The CNS Program in Mind Body Research in collaboration two other UCLA programs, the Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) and the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) has sponsored a series of lectures by cutting-edge researchers and senior practitioners in Mind Body and Integrative Medicine. The aim of these lectures is to foster the interchange of ideas across the applied and academic communities and to contribute to generating collaborations across campus departments. Many of these lectures will soon be available for streaming.
Speaker: John Young, PhD – Center for Story and Symbol in Santa Barbara
Title: “Reflecting on Personal Mythology as Awareness Training”
Abstract: Joseph Campbell created extensive interest mythic stories. His insights into coping with ordeals have been adopted by some in the mental health professions. Clinical uses of stories have been advocated by diverse theorists, including cognitive, narrative, and Jungian practitioners. Psychotherapists could be called story workers. Much re-framing is writing a new version of experience. Therapist and patient weave a re-imagined life-story. This emerging narrative often has a mythic tone. For example, surviving trauma might be seen as heroic. Viewing events as story can help develop distance from habitual emotional resonances. Finding an effective personal mythology can also be aided by reflecting on stories learned in childhood. Using techniques from dream analysis, such study can be a form of meditative practice. Familiar adventures may tell of weaklings finding the strength to surmount great difficulties. Identifying with such characters can open access to natural resilience. I will draw on my work with Campbell and the archetypal theories of C.G. Jung to discuss clinical uses of the mythic imagination. While the focus will be psychotherapy, the model can be applied to other treatment and training situations.
Bio: Jonathan Young, PhD. is a psychologist and storyteller who assisted mythologist Joseph Campbell for several years at seminars. He was the Founding Curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library. His most recent book is SAGA – Best New Writings on Mythology. He now gives presentations on clinical uses of mythic tales through the Center for Story and Symbol in Santa Barbara http://www.folkstory.com/.[Video not found]
Speakers: Brandall Suyenobu, PhD – UCLA Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Trudy Goodman, EdM, LMFT – Insight LA
Title: “Where is the Mind in Mind/Body Research?Brief background and a current fMRI study of mindfulness”
Abstract: Current efforts to address mind/body research questions at organizational and individual levels are necessarily limited as to what aspects of mind are considered valid subjects of research. Research on mindfulness meditation and training has been particularly successful due in large part to the successful contemporizing of the 2500 year old tradition of mindfulness meditation, and the application of state-of-the-art brain imaging. I will survey some of the background on mind/body research that supports current mind/body brain imaging studies, and will present preliminary data from a pilot fMRI study of the mediation of pain by mindfulness training. Primary consideration of these background studies will be given to identifying the “mind” in the mind/body research: mind states and states of consciousness: descriptive studies and measurement, methods of manipulation, physiological correlates, and therapeutic applications.
Bio: Dr. Suyenobu conducts processing and analyses of the neuroimaging data for the UCLA Center for the Neurobiology of Stress and Center for Neurovisceral Sciences and Women’s Health. Among the Centers’ current projects are those investigating patterns of functional brain activity associated with the effects of pharmacological interventions for functional gastrointestinal disorders, sex differences in response to visceral discomfort, central stress response and noraderenergic system differences between healthy subjects and subjects with irritable bowel syndrom.. His previous research includes assessment of topographic EEG and cognitive neuropsychological correlates of acute alcohol intoxication in healthy subjects, EEG correlates of aircraft pilot performance, and altered states of consciousness.
Bio: Trudy Goodman is the founder of Insight LA, a non-profit organization for mindfulness training in Los Angeles. She has taught extensively in the fields of mindfulness and psychotherapy. Trudy was one of the first Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) trainers in the country, working closely with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Trudy teaches mindfulness and meditation at conferences and retreats nationwide. In 1995 in Cambridge, MA, she co-founded the first Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, and in 2004, co-founded Growing Spirit and the Center for Mindfulness and Psychotherapy located in Los Angeles.
