Mindfulness: A Conceptual Overview and State of the Science

3 CE Credits - $60

Instructor: Nicholas Barr, MSW, PhD

Course Description

Mindfulness is a topic of intense interest in Western psychological literature and popular media. Since the introduction of Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in the early 1980s, mindfulness-based interventions to enhance wellbeing and treat dysfunction have proliferated. However, mindfulness as described in the Western scientific literature often remains poorly defined, and studies purporting to measure its effects often suffer from substantial methodological problems.

Mindfulness and meditation are terms that apply in Western contexts to a broad range of concepts and practices. However, these constructs are embedded in a 5,000 year old Buddhist scholarly and philosophical tradition with a coherent ontology, epistemology, and soteriology often absent from the study and application of mindfulness in the West. Without a thorough understanding of the roots of mindfulness in the Buddhist context, how can we investigate and apply its principles in a nuanced, rigorous manner?

This seminar will provide an overview of mindfulness in the Buddhist philosophical system in order to support a robust understanding of this concept in its original context. A review of the Western psychological literature will explore questions of definition, study design, and application of mindfulness and meditation practices to psychological disorders. Finally, concrete recommendations for applying principles of mindfulness and in-vivo practice of specific meditation techniques will provide an empirically supported foundation for introducing mindfulness in clinical practice, especially with people who have had traumatic experiences. Moral injury within this context will also be discussed.

Elevate You CE is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Elevate You CE maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The great news is that most states allow Licensed Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists to gain credits from APA approved sponsors. If you are unsure if your state does, just reach out and we will let you know.

Educational Objectives

  1. Define the three core definitional components of mindfulness in the Western scientific context.
  2. Describe the linkage between mindfulness, the four noble truths, and the eight-fold path in the Buddhist context.
  3. Describe one consideration each for defining, measuring, and applying mindfulness in context of psychological intervention with diverse groups.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to lead a breath awareness meditation exercise.


First Half:

  • Understand and define mindfulness in Buddhist and Western contexts.
  • 15-Minute break

Second Half:

  • Review of mindfulness in the Western psychological literature, empirically
    supported principles and practices, in-vivo practice.

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Course Dates

Nicholas Barr

Instructor Bio