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The Interpersonal Mindfulness Practice of Compassionate Case Consultation in the Ethical Implementation of Mindfulness- and Compassion-Based Programs with Highly Distressed Clients

March 13th, 2020

9:00AM - 4:30PM

Arcadia University, Grey Towers Castle, 450 S Easton Rd, Glenside, PA 19038

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and its adaptations (e.g., MBCT, MBRP, etc.), along with Compassion-Based Programs (e.g., MSC, CBCT, etc.) are derived from Buddhist and other wisdom traditions in which ethical behaviors are foundational. As Mindfulness- and Compassion Based Programs (MCBPs) have evolved to meet the needs of highly distressed and at-risk populations, practices that can enhance compassion and other ethical responding have been re-integrated explicitly into MCBPs to reduce suffering. Such practices can reduce suffering in both clients and practitioners and enhance health of mind, body, and behavior in both, including (with practice) when stress is at high levels. Indeed, those who train to teach MCBPs benefit from the teacher training requirement that they have a personal and formal discipline of mindfulness and related practices to support integrity, competence, and related domains of ethical responding. Such personal practice can reduce burn out and enhance effective clinical responding in the form of conceptualization, decision making, and intervention. Providers are prone to the same cognitive biases and faulty decision making as clients when exposed to high levels of stress that can interfere with optimal emotional and information processing. Such stress, and often distress, can arise in work with challenging and at-risk clients including those who encounter difficulties with MCBPs. Interestingly, those shown to derive the most benefit from MCBPs can experience the greatest difficulties with its implementation due to trauma histories, suicidality, and severity of stress-related symptoms. How teachers of MCBPs conceptualize, respond to, and frame these difficulties can either support or interfere with clients attaining the long-term benefits of MCBPs.


This largely experiential workshop that will begin with a 90-minute didactic review of challenging experiences that can occur trans-diagnostically in MCBPs along with trans-therapeutic adaptations for those with trauma, panic, dissociation, depression, suicidality, experiential avoidance, and recurrent and unwanted mental (e.g., obsessions and brooding) or surprising and difficult to explain physical and behavioral experiences (e.g., certain sensations and movements). After opening review of the literature about difficult and surprising experiences in highly distressed groups learning MCBPs, and associated adaptations, attendees will be guided in Interpersonal Mindfulness Practice (IMP) and an application of IMP called Compassionate Case Consultation (CCC, formally MCC) that incorporates deliberate practice and Positive / Active ethics to support effective and efficient peer consultation.

Both IMP and CCC can support ethical decision making and responding when teaching MBPs individually and in group settings and efficient and intentional peer consultation practices. Attendees will practice CCC in several different dyads and in larger groups. Participants will be invited to apply CCC to personally challenging cases with whom they are encountering challenges. Dr. Molnar will role play how the IMP practice can be implemented with clients. Two volunteers, who are willing to model a client who reports difficulties or challenges, will be selected by the group. Dr. Molnar will demonstrate how highly distressing emotions and the thought, sensation, and behavioral urge elements that compose emotions can be reflected back, using IMP, in deconstructed form to our clients to support compassionate emotion regulation intra- and inter-personally. As well, she will suggest specific adaptations of MBP-related practices for these two cases and then open to the larger group’s questions about adaptations for which there is an evidence-base. Attendees will receive suggestions for continued practice and be supported through a listserv in creating their own or already established ongoing peer support groups if of interest. Attendees will experience a working lunch in which they are guided to apply the IMP informally while eating lunch provided by PBTA.

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