Speaker: Marvin Belzer, PhD – Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Bowling Green State University and Visiting Scholar, MARC
Title: “Reflections on a relational mindful awareness practice”
Abstract: I have developed a relational (interpersonal) mindful awareness practice (MAP) and have guided university students in its use for three years. In my talk I will describe this relational MAP and discuss some of its practical and theoretical implications. Whereas the experiential effects of solitary mindfulness meditation have been documented for many years, this relational form is new. Participation in the relational MAP encourages mental activities that are similar to those in solitary practice, including the use of a neutral anchor. I will describe preliminary evidence that the relational practice has experiential effects for concentration and mindfulness that are similar to those of intensive solitary practice. These similarities would be expected if, as Dan Siegel conjectures, heightened self awareness in solitary practice is associated with the brain activity underlying social attunement. Even though the relational MAP requires that some individuals act within the group (and the structure of the MAP itself tends to encourage participation), an individual in the group nonetheless can (somewhat paradoxically) be as silent and inward as in solitary practice even while taking in the entire situation. This makes possible an integration of the customary qualities of mindful awareness practices into a controlled social setting that may make the beneficial effects of mindfulness more accessible to some individuals.
Bio: Dr. Belzer is a professor at Bowling Green St. University, where he teaches logic and other philosophy courses, as well as a mindfulness meditation course as part of the philosophy program. He has taught mindfulness meditation for fifteen years, mostly with teens and college students, and he worked with Michele McDonald, Diana Winston, and others to develop the youth retreats at the Insight Meditation Society beginning in the early 1990s.[Video not found]
Speaker: Johanna Jarcho, MA – UCLA Center for Neurobiology of Stress
Title: “The Role of Dopamine in Placebo Analgesia: Preliminary Data from an [18F]fallypride PET Study”
Abstract: Placebo effects play a prominent role in all forms of medicinal, alternative and integrative therapies. Despite their widespread involvement in healing responses, placebo effects have generally been considered a nuisance by practitioners of western medicine, and subtracted from the effects of active agents to determine the efficacy of new treatments. In a major paradigm shift, there has been a new interest in investigating the psychological and neuropharmacological mechanisms that drive placebo effects; however these mechanisms are not yet completely understood. Placebo effects have recently been linked to reward processing, suggesting the dopamine system, the brain’s primary reward system, may play a critical role in determining the magnitude of such effects. I will review existing research linking the dopamine system with placebo effects, and present preliminary data from an on-going positron emission tomography (PET) study with [18F]fallypride that relates magnitude of placebo response with D2-like dopamine receptor density at resting baseline, and dopamine release associated with a painful stimulus paired with a placebo analgesic.
Bio: Johanna Jarcho is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology who works closely with faculty from the Laboratory for Molecular Neuroimaging and the Center for Neurobiology of Stress to study the psychological and neurobiological systems that moderate the experience of pain, with a particular focus on how such systems are recruited in the context of placebo effects. She also studies the functional neural mechanisms underlying cognitive dissonance induced attitude change, and how such attitude change can be used to promote placebo effects in clinical settings.
Speakers: Steven Tan, MD, MTOM and Bruce Naliboff, PhD – UCLA Center for Neurobiology of Stress
Title: “Application of Traditional Chinese Medicine Based Diagnoses to Western Medicine: The Example of Irritable Bowel Syndrome”
Abstract: The so-called functional somatic syndromes comprise a group of disorders that are primarily symptom-based, multisystemic in presentation and probably involve alterations in mind-brain-body interactions. The emerging neurobiological models of allostasis/allostatic load and of the emotional motor system show striking similarities with concepts used by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to understand the functional somatic disorders and their underlying pathogenesis. These models incorporate a macroscopic perspective, accounting for the toll of acute and chronic traumas, physical and emotional stressors and the complex interactions between the mind, brain and body. The convergence of these biomedical models with the ancient paradigm of TCM may provide a new insight into scientifically verifiable diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for these common disorders. This lecture will provide an introduction to TCM diagnosis and specifically examine how these concepts may help our understanding and treatment of functional somatic syndromes using Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as an example. IBS is a common chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorder defined by recurrent symptoms of abdominal pain or discomfort associated with alterations in bowel habits. Patients in addition to their GI symptoms commonly report a variety of extraintestinal symptoms, including fatigue, anxiety, and other pain conditions. Unlike the dominant conventional western approach, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views IBS patients as a heterogeneous population whose GI symptoms are considered one of many manifestations resulting from a broader underlying multisystemic dysregulation. In TCM patterns of dysregulation, patients are classified into subgroups based on a symptom complex of both GI and extraintestinal symptoms. From a pathophysiologic perspective, TCM pattern classification also shows striking similarities to emerging concepts of stress neurobiology and may help inform both Western and non-Western treatment approaches. This lecture will also show preliminary data and describe a new study of TCM classification of IBS patients that includes diagnosis, physiological and symptom measures and other patient characteristics.
