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MBSR Online for Lawyers and Legal Professionals

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The UMass Memorial Center for Mindfulness is pleased to be able to offer the online live Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program specifically to members of the legal profession to help support health and well-being in an increasingly more challenging and stressful field.  In 2016, two significant studies on lawyer and law student well-being were published that highlighted what many legal professionals have known anecdotally, that there are alarmingly high rates of anxiety, depression and stress, and difficulties including work addiction, social alienation, sleep deprivation, job dissatisfaction, complaints of work-life conflict, incivility and a narrowing of values. In response to these studies, a National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being was created, consisting of representatives from the ABA, Lawyer Assistance Programs, Conference of Chief Judges, and others. The Report of the Task Force highlights the benefits of mindfulness for health and well-being and provides:

“Mindfulness can enhance a host of competencies related to lawyer effectiveness, including increased focus and concentration, working memory, critical cognitive skills, reduced burnout, and ethical and rational decision-making.”

It is in this context that we offer this course specifically to lawyers and legal professionals.

MBSR is the most widely researched mindfulness intervention in the world, and an evidence-based program that has been studied and taught for 40 years. The curriculum brings together mindfulness practice, dialogue, and reflection.  Themes such as working with challenging thoughts and emotions, habitual conditioned stress reactivity, stress physiology, neuroscience, mindful communication and how mindfulness can interrupt deep habit patterns are all explored. Throughout the program you will be consciously and systematically working with the challenges and demands of your everyday life in a supportive environment and with others who, like you, imagine that there may be another way to live and work in the legal profession. Daily home practice of 45 minutes to one hour is a key element of this course.

Research on mindfulness-based training consistently demonstrates positive outcomes associated with increased self-awareness, emotional and attention regulation; reduction in symptoms for various physical and behavioral health conditions including anxiety, depression and chronic pain; stress reduction; and positive changes in risk factors that may lead to more serious chronic ailments.  MBSR can positively and profoundly affect participants’ lives in many ways, including:

  • Greater focus, clarity, cognitive flexibility and perspective
  • Ability to step out of the autopilot and conditioned way we often operate to live more intentionally and in alignment with values
  • Increased resilience, emotional regulation and stability under pressure
  • Decreased reactivity and more skillful responding to stress and challenge
  • Heightened awareness of habits and patterns of relating to self, others and situations
  • Greater ability to manage physical and psychological conditions
  • Loosening the grip of negative habits and thinking
  • Discovery that difficult and unwanted thoughts and feelings can be seen from an altogether different perspective – a perspective that brings with it a sense of compassion and less judgment to the suffering you are experiencing
  • Improved sense of well-being and capacity to appreciate the simple pleasures of everyday life, connect with yourself and the experience of being alive

Join instructor Brenda Fingold, JD, MA to explore how mindfulness may support you in living life more fully, with greater ease, resilience and peace of mind.
Click here for more detailed information about the CFM 8-Week Online Live MBSR program.

Representative comments from lawyers and law professors who have completed this course:

"I took this program at UMass and it was truly transformative.  Apart from learning to identify and engage stress, and how learned patterns of coping can sometimes amplify stress, I believe that it helped me be a better lawyer (and hopefully a better teacher).  It gave me a method and space to listen and observe.  After meditation, I was amazed at what I heard and saw, and how much I had been missing.”

“I began this Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course with a healthy dose of skepticism. I ended the course feeling very grateful for the tools it has given me for better navigating the small and large challenges in my life. Our course meetings were organized, engaging, and productive.’

“This class provided an opportunity to explore different ways of existing and living our lives in a supportive and non-judgmental way. Experiencing this class with other lawyers was extremely beneficial, since we all encounter so many of the same stresses and have many similarities in personality as well. We developed a strong sense of community and were sad to say goodbye to each other and the space we created together. Taking this class was a valuable use of time and one that will have many payoffs!”

 

 

Scholarships are available for Massachusetts lawyers and law students with need through LCL MA.  E-mail Anna Levine at anna@lclma.org for further information.