develop new ways of thinking, feeling and acting begins to build new connections to the PFC and at the same time, diminish those automatic responses from the amygdala.

  29. Kent norton, health coach brain tuner, Sarasota fl says:

    Mutation revives memories of hippies, Tim Leary, drugs and religious mantras as well as many thinking this is some sort of cult. I studied with herb benson at the hms I. 2010 as meditation for physicians for relaxation and suicide prevention-‘as you may know, we lose about 400 young md’s every year! I am not a sales,an and it seems that being a connector and maven, according to Gladwells book, I lack a. On inching, as most of us come across as academic or theoretical. We need some didactic procedures that in 2 minutes can install belief in patients. Thanks for listening. Love and light kent norton Neurocoach , court mediator

  30. Shoba Balaji, Doctor, Sydney says:

    There is no doubt, the research works prove mindfulness is helpful to many people. But in my own experience and dealing with patients with different types of illness or even in an healthy individual, one should first help the person to become clear of his underlying thoughts before starting mindfulness.
    For example if a person basically has underlying negative thoughts or mentally disturbed by any kind of illness, or any kind of negative impact, and if you just start mindfulness superficially without getting deeper into their thoughts mindfulness is going to strengthen their thoughts already present underlying in them.
    Hence its really good to guide a person clearly how would mindfulness is going to bring positive outcome by clearly focusing on one`s own thoughts.

  31. Diane Counselor WA says:

    I would be very interested in knowing more before recommending it. But on the info you gave I’m inclined to recommend.

  32. Michael Kirton Clinical Psych says:

    This might be useful for some clients!

  33. Mary K Cooper Ph.D., LMFT says:

    This confirms my own experiences with meditation. I would definitely recommend it to my clients.

  34. Barbara Hoffman, LMFT says:

    I recommend MBSR classes to many of my depressed, anxious and PTSD patients. The program requires a significant commitment of money, time and homework, and I find that patients who commit are already beginning to improve, before having gone more than once. I reinforce by brief mindfulness practice in session as well as self disclosure about being a meditator myself. So often patients who start therapy feeling hopeless and having no idea how or what to do, begin to improve with the support and commitment to even the briefest regular mindfulness practice. It is really important, however, to set the agenda with patient first, explore any resistance, “what ifs” and “why nots”. I follow David Burns T.E.A.M. Method of therapy, and am a certified trainer/therapist in that model.

  35. Steven Bulcroft, MFT Yreka, CA USA says:

    One caveat re: mindfulness training and PTSD – People with severe PTSD have a very difficult time with mindfulness as a lot of the trauma memories start surfacing as they quiet their minds, I find using movement based meditations like walking, yoga, tai chi, etc.. often will help them learn to quiet their minds without major intrusions from their trauma. It is important to get the client practicing but often the intrusive memory can stop the client from practicing and they may even stop therapy altogether. Oh, and some religious people refuse to even participate as they believe the practice is yoga (which it is) and they fear it as anathema to their religion.

    • elena says:

      I so agree that SITTING MEDITATION is pretty useless for PTSD clients. However, the precepts to slow down, STAY with a feeling, Stay with witnessing, as Pema Chodron teaches can be applied to eyes- open presence and increased resilience. I am experiencing great benefits with SOMATIC EXPERIENCING– Peter Levine’s method of titrated release on the level of the nervous system for trauma clients.

  36. Steven Bulcroft, MFT Yreka, CA USA says:

    I run domestic violence “batterer’s” groups and my clients are required to attend the program for a year. I have introduced mindfulness training several years ago and notice that the clients who actually practice (I assign practices daily of only 20 minutes) there is a huge difference in their attitude, behaviors (reported by their significant others) and moods in less then 3 months. We practice a 15 minute meditation (sometimes longer) in each weekly sessions as well and even among the members who really aren’t practicing at home they’re are subtle changes noticed and many of them start practicing regularly just from noticing the differences in others and themselves as to being able to control their moods. I have many private clients also that I’ve introduced mindfulness with in the form of mindfulness based cognitive therapy and also see major changes quickly. I have been a therapist for over 38 years and in the past 6 years (since I’ve introduced mindfulness in my practice) my results have improved greatly and I have more clients then ever before many coming in looking for help in Mindfulness.