Bio: Dr. Naliboff is Director or the Program in Mind-Body Research for the Center for Neurobiology of Stress (CNS), David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. He is also a Career Scientist at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Dr. Naliboff is a clinical psychologist with wide ranging interests and publications in pain mechanisms, psychological and physiological responses to stress, and application of mind-body treatments to medical problems.
Bio: Dr. Tan is dually board-certified in Internal Medicine as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine. His clinical and research interests focus on the broad-reaching effects of stress on physical and emotional wellbeing, and how bridging modern science with ancient medical paradigms offer novel insight and solutions for stress-related conditions.
Speaker: Baldwin Way, PhD
Title: “Mindfulness and Depression: Contrasting Neural Correlates”
Abstract: Recent research demonstrating salutary effects of mindfulness upon mental and physical health has generated interest in studying the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying these effects. As an initial approach to addressing this question, we have studied the relationship between individual differences in mindfulness and activity within the emotional centers of the brain. We have found that higher levels of dispositional mindfulness are associated with less neural reactivity when processing emotional stimuli as well as at baseline. In contrast, levels of depressed mood show the opposite relationship to neural activity in these same areas, suggesting one potential route by which mindfulness based therapies for depression exert therapeutic effects. As this profile of neural reactivity mirrors that seen following pharmacological treatment with antidepressants, these data will be used as a starting point for the presentation of a theoretical model outlining the potential neurochemical effects of mindfulness training.
Bio: Baldwin Way is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Health Psychology program at UCLA working with Matthew Lieberman and Shelley Taylor. Prior to this, he conducted his graduate research in the UCLA Neuroscience program. In addition to his interest in the neural and psychological effects of meditation, Dr. Way also studies the role of the serotonin system in shaping sensitivity to social and emotional stressors.
Speaker: Shinzen Young – Vipassana Support International
Title: “Divide and Conquer: How the Essence of Mindfulness Parallels the Nuts and Bolts of Science”
Abstract: The purpose of this talk is threefold: (1) to describe how senior adepts use mindfulness to reduce suffering and gain insight into selfhood and emotions. (2) To point out how the method they use in many ways parallels what scientists do when confronted with a complex and inscrutable system in nature. (3) To discuss how this fundamental parallelism between the two endeavors can become the basis for a productive collaboration in the future.
Bio: Shinzen Young became fascinated with Asian culture while a teenager in Los Angeles. Later he enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Eventually, he went to Asia and did extensive training in each of the three major Buddhist meditative traditions: Vajrayana, Zen, and Vipassana. Upon returning to the United States, his intellectual interests shifted to the burgeoning dialogue between Eastern internal science and Western technological science. In recognition of his original contributions to that dialogue, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology has awarded him an honorary doctorate. Shinzen’s innovative techniques for pain management derived from two sources: The first is his personal experience dealing with discomfort during intense periods of meditation in Asia, and during shamanic ceremonies with tribal cultures. The second is some three decades of experience in coaching people through a wide spectrum of chronic and acute pain challenges. Shinzen leads meditation retreats in the mindfulness tradition throughout North America, and has helped establish several centers
Speaker: Kirk Warren Brown, PhD – Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University
Title: “Mindfulness and Mental Health: Applications of a Psychometric Approach”
Abstract: In recent years, mental health researchers and clinicians have shown considerable interest in the salutary potential of mindfulness and its development. With this attention have come concerted efforts to measure the construct of mindfulness, and thereby begin empirical investigation of its nature and specific role in human functioning and well-being. This talk will present highlights from our program of research on the application of one approach to mindfulness assessment (e.g., Brown & Ryan, 2003) to the study of the mental health benefits of mindfulness in both normative and psychiatric populations, among both adults and adolescents. Recent research using field-based, laboratory-based, and mindfulness-based intervention methodologies will be outlined to demonstrate that mindfulness, measured as both a naturally varying and cultivated quality of consciousness, appears to have a role in supporting key aspects of emotional functioning important to mental health.
