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Mindfulness Program at Johns Hopkins

Mindfulness meditation is a form of present-moment awareness—just noticing what is happening inside our bodies and in the world around us as it is happening. The opposite of being mindful is being on “auto-pilot.” Many research studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can reduce stress, as well as symptoms of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and pain.

In mindfulness meditation, we are not trying to change anything. We are simply becoming aware of what is going on without trying to judge it as good or bad. We are approaching experiences with a sense of curiosity and openness. Interestingly, when we bring our awareness to the present moment with repeated practice and allow feelings and bodily sensations to be present without trying to push them away, a natural by-product is often relaxation.

The director of this program, Neda Gould, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences as well as Associate Director of the Bayview Anxiety Disorders Clinic. She has led numerous clinical, professional and research-based Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) groups. She currently holds MBSR groups for faculty in the School of Medicine. Dr. Gould was involved in a recent systematic review and meta-analysis entitled Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Wellbeing published in JAMA Internal Medicine. In 2015, she completed an 8-month meditation program through the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. She is completing her MBSR teacher certification through the UCSD Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute. She has practiced mindfulness meditation since 2008, attended numerous mindfulness workshops and silent retreats, and given many lectures on mindfulness meditation to JHM groups and externally.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

In 1979, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The MBSR program is an eight-week course that meets for 2 ½ hours each week, a full day silent retreat and home practice with guided meditations. During the course, participants are taught a variety of meditations to foster present-moment awareness, including breathing meditation, guided sitting meditation, body scan, mindful eating, mindful walking, as well as gentle yoga and stretching. There is also group discussion around these concepts. No previous meditation or yoga experience is required and participants are gradually introduced to these concepts.

  • MBSR courses are offered for faculty and staff in the School of Medicine. We are currently working to offer the MBSR program to hospital staff and faculty outside of the SOM.

    Course Participant Feedback

    It has been an amazing experience and I would highly recommend it to other stressed overworked professionals like myself. It planted seeds for years to come. - Dimitrios

    There are few resources at JHH to help with wellness and teach resilience. We send our faculty to Duke. But these are absolutely services we must provide faculty. I found this course immeasurably helpful for those having issues (me) but below need for counseling. This is a great course and would be a wonderful resource to send faculty who are having problems with resilience. This course is astounding. - Raf

    This is an invaluable resources for faculty and staff. It embodies principles of reflective practice and wellness that Hopkins would be wise to promote. - Rebeca

    Truly life changing experience. Learning to “allow” whatever happens be o.k. Thanks for this incredibly difficult simple technique. Please allow others to share this gift. Truly outstanding….life changing. - Jarrod

    The class was life changing. It brought a sense of peace and well-being in the midst of a very stressful time for me. The camaraderie and support form the group were wonderful. Neda is a wonderful and skilled instructor who created a safe space for us to learn new practices without fear of judgment. Everyone at Hopkins should have a change to take this class! - Anonymous

    Everybody needs to take this course! We all need to learn to listen and take that extra moment before responding in difficult situations. - Anonymous

    Neda is a fantastic teacher. She was very organized, thoughtful and a role model for how to communicate effectively. Learning MBSR will have a lasting positive impact on me, my co-workers and family that I will be grateful for for a long-time. - Anonymous

    I doubted that I could complete my scheduled tasks while taking this course. To my surprise I was able to complete my deadlines. The techniques taught facilitated my ability to complete my many commitments. - Jim

    This helped me focus at work and be more productive. Thank you! - Anonymous

    This course gave me the break that I needed without which I was certainly destined to burn out. The idea that Hopkins is actually able to invest in us as human beings gives me hope. Thank you for the pause. - Anonymous

    I'm exposed to a lot of stresses at my job and in my personal life (including disabled child) that affected my health and productivity in recent years. I have practiced yoga for many years and been more or less skeptical whether the course can help me efficiently. It worked great and above my expectations. I feel more resistant to stresses. People at my job and at home noticed that I look much better now and most of time they see me in good mood. I feel that my productivity in Hopkins is increasing and my relations with colleagues and other people are improved. Neda's classes helped me to experience feeling of meditation. Her magic voice was a great help to achieve it. I really enjoyed her classes and appreciate her help. - Anonymous

    The course was excellent and you were always well prepared for each session. I liked the mix of having some meditation, some discussion in pairs, and then some discussion in groups. It was helpful to always have you be willing to answer questions so that I could develop a better understanding of the principles of MBSR. I thought the readings were paired nicely with the information each week. I feel like you did a fantastic job with the course, and there is nothing that I would change. It was definitely a life changing experience that I will never forget. - Jonathan

    I found the course engaging and very thoughtfully constructed and presented. Even though this was way out of my prior experience (and normal comfort area) I found the information and processes as you taught them to be very accessible and well worth the time invested. As I mentioned when Bhakti read her poem, it is great working at a place full of gifted people who are willing to share. That certainly goes for you and this course. - Anonymous

  • Dr. Gould offers MBSR groups for patients with anxiety, depression and co-occurring medical conditions at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. For more information on the next group please call 410-550-6337. Some insurance carriers cover the costs of this course. Our clinic staff will check on your insurance coverage.

  • Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EM, Gould NF, Rowland-Seymour A, Sharma R, Berger Z, Sleicher D, Maron DD, Shihab HM, Ranasinghe PD, Linn S, Saha S, Bass EB,
    Haythornthwaite JA. Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Mar;174(3):357-68.
    doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018. Abstract
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