Mindful UNCW

Research

The Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series (IRSS) on Mindfulness includes:

  • The IRSS Applied Research Speaker Series, which will host leaders in the field of mindfulnessIRSS-Logo.png
  • The Researcher-Practitioner Collaborative, which will connect the local scholar and practitioner community

The IRSS Team on Mindfulness:

Watch Recordings of Fall 2020 Invited Speakers


Previous Seminars

We invite you to view our previous research seminars. Please note the recording of these seminars are provided only for personal use or use in the educational setting. Screening of the recording is not permitted in any activity or event involving a fee, and permission is required for group viewing outside of the classroom setting. Consistent with ethical guidelines pertaining to intellectual property, all reference to the seminar and its content should cite presenters per the appropriate style guidelines of the respective field (e.g., APA for social work). 

Mindfulness: The State of the Science with Dr. Nicholas Barr (Sept 30, 2020)

UNCW’s Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series (IRSS) on Mindfulness welcomes Nick Barr, PhD, assistant professor of social work at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for a webinar presentation and discussion about the state of the science of mindfulness. As a student of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and licensed clinical social worker, Dr. Barr brings an understanding of the applicability of mindfulness from both Eastern and Western perspectives. Our discussion will be relevant to a variety of disciplines as well as intended for scholars, practitioners, students, and others interested in the science and practice of mindfulness.

Recent Advances in Contemplative Neuroscience with Dr. Patrick Foo (Oct 28, 2020)

UNCW’s Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series (IRSS) on Mindfulness welcomes Patrick Foo, PhD, professor of psychology and coordinator of both the neuroscience minor and the Contemplative Inquiry Certificate Program at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Dr. Foo will guide us in learning about a quiet revolution growing within the young field of neuroscience---contemplative neuroscience.

Recent advances allow us to ask big questions such as, “how does the brain generate one’s sense of self?” and “what is consciousness?” Only 15 years ago, the Dalai Lama’s invited talk at the annual Society for Neurosciences conference was met with considerable opposition, which was perhaps unsurprising given the lack of empirical evidence outlining the benefits of meditation and mindfulness at the time. In the subsequent decade, EEG and fMRI recordings of expert-level Tibetan monks have verified significant structural and functional adaptations associated with lifelong meditation practice. We discuss these and other recent findings that form the basis of contemplative neuroscience.

How Mindfulness Can Support Skillful Anti-Racism in Higher Education with Dr. Beth Berila (Nov. 10, 2020)

UNCW’s Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series (IRSS) on Mindfulness welcomes Beth Berila, Ph.D., Director of the Gender & Women’s Studies Program and Professor in the Ethnic, Gender, & Women’s Studies Department at St. Cloud State University, to help us explore how mindfulness can support us in skillfully engaging anti-racist teaching, learning, and community-building. Mindful practices, when situated within a social justice frame, can support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, & People of Color) communities in healing from oppression and unlearning internalized oppression, while helping White people overcome common reactions and barriers to dismantling the power dynamics of institutionalized racism. The seminar will offer practical strategies for anti-racism in our lives, our classrooms, our campus work, and our communities.

Understanding the Complexity of the Concept and Practice of Compassion with Dr. Lobsang Rapgay (Feb. 15, 2021)

Often compassion is presented as a simplistic concept and practice.  This presentation seek to explore the complexity of compassion and the challenges of incorporating it in daily practice.  Dr. Lobsang Rapgay is a research psychologist at UCLA and director of the Clinical Training program for Mental Health Professionals at the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, UCLA. Born in Lhasa, Tibet, in 1958 the 4-year-old Rapgay and his family fled the approach of Chinese soldiers with a caravan of refugees on a seven-day trek into the Himalayas. They settled in Dharamsala, India, which would become the home-in-exile of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government. After completing studies at a Catholic boarding school and Delhi University, where he trained as a Buddhist monk, Rapgay in 1978 became a deputy secretary and English-language interpreter for His Holiness. At the Dalai Lama's Tibetan Medicine and Astrology Institute, Rapgay began learning ancient Buddhist meditative practices. He earned a doctorate in clinical psychology and wrote four books, including Tibetan Medicine: A Holistic Approach to Better Health, before coming to California to study psychoanalysis. Rapgay joined the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior in 1996 and kept his monastic vows until 2000. 

 

Becoming Trauma-Sensitive: Making Mindfulness and Meditation Safe for Trauma Survivors with Dr. David Treleaven (Feb. 23, 2021) (slides available as .pdf)

From elementary schools to psychotherapy offices, mindfulness meditation is an increasingly mainstream practice. At the same time, trauma remains a fact of life: the majority of us will experience a traumatic event in our lifetime, and some will develop post-traumatic stress. While this may appear to be a good thing—trauma is an extreme form of stress, and mindfulness is a proven stress-reduction tool—the reality creates a complex challenge. Emerging research suggests that mindfulness interventions can help or hinder trauma survivors, raising a crucial question for mindfulness educators everywhere: How can you be prepared to minimize the potential dangers of mindfulness for survivors while leveraging its powerful benefits at the same time?  This video introduces you to the principles of trauma-sensitive mindfulness. It will help you understand why meditation can create dysregulation for people who’ve experienced trauma and specific ways you can prevent this, be prepared to recognize symptoms of traumatic stress while offering mindfulness interventions, and become equipped with introductory tools and modifications to help you work skillfully with dysregulated arousal, traumatic flashbacks, and trauma-related dissociation.  David Treleaven, PhD, is a writer, educator, and trauma professional whose work focuses on the intersection of trauma and mindfulness. He is author of the book Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing (W. W. Norton, 2018, available in Randall Library), which was acclaimed by Rick Hanson as “a rare combination of solid scholarship, clinically useful methods, and passionate advocacy for those who have suffered from trauma.” He has lectured on trauma-sensitive mindfulness at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the Omega Institute in New York. Trained in counseling psychology at the University of British Columbia, he received his doctorate in psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and is currently a visiting scholar at Brown University.