Bio: Kirk Warren Brown, PhD, completed undergraduate and graduate training in Psychology at the University of Toronto and McGill University, respectively, and post-doctoral training at the University of Rochester. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. His research centers on the role of attention to and awareness of internal states and behavior in self-regulation and well-being. He has a particular interest in the nature of mindfulness, and the role of mindfulness and mindfulness-based interventions in affect regulation, behavior regulation, and mental health in healthy and clinical populations. He has authored numerous journal articles and chapters on these topics. His research is funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.
Speaker: Anne Lowe, PhD
Title: “East Meets West: Aromatherapy, Neurobiology, and Ayurveda”
Abstract: Aromatherapy is an ancient practice used to improve moods and enhance spiritual experiences. More recently odor has been shown to impact the experience of pain. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a stress-mediated functional pain syndrome with a high incidence of comorbid psychological and chronic pain pathologies. A recently proposed neurobiological model of brain gut interactions suggests that prominent emotional arousal neural circuits often override cognitive inhibitory mechanisms in the brain, resulting in pain facilitation (Mayer, Naliboff, and Craig, 2006). As the olfactory bulb terminates in the amygdala, a brain region associated with fear conditioning and pain generation, this integrative model suggests a scientific mechanism for using aromatherapy in the treatment of this syndrome. This talk will first address the neurophysiological research supporting the concept of aromatherapy, and then discuss how an Ayurvedic practitioner would design an aromatherapy regimen based upon a person’s basic constitution and the nature of their imbalance.
Bio: Ann Lowe is a clinician and a researcher with over 20 years experience as a nurse practitioner. Throughout her career, she has performed as a clinical specialist, a manager of a geriatric center, a principal member of a geriatric assessment team, and a nurse practitioner for a cardiologist and rheumatologist. Being primarily focused on outpatient care, her emphasis has been the management of chronic health problems. She is a graduate of the California College of Ayurveda and, as an Ayurvedic clinical specialist, opened up an integrative practice called, “East Meets West Health Care”. Ann is currently a doctoral candidate at the UCLA School of Nursing, a member of Sigma Theta Tau, a nursing honor society, and a recipient of an Oppenheimer Seed grant for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. In conjunction with the Center for Neurobiology of Stress, she is using functional magnetic resonance imaging to determine the effect of positive and negative odors on mood and brain activation patterns in women with irritable bowel disorder (e.g., irritable bowel syndrome). Ann is committed to integrative medicine, in which the ideas of ancient health care systems are understood using the methods of modern science.
Speaker: Babu Adhimoolam, MBBS, MPhil, MS – Department of Psychology, UCLA
Title: “Voluntary modulation of respiration phase duration and its effects on thought suppression and cortical oscillations”
Abstract: Voluntary modulation of respiration has been practiced since ancient times as an integral part of yoga under the name of Pranayama. Across various schools of yoga, Pranayama has been practiced for achieving control of the mind and to modulate states of consciousness. The impact of such practices on mental health and well being has aroused immense scientific interest among neuroscientists pertaining to the neural mechanisms underlying such modulation. In my talk I will focus on the potential neural substrates that could underlie such modulation and also discuss the implications of such modulation to the therapy of various neurologic and psychiatric disorders.
