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Teaching Counselors Self-Care Through Mindfulness Practices


by Sandy Newsome, John Chambers Christopher, Penny Dahlen & Suzanne Christopher ó 2006

Few counseling programs directly address the importance of self-care in reducing stress and burnout in their curricula. A course entitled Mind/Body Medicine and the Art of Self-Care was created to address personal and professional growth opportunities through self-care and mindfulness practices (meditation, yoga, qigong, and conscious relaxation exercises). Three methods of evaluating this 15-week 3-credit mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course for counseling students indicated positive changes for students in learning how to manage stress and improve counseling practice. Students reported positive physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and interpersonal changes and substantial effects on their counseling skills and therapeutic relationships. Information from a focus group, qualitative reports, and quantitative course evaluations were triangulated; all data signified positive student responses to the course, method of teaching, and course instructor. Most students reported intentions of integrating mindfulness practices into their future profession.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 9, 2006, p. 1881-1900
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12686, Date Accessed: 12/14/2017 2:07:51 PM

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About the Author
  • Sandy Newsome
    Montana State University
    SANDY NEWSOME is a masterís student in the Department of Health & Human Development in Mental Health Counseling at Montana State University. She is currently completing her internship at MSUís counseling center. Sandy is interested in contemplative practices as it applies to counseling and stress reduction.
  • John Christopher
    Montana State University
    E-mail Author
    JOHN CHRISTOPHER is a professor of counseling in the Department of Health & Human Development at Montana State University and a senior staff psychologist at MSUís Counseling Center. He is the recipient of the 2003 Sigmund Koch Early Career Award by the Society of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology of the American Psychological Association. John specializes in cultural psychology and theoretical and philosophical psychology. He has written on the cultural, moral, and ontological underpinnings of theories of psychological well-being, moral development, and psychotherapy.
  • Penny Dahlen
    Montana State University
    PENNY DAHLEN is an assistant professor of counseling in the Department of Health and Human Development at Montana State University, where she coordinates the Mental Health Counseling Program. She has been a counselor educator for 13 years at a variety of institutions. Her current research includes compassion fatigue in counselors.
  • Suzanne Christopher
    Montana State University
    SUZANNE CHRISTOPHER is an associate professor of community health in the Department of Health and Human Development at Montana State University. She received her doctorate in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. Her primary work is conducting community-based participatory research, and she is currently funded by the American Cancer Society for a multiyear womenís health project with the ApsŠalooke (Crow) Nation.
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