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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction For The Legal Profession

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for the Legal Profession

Orientation for an 8-week online MBSR course for the legal profession is on September 8, 2020. As the most widely-researched mindfulness intervention with 40 years of study, MBSR can be a wise time investment for improving our quality of life.

 

Mindfulness Basics

We covered Mindfulness Essentials for Lawyers and Law Students back before all the additional chaos and stress related to Covid-19 began. Mindfulness in Law Society’s New England Chapter had just launched, providing an introduction to practice techniques and the range of benefits, including improved mood and performance, reduced anxiety — and even reduced implicit bias, as individuals look for ways to battle racism with overdue national awareness on the prevalence of systemic injustice. (See Rhonda V. Magee’s The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Our Communities Through Mindfulness.)

As we brave 2020, many of us are turning to mindfulness and meditation apps — and a bit of caution would help. A couple months into the pandemic with their popularity rising, we covered 6 Options and 3 Warnings for the Legal Profession, surveying the app field’s two pricey frontrunners, two top free options, and two unique notable mentions — and offering a few notes of caution: (1) Some of us really need professional assistance as we approach mindfulness for a range of reasons; (2) While mindfulness benefits have been scientifically proven, unsurprisingly, the market is ahead of the science on the validity behind the apps per se; and (3) Of course, mindfulness isn’t a complete solution to all the problems we might encounter — not a superfluous disclaimer, really, particularly in light of all mindfulness can do.

 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

While anyone can start practicing mindfulness and expect benefits, one intervention stands out: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. The study cited in HBR’s 2015 article Mindfulness Can Literally Change Your Brain reviewed results from an 8-week MBSR course. A 2017 meta-analysis examining MBSR concluded “it is reasonable to consider MBSR a moderately well‐documented method for helping adults improve their health and cope better with the challenges and stress that life brings.”

Health benefits are covered further in a 2019 meta-analysis of MBSRUMass Memorial’s Center for Mindfulness offers a partial listing of medical conditions for which MBSR is considered an effective complement with citations.

Improved performance associated with mindfulness is also tied to MBSR in particular. Participating in MBSR is associated with increases in regional brain gray matter density, according to a 2010 study — “brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking.”

 

8-Week Online MSBR Course for the Legal Profession: Orientation on September 8th

An 8-week MBSR course specifically for lawyers and legal professionals is being offered online through UMass Memorial’s Center for Mindfulness. Brenda Fingold, co-chair of Mindfulness in Law Society’s New England Chapter will instruct the course. Orientation will be held on September 8, 2020 at 6pm, and sessions will meet on Tuesday evenings from September 22 through November 10, 6:00pm – 8:30pm — with one all day online retreat on Sunday, October 25, 8:30am – 4:30pm. Register here, and find more detail on the 8-week course design here.

Lawyers and legal professionals in Massachusetts with financial obstacles to registration can apply for assistance through our Lawyer Assistance Fund. Email anna@lclma.org.

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Though not exclusive to the legal profession, the Cambridge Health Alliance also offers 8-Week MBSR programs, and offers full BIPOC scholarships.

 

   Free & Confidential Consultations:

Lawyers, law students, and judges in Massachusetts can discuss concerns with a licensed therapist, law practice advisor, or both. Find more on scheduling here.

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