Bio: Babu Adhimoolam obtained his medical degree (M.B.B.S) from Madras Medical College, India. Subsequently, he got his M. Phil degree in Neuroscience from National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience, India and also an M.S degree in Neurobiology from University of Iowa. He is currently a research associate in Dr. Barbara Knowlton’s lab and Dr. Bruce Naliboff’s lab at UCLA.
Speaker: Randye J. Semple, PhD – Department of Psychiatry & the Behavioral Sciences, Keck School of Medicine, USC
Title: “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Children”
Abstract: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Children (MBCT-C) is a 12-session group therapy for children ages nine to thirteen years old. MBCT-C is a developmentally appropriate adaptation of a manualized adult intervention, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, which was developed for the prevention of depressive relapse (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale. 2002). Dr. Semple will discuss theoretical change mechanisms in cognitive therapy and in mindfulness-based approaches, and how mindfulness may modify habits of anxious thinking. She will describe the development and aims of MBCT-C, some of the adaptations made in working with children, the 12-session program structure, and review the research support for MBCT-C.
Bio: Randye J. Semple, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. After receiving a master’s degree in clinical neuropsychology from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, she earned her M.S., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia University. Her research interests focus on developing, implementing, and evaluating the clinical effectiveness of a mindfulness-based group therapy for anxious children. She has consulted, published articles and book chapters, and presented at national conventions on this topic. Dr. Semple is a past president of the Mindfulness & Acceptance special interest group of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Her book, “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Children: A Therapist Manual for Treating Childhood Anxiety with Mindfulness” will be published spring 2010 (New Harbinger Publications).
Speaker: Joanna Arch, MA, CPhil – Department of Psychology, UCLA
Title: “Mindfulness- and Acceptance-based Approaches to Emotion Regulation in Anxiety Disorders”
Abstract: Joanna Arch is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her research focuses on the treatment of anxiety disorders, with a particular focus on mindfulness and emotion regulation. In her talk, she will present data on an ongoing randomized clinical trial comparing two behavioral therapies – traditional cognitive behavioral therapy and a mindfulness and acceptance-based therapy – in the treatment of anxiety disorders. She will also show how trait mindfulness diminishes reactivity to anxiety-related stressors, giving insight into the emotion regulatory properties of mindfulness.
Bio: Joanna Arch is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology summa cum laude from Wellesley College, and earned a master’s degree in (clinical) psychology from UCLA in 2004. She completed her clinical internship in 2007-08 at the Greater Los Angeles VA Medical Center. Her principal research mentor and collaborator has been Dr. Michelle Craske. Joanna’s research focuses on clinical interventions for anxiety disorders. She particularly focuses on the role of mindfulness in emotion regulation and treatment of anxiety disorders. Recently, an article she wrote comparing traditional cognitive behavioral therapy and an acceptance and mindfulness-based treatment for anxiety disorders was selected as the target article in Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice. Methodologically, her research integrates experimental paradigms to assess a broader range of psychopathology-related processes and treatment outcomes. Joanna also enjoys teaching, and was recently was awarded the competitive Collegium of University Teaching Fellows to teach an original undergraduate seminar at UCLA titled “East to West: Mindfulness Meditation and Western Psychology.”
Speaker: Sarosh Motivala, PhD – Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA
Title: “Exploring How Tai Chi Affects Health, Sleep and Stress”
Abstract: Tai Chi combines movement, body awareness, focused breathing and relaxation into a coherent series of exercises. This unique combination of salutary techniques is associated with a broad range of psychological and physical benefits, including relaxation, decreased feelings of stress, improved balance, gait, and reduced blood pressure. In this presentation, I will focus on my work examining the effects of Tai Chi on sleep in older adults. I will also present recent work on Tai Chi and autonomic activity and stress responses. Findings from these as well as other studies demonstrate the physiological pathways through which exercises such as Tai Chi can have profound benefit.
