Trudy Goodman

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The Origins of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Trudy Goodman on Jon Kabat-Zinn and MBSR

The origins of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an eight-week program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn back in 1979.  In the decades since, MBSR–and mindfulness in general–have become an accepted part of mental health practice.  Hundreds of hospitals and mental health centers now offer MBSR to help people with relief anxiety, stress, depressionchronic pain, and other conditions.   (For more on MBSR, see CK’s interview with Elisha Goldstein).  

Trudy Goodman was there at the beginning.  Now founder and executive director of InsightLA, a center for Buddhist psychology and mindfulness meditation in Los Angeles, Goodman talked about Jon Kabat-Zinn and the origins of MBSR as part of the run-up to Kabat-Zinn’s appearance this Wednesday, October 6, 2010, at UCLA(link is external).

How did you first become interested in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?
I got excited about MBSR when Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and I were teaching classes at a holistic center called Interface, integrating psychological work with mindfulness meditation. I was looking for new ways to bring my experience with Buddhist (mindfulness, or insight) meditation to my work in psychotherapy and as a psychological consultant to independent schools.  Early on, I discovered the synergy created when both of these powerful healing modalities–mindfulness and psychology–are practiced together.  When Jon Kabat-Zinn developed the MBSR program, it was a perfect fit, and it was also a way to reach people in great need of healing who would otherwise resist seeing a therapist or attending meditation classes.  Buddhist centers were the only place to learn the practice of mindfulness in those days, and they were few and far between. My lifelong interest in developmental psychology, which began when I became a mom, dovetailed with behavior medicine, learning how to tailor the teachings to people at different stages in the life cycle.

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