Recent research suggests that a psychological intervention, mindful meditation, may decrease loneliness and related inflammatory disease risk by modulating immune cell gene expression profiles (Creswell et al., 2012; written up in Science Daily).
This crossed my mind (I’m a subscriber to UCLA’s Mindful Awareness free meditation podcasts) when I read that registration is now open for McGill’s 19th Annual Summer Program in Social and Cultural Psychiatry (May 3 – June 28, 2013), hosted by the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry – download program and application form here – because the Advanced Study Institute is offering the following terrific workshop/conference, which will include an exploration of “the uses of mindfulness as a therapeutic intervention.”
ADVANCED STUDY INSTITUTE
June 3–5, 2013
Mindfulness in Cultural Context
Recent years have seen the enthusiastic embrace of mindfulness meditation and other techniques drawn from Buddhism as therapeutic interventions in psychiatry. Buddhism is portrayed as a psychology closely akin to cognitive psychology. However, in the societies where it originated, Buddhism is a system of practice that has strong ethical and moral dimensions. How does extracting techniques like meditation from the tradition and social context in which they originate change the nature and effects of the practice? What is the relationship of these practices to everyday Buddhism as lived in Asian countries or by migrants to the West? How has the Westernization and psychologization of Buddhism and other contemplative traditions altered their meaning? What does contemporary cognitive neuroscience tell us about the nature of meditation and allied techniques? What are the implications of a cultural/contextual view for the continued dialogue between Buddhist thought and psychiatry? This workshop and conference will explore the nature of mindfulness meditation in cultural context. Sessions will address: (1) the varieties of mindfulness and its location in religious, spiritual and moral traditions including Buddhist philosophy and psychology; (2) cognitive neuroscientific research on meditation and mindfulness; (3) the meanings of mindfulness, meditation and related practices in cultural contexts both globally and in migrant populations; and (4) the uses of mindfulness as a therapeutic intervention in contemporary psychiatry and psychology.
The format will be a one-day conference (June 3) oriented toward mental health practitioners followed by a two-day workshop (June 4–5) for researchers in culture and mindfulness.
Sushrut Jadhav, Brendan Ozawa-De Silva, Chikako Ozawa-De Silva, Geoffrey Samuel,
Suparna Choudhury, Ian Gold, Thubten Jinpa, Laurence J. Kirmayer, Amir Raz, Allan Young
There will be a poster session on June 3, 2013. To submit a poster, please download the application here.