Bio: Dr. Motivala’s work focuses on stress, sleep and health and the underlying physiological pathways that link these phenomena together. His work on Tai Chi explores how this form of exercise affects health and the immune system, as well as how it affects our stress response. Dr. Motivala was recently awarded a five-year clinical scientist grant from the National Institutes of Health to contrast the effects three approaches (Tai Chi, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychological/health information) in helping insomnia patients sleep better and how these treatments might influence markers of energy balance and metabolism in older adults.
Speaker: Helen Lavretsky, PhD – UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
Title: “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use for Treatment and Prevention of Late-Life Mood and Cognitive Disorders”
Abstract: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasingly recognized by healthcare practitioners as an important factor to consider in taking the history and formulating treatment plans even in “traditional Western” medical settings. The most recent national survey showed that 33% of US adults in their sixties had used CAM in the preceding year. This can be expected to grow with the aging of the baby boom generation. Psychological symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, memory problems, and sleep disturbance, are consistently among the most common reasons Americans use CAM, including older adults. Older adults also may use CAM for “anti-aging” or cognitive effects in particular.
Bio: Dr. Helen Lavretsky is an Associate Professor in-Residence, UCLA School of Medicine, and the Director of the Late-life depression, stress, and wellness research program that is located in the Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, the program provides state-of-the-art stress, mood, cognitive, genetic, and brain scanning assessments, and opportunities to volunteer for clinical studies including antidepressant and mind-body interventions (Tai-Chi, yoga, and meditation). She is the principal investigator on a number of NIH and privately funded research studies focused on treatment and prevention of depression.
Speaker: Fuschia Sirois, PhD – Department of Psychology, University of Windsor, Canada
Title: “In search of the placebo responder: An integrated model of how individual differences and self-focused attention moderate placebo effects”
Abstract: The placebo response is a prevalent, yet poorly understood phenomenon, which can occur in any treatment setting. Moreover, there is a lack of a unified model to organize and understand existing placebo research. Following a review of the conceptual and epistemological issues surrounding the placebo effect, I will critically review current models and theories and classify them into treatment-centered versus person-centered approaches. Drawing upon conditioning, expectancy, and interactionist models, and emerging research on the role of motivation and related bio-physiological substrates, I propose a new model of the placebo effect that integrates the existing models and factors into an inclusive framework. The belief-activation model presents a person-centered view of the psychological and situational factors involved in the genesis of the placebo response. Central to this model is the role of Individual differences, which are viewed as functionally analogous to filters that amplify or diminish the impact of placebo-salient cues within the treatment environment. I will then present research suggesting a range of individual difference factors that may play a role in the placebo response including health beliefs, hope, anxiety, congruency with the provider, treatment goals, and previous experiences with the healing context. Self-focused attention – a tendency to focus on and be aware of internal states and sensations – is one variable that may be particularly promising for understanding the placebo response, especially in light of research highlighting the benefits of mindfulness awareness. I will conclude the talk with a presentation of data on the treatment expectancies of people with IBS that support the predictions of the new model and the importance of contextualizing self-focused attention when evaluating its role in the placebo response.
Bio: Dr. Fuschia Sirois is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Windsor, Canada. She obtained an Honors BA in Psychology from the University of Ottawa, and her MA and PhD in Social Psychology from Carleton University. She also holds an Honors BSc in Biochemistry/Nutrition from the University of Ottawa. Dr. Sirois’ research is focused on the connections between self-regulation and health and well-being. From this perceptive she views the placebo response as a natural self-regulatory healing response that can be amplified or diminished by situational and self-perception factors. Dr. Sirois also studies the role of motivation, personality, and social psychological factors in the use of complementary and alternative therapies and their outcomes. Other research areas include the bio-behavioural pathways linking personality to health-related outcomes, and the role of self-perceptions as self-regulatory factors in adjustment to chronic health conditions She is also the co-author of the first Canadian edition of Shelley Taylor’s popular Health Psychology textbook. Her research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and has been published in several journals including Social Science and Medicine, Health Psychology, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Rehabilitation Psychology, and Quality of Life Research.
