A Proposal to Incorporate Mindfulness Practices into Clinical Psychology Training

Lisa Gwozdz (2010)

Doctoral training in clinical psychology entails heavy demands on time as well as intellectual and emotional resources, while ostensibly enhancing sophistication about mental well-being. This proposal to incorporate mindfulness practices into clinical psychology training programs is intended to provide skills for coping with the stressors of training, and through this experience of structured and effective self-care, also enhance trainees' longer-term clinical skills. Rationale and justification for the proposed program are provided based on a review of the mindfulness literature; research on mindfulness practices has yielded promising results, suggesting that mindfulness has a positive effect on physical and psychological health through the enhancement of well-being and the mitigation of stress. The proposal is modeled primarily after a course developed by Christopher, which was developed to familiarize students with mindfulness practices as they relate to counseling, self-care and burnout prevention. Supplemental aspects of the proposed program are modeled after a program described by Moore, who investigated the practice of brief mindfulness exercises by clinical psychologists in training. It is followed by a readiness assessment conducted with Antioch University New England (a clinical psychology graduate program in rural New Hampshire), as well as a student survey, which was designed to assess students' perceptions of stress, self-care and mindfulness practices. Using the Community Readiness Model (CRM), the readiness assessment was conducted to determine how this community might proceed toward implementation based on various community factors and program-specific factors. The results of the readiness assessment revealed that the Antioch community currently falls into the Vague Awareness stage of readiness and considerations were offered for implementation. Primary obstacles to implementation included time and money. The results of the student survey revealed encouraging results from the participants in support of the inclusion of a mindfulness course as part of Antioch's Psy.D. curriculum. A majority of students reported varying degrees of interest in and knowledge of the topic of mindfulness, with less than 5% reporting that they are not at all interested.