  37. Amy Elias, MS says:

    I am a yoga therapist, a Mind-Body medicine educational consultant , dual certified Masters in Special Education and Elementary Education and certified yoga teacher and mindfulness, mindset, mediation and natural lifestyle expert for over 35 years. I can say- before MRIs and all EVB the clinical results were astounding. Hyper agitated Peopke can be calmed in less than thee minutes solely using breath and attention. Home birthing becomes part of a greater flow, PTSD And multiple attempt suicide Peopke shift. It is all about the brain. What lives within this two ears affects our thoughts which affect emotions which affect your epigenome and how you wear your genes. It has helped thousands in these 35 years. No down side.

  38. Jon, therapist, australia says:

    Interesting results but too many factors. The weekly one on one and the silent retreat ruin the experiment for me. There needs to be a line mindfulness only model. Perhaps with DVD home instruction to augment adherence but remove social stimulus.
    Nevertheless, we all know mindfulness works. They established that millennia ago just by sittin on their butts.

  39. Sandi, Pastoral Counselor, Chico, CA says:

    I already do recommend a colleague who does MBSR.

  40. Mary Bliar, LPC, New Mexico says:

    I definitely would if the cost was within reason. You recently inquired about areas of interest. Why not do a series on integrative mental health?

  41. Lois Schwarzenegger psych nurse practitioner says:

    Possibly. In my private practice I definitely would because I work with survivors of trauma. I also work with homeless women with significant mental illness usually trauma based but would definitely find it harder to enlist the time commitment from the homeless women.

  42. Maria Stefani Counselor Italy says:

    no doubts I could recommend an 8 week MBSR, I already use simple mindfulness exercises, clients do recognize the benefit!

  43. Dorothy Ramien,Polyvagal Visceral Work, Toronto, ON says:

    I teach my clients Taoist Mindfulness and yes will definitely recommend my clients to an 8-week MBSR trail.

    Thanks for the opportunity to participate.

  44. Martha Hernandez LCPC, psychotherapist, Portland, Maine says:

    Of course I would! I teach mindfulness meditation to many of my clients, anyway. I’d love to have an actual program to recommend, some people would do better with that.

  45. ayleen marganian (H.G. Rich) says:

    Dear Ruth,
    first and foremost I would like to thank you for all the invaluable information you have been providing. I am a Clinical Nutritionist formally trained in Nutritional science. 25 years ago I started counseling as a nutritionist/dietitian. and soon realized that my dietary and lifestyle interventions were not being as effective as I would have liked them to be. I realized that there was a mental factor that effected my patients on how they would nourish themselves. Most would follow and then fall through after a period of time. I knew that it had nothing to do with the accuracy of the diet therapy but rather the incompleteness of the approach. further I studied with the Institute of Functional Medicine and improved my model of assessment this time including the environmental factors and more of biochemistry and functional blood and urine testing…. still I realized there was a factor missing as I noticed more and more of my patients were showing signs of dis-content , anxiety, mood-swings, insomnia, and generalized apathy for life and well-being, yet they needed to improve their blood parameters ,including neurochemicals, hormones, nutritional deficiencies and various toxicities.
    I know and believe that adding this component to my approach in addition to the biochemical, nutritional and the overall “lifestyle” aspect will certainly make a huge difference in the health outcomes of those that I get to help.
    Personally I have been going through some life changing events that left me a bit traumatized , abandoned , lonely and depressed. It’s been 6 years since my separation and divorce of a 22 year relationship and I still feel I have not gained my bearings fully …. knowing all I know . I suppose this is where the clinician heal thyself. I have done some deep work with myself and through various mind and spiritual programs. my work and finances have been effected as well as a result of these cumulative events. I am a healer, a teacher, a mother , a writer , a game changer. I have never felt this heartbroken and I never imagined myself ever being in such position.
    I have had a vision of starting a “virtual wellness clinic” for the last two years as I feel I have the knowledge, the experience the wisdom and the know how of helping the masses. I work with many clinicians , DCs, MDs, NDs, DOs who practice “functional Medicine” and I see myself as the conduit to bridging the gap between allopathic and alternative care as I have always done and I am fully qualified. However…. somehow at times, I feel blocked , reserved, unsure, alone, scared and disappointed from all of my significant relationships. I have to say that I have come a long way but I know that there has to be a faster way of getting there.
    I would love to be part of this study and experience it on myself as I feel that although I am pretty “functional” in regards to my patient care, I could be feeling much better overall as I sometimes will lose interest and find myself in the dark…. it’s been an emotional roller coaster ride at times, I have to say.
    Do you have a response for me? I can use your guidance.