Speaker: Donna Ames, MD – Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Title: “The Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC) at West Los Angeles VAMC: Mind/Body Approaches for Veterans with Severe Mental Illness”
Abstract: The Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center, otherwise known and named by the veterans who attend it, “The School For Better Living”, is a newly forming program at the Greater Los Angeles VAMC. The program serves the needs of veterans with severe mental illness (Psychoses, Mood Disorders and PTSD). The development of PRRCs that provide state of the art, evidence based treatments for people with severe mental illness (e.g. social skills training, supportive employment) has been mandated nationally by the department of veterans affairs. Additionally, “wellness” programming has also been mandated. All previous day treatment and day hospital programs have to be converted to PRRCs. Each PRRC is mandated to adopt the “recovery” model and provide veteran centered care. In keeping with the President’s New Freedom Report, the veterans’ goals to do something meaningful with their lives are supported and recovery planning is centered around the veteran’s goals. Our program has adopted the biopsychosocialspiritual model and the recovery model in our approach to helping veterans. We have a holistic, comprehensive program that aims to help veterans achieve wellness in all spheres of their lives. Paralleling her role in championing the development of the PRRC, Dr. Ames has a nationally funded research program that focuses upon the reversal of medication associated weight gain. Toward that goal we provide dietary interventions and exercise/movement opportunities both in a research context and at the PRRC. Our program now includes the following classes: yoga, tai chi, qi gong, dance, walking, golf, and mindfulness to help veterans with their recovery from severe mental illness. This presentation will review the background of our transition from a day hospital/day treatment program to “The School for Better Living.” It is hoped that this presentation will contain time to discuss potential clinical training and research possibilities with colleagues from UCLA regarding the application of yoga, tai chi, qi gong, dance and other therapeutic movement interventions.
Bio: Dr. Donna Ames is a professor in residence at UCLA in the department of psychiatry. She has worked at the West Los Angeles VAMC since she was a medical intern in 1988. Her research focus for over 2 ½ decades has been on the treatment of people with severe mental illness using both psychosocial and pharmacologic interventions. She has funding from national sources and her focus of late is upon reversal of antipsychotic medication obesity. She is the author of many articles, chapters and editor of a book in her field of expertise- management of the metabolic side effects of antipsychotic medications. Dr. Ames is an experienced educator who has taught at UCLA at all levels—from undergraduate to post graduate. She has lectured nationally and internationally and has been awarded teaching awards for her efforts. Most exciting to her is mentoring students and junior colleagues as they develop their own career paths. Dr. Ames has been leading a multidisciplinary team in the development of a new program, a Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center that embraces the biopsychosocialspiritual model of recovery. Dr. Ames serves as a member of the complementary and alternative medicine committee at the West Los Angeles VAMC. Most importantly, Dr. Ames is a wife, mother of twins and step mother to four other children, daughter and sister. She practices yoga with veterans in her program and is trying to learn Qi Gong with them.
Speaker: Lisa Kilpatrick, PhD – Center for Neurobiology of Stress
Title: “Resting State Networks of the Brain and Health”
Abstract: The concept of the default mode network and other resting state networks will be reviewed with an emphasis on the importance of resting state networks in mental health. The functional integrity of resting state networks is emerging as a potential diagnostic tool as dysfunctions of resting state networks have been noted in a number of patient populations. In addition, changes in resting state networks associated with meditation practice may be related to the psychological health benefits of meditation. Resting state data from a pilot study involving mindfulness-based stress reduction trained subjects compared to wait list controls will be presented.
Bio: Lisa Kilpatrick completed a PhD degree in Biological Sciences from the University of CA, Irvine. Dr. Kilpatrick is part of the neuroimaging and psychophysiology cores at the Center for Neurobiology of Stress. Her research focuses on the altered central and autonomic nervous system processes in functional pain disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) as well as the potential therapeutic effects of pharmacological and alternative treatments. Current projects include prepulse modulation of the acoustic startle response in IBS, interstitial cystitis, and fibromyalgia patients; the effect of slow-paced breathing on limbic reactivity in IBS patients; and the effect of mindfulness meditation on neural network activity during resting conditions. She is dedicated to exploring sex differences in nervous system processes as an important step towards tailoring therapies to individual neurobiologies.