Facilitating Mindfulness Practice in Non-Clinical Settings: Ethics and Practical Considerations with Dr. Nick Barr (March 5, 2021)

In the last decade, mindfulness has become a topic of interest in the Western scientific literature and popular media. While mindfulness-based interventions in clinical settings continue to receive significant attention from researchers, relatively little attention has been invested in developing safe, effective, historically-informed and culturally-sensitive mindfulness practices in non-clinical settings. This workshop provides a historical context for understanding the roots of the mindfulness construct and its many expressions in practice; provide an overview of practice approaches and their respective goals; identify critical safety and informed consent information; and provide opportunities for in-vivo practice of mindfulness exercises. Dr. Nicholas Barr received his BA in comparative religion from Columbia University, where he studied Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. As a Princeton in Asia fellow, he worked in education and development in Laos before earning his MSW with a concentration in adult mental health at the University of California, Los Angeles. He then worked as a clinical social worker for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health for two years before completing his PhD at the University of Southern California School of Social Work. Before joining the faculty at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he was a Cohen Veteran’s Network funded postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families. Dr. Barr’s research focuses on enhancing understanding of risk and protective factors for populations with an elevated likelihood of traumatic experiences, like homeless young adults and military service members. His work includes intervention development and implementation leveraging principles of mindfulness to enhance resilience and improve mental and behavioral health outcomes in these populations. He holds certifications in a number of evidence based practices including Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

 

Mindful Communication Series: The Foundations of Mindful Communication with Oren Jay Sofer (March 10, 2021)

In part oneofthis three-part series, OrenJay Sofer will share three essential practices that help create the conditions for meaningful conversations. These foundational practices are flexible enough to be adapted to any context, and when properly applied have the potential to transform any situation into a productive exchange. Oren Jay Sofer teaches Buddhist meditation, mindfulness and Nonviolent Communication nationally. A member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, he holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, is a Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner for the healing of trauma. Oren is the author of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication and co-author of Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Adolescents. He is co-founder of Mindful Healthcare and the founder of Next Step Dharma, an innovative online program that helps meditators integrate their retreat experiences into daily life. Find him on social media @Orenjaysofer. 

Mindful Communication Series: The Power of Mindful Listening with Oren Jay Sofer (March 17, 2021)
This video explores key tools for effective listening, and someofthe most common barriers to hearing one another. It also considers how power, different life experiences, and social locations factor in our ability to listen and feel heard. Oren Jay Sofer teaches Buddhist meditation, mindfulness and Nonviolent Communication nationally. A member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, he holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, is a Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner for the healing of trauma. Oren is the author of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication and co-author of Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Adolescents. He is co-founder of Mindful Healthcare and the founder of Next Step Dharma, an innovative online program that helps meditators integrate their retreat experiences into daily life. Find him on social media @Orenjaysofer.

Mindful Communication Series: Dialogue Across Difference with Oren Jay Sofer (March 17, 2021)

This video discusses best practices for engaging in dialogue across differences. It explores the role and limitsofpersonal skill, the importanceofbuilding relationship, and the valueofformal structures to support understanding, transformation and healing across differences like race, gender, class, and power. Oren Jay Sofer teaches Buddhist meditation, mindfulness and Nonviolent Communication nationally. A member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, he holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, is a Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner for the healing of trauma. Oren is the author of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication and co-author of Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Adolescents. He is co-founder of Mindful Healthcare and the founder of Next Step Dharma, an innovative online program that helps meditators integrate their retreat experiences into daily life. Find him on social media @Orenjaysofer. 

 

Deepening the Work of Liberation for All: Reflections on the Inner Work of Racial Justice with Dr. Rhonda Magee (April 13, 2021)

In this session, Professor Rhonda Magee discusses her work to center the inner dimension of social justice work as a means of engaging in trauma-sensitive reckoning with racism, and building commitment to antiracist engagement grounded in the values of empathy, compassion and more just communities. She shares and invites reflections on both the inner and outer work of building more equitable communities and courageously doing the ongoing work of change within our communities. Rhonda V. Magee, M.A. Sociology, J.D. is Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco and author of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming our Communities Through Mindfulness. Born in Kinston, North Carolina and raised in Hampton, Virginia, Professor Magee is a 1989 graduate, with Distinction, of the University of Virginia (UVA) College of Arts and Sciences, and a graduate of UVA’s United States Army Reserved Officer’s Training Corps. She earned both a Master’s degree in Sociology from UVA’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a Juris Doctorate from the UVA School of Law in 1993. A Professor of Law since 1997, Magee teaches courses dealing with civil actions for personal injury and insurance recovery (Torts); courses dealing with race and inequality; and a course she co-created on mindfulness and lawyering. Magee’s teaching and writing support compassionate conflict engagement and management; holistic problem-solving to alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable and injured; presence-based leadership in a diverse world, and humanizing approaches to education.  She sees mindfulness and the allied disciplines as keys to personal, interpersonal and collective transformation in the face of the challenges and opportunities that social change represents.  Note: this lecture is available only for UNCW faculty, staff, and students. It will ask you for your UNCW email address in order to gain access to viewing the talk.