    • Tim B, Seattle WA says:

      Ayleen, I’m responding to your inquiry about a faster way of dealing with relational wounding. The best answer I’ve seen is the Shalom Retreat model, which is a powerful long-weekend process to help experienced journeyers move beyond stuck places. Despite the name, it’s not another religious cult. It is a combination of proven techniques and modalities that allow retreatants to reach new conclusions around limiting stories. Check out ShalomMountain.com, or ShalomOrca.com if you’re near me.

    • Beth Billings, LCPC - Butte and Whitehall, Montana says:

      Hello Ayleen,
      I found myself responding to your sense of being competent and having a lot to offer, and yet self-doubting because of your personal life challenges. As to self care, there are various options – therapists should go to therapy themselves sometimes – nutrition you know about, and exercise – bodywork of various kinds – and of course, MBSR. I took the MBSR course myself a couple of years ago. I found it to be a pleasant combination of already existing techniques – meditation, yoga lite, and cognitive behavioral ways to look at daily life. The biggest benefit of taking the MBSR class was that I had committed to going to class every week and at class I had to report on how it went when I did my homework. So I had to actually do the techniques on a regular basis. I think the hardest part of forming a new habit is getting started with actually doing the practice regularly. In answer to Ruth’s question, yes I would recommend MBSR to clients if there were an existing class in my area. I have considered becoming an instructor.
      By the way, I love your idea of a “virtual wellness center.” I find myself wanting to know more about what you are visualizing.
      Sincerely, Beth

  46. Deborah Gale White, Life Coach. Cumming, Georgia, HSA says:

    Very Intriguing!!! I would appreciate much more in depth details. As soon as possible. Thank you, Ruth, for the devotion of yourself to these subjects, your are absolute Beautiful, so wise and caring! I would deem it an Honor and a Privilege, to sit at your feet and marinate myself in the knowledge you are so eager to share with your fellow man! Whenever you find yourself in Atlanta, please come stay with me at my home/ Christian Conference Center… “The Shunamite Inn”!!!

    Deborah Gale White
    Cumming, Georgia

  47. John Faas, LCSW Los Angeles, CA says:

    I would love to know more. I am exploring adding spiritual direction to my repertoire of helping modalities. I can see this fitting in as well.

  48. Adriana, clinical psychologist, Sydney Australia says:

    Hi,

    I am wondering what you mean with results showed that ‘participants were significantly better able to express their feelings’ as this is not what the tests used really measure?

    All the best

    Adriana

    • Vanessa, Psychoeducation, Prospect, KY says:

      If my memory serves me right, the right insula functions as part of the self-referencing system. The right insula registers the internal state of the body. As the right insula thickens one’s sense of self, one’s sense of their own emotional state becomes more enhanced. Signal reception from the body, the visera becomes more clear and strong. I assume with more awareness of these signals, one has more opportunity to respond to their own emotional states as in name it to tame it as opposed to running on automatic pilot and finding oneself highjacked by a particular emotional state.

      • Adriana, clinical psychologist, Sydney Australia says:

        Hi Vanessa,

        Thank you for your reply. I was asking more in regards to methodology as the pre and post tests mentioned (such as BDI II or PSWQ for example) do not assess for anything related to ability to express feelings…

        • Hi Adriana, thanks for your question.

          Vanessa is right that the change in the insula is also a reflection of enhanced self-awareness, and that seems to be one of the main ideas of the work here. But I’d like to respond to your question about the tests referenced in the research.

          The TAS-20 is the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, and the investigators specifically referred to this in their results because that is the test that showed the greatest correlation with the brain changes they saw. And for readers who might not know, alexithymia describes folks who have trouble identifying with, expressing, and describing their emotions.

  49. Vandana, Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master, India says:

    I most definitely would like to recommend it for anyone who would like to try it.

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