Speaker: Mark Robert Waldman – Associate Fellow, Center for Spirituality and the Mind University of Pennsylvania
Title: “Compassionate Communication, Mindfulness, and the Precuneus”
Abstract: Over the past few years, various strategies have been proposed to integrate mindfulness and meditation into a variety of relational, dialogue, and communication processes. At the Center for Spirituality and the Mind, and in collaboration with the Council for Relationships counseling center in Philadelphia, Mark Waldman, Andrew Newberg, and Stephanie Newberg have designed and tested a mindfulness-based dialogue exercise, called Compassionate Communication, that rapidly generates social intimacy and empathy. The fifteen-minute exercise can be used in couples counseling or taught to diverse groups in a simple workshop setting. Mark will present the preliminary findings of their study and discuss ways in which this technique can be integrated into a variety mindfulness-based trainings, workshops, and therapies.
Bio: Mark Waldman is an Associate Fellow at the Center for Spirituality and the Mind, University of Pennsylvania. He is the coauthor, with Andrew Newberg, of Why We Believe What We Believe, the forthcoming How God Changes Your Brain, and numerous academic papers on meditation, spirituality, and the brain.
Speakers: Lisa Flook, PhD – UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Susan Kaiser Greenland, JD – Co-founder & Director, Innerkids Foundation
Title: Mindful Awareness Practices in Early Education
Abstract: Rising mental health concerns among children highlight the need for a greater focus on preventive efforts. A promising, yet relatively untapped, strategy for enhancing academic and social adjustment in youth (through attention and mood regulation) is mindfulness, which refers to bringing full sensory awareness to the present moment without judgment. Practicing mindfulness is associated with a range of physical and mental health benefits, including increased attention, enhanced sense of well-being, as well as decreased anxiety and increased physical well-being. However, despite the growing popularity of mindfulness interventions, little research has examined the effects in children. Through initial pilot work, we have investigated classroom-based mindfulness training in early education. I will discuss the role of mindfulness in education and present results of two studies completed to date and discuss a third study that is currently underway.
Bio: Susan Kaiser Greenland is founder of the InnerKids organization. She developed and taught the mindfulness training curriculum that was evaluated. She will present on the InnerKids mindfulness curriculum during the didactic session immediately following the research discussion.
Speaker: David Cresswell, PhD – Carnegie Mellon University
Title: “Mindfulness Meditation, Stress Reduction Pathways, and Health”
Abstract:Mindfulness meditation consists of practices that increase an open attention to and awareness of present-moment experiences. Little is known about the health-effects of mindfulness meditation training, and the pathways that link mindfulness meditation training with health outcomes. This talk will explore the hypothesis that mindfulness meditation improves health outcomes through stress reduction pathways. As an initial clinical test of this hypothesis, data will be presented showing that 8-weeks of mindfulness meditation training buffers CD4+ T lymphocyte declines in stressed mv -positive adults. In exploring the central pathways by which mindfulness meditation training reduces stress, studies will then be described which suggest that mindfulness and mindfulness meditation may train top-down stress regulatory regions of right prefrontal cortex .
Bio: After completing his PhD in Social and Health Psychology at UCLA and a post-doctoral fellowship in the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, David took a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon (Fall 2008). His graduate research focused broadly on identifYing and exploring protective psychological processes that can be used to buffer stress and improve health outcomes. While in graduate school, he spent time studying and practicing in several mindfulness meditation traditions, notably Plum Village Monastery in Bordeaux, France. At Carnegie Mellon, David established the Lab of Health and Human Performance. His lab provides research training in health psychology, social and clinical psychology, and social neuroscience. His research studies explore basic questions in stress and coping, stress reduction, self-regulation, social cognition, and mindfulness meditation. His hope is to be able to identifY and understand mind-body processes that can improve health and help people find meaning in life’s joys and challenges.