Mindfully Resilient - Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Group
Mindfully Resilient is an 8-week in-person class (7 weeks for Fall 2021) focused on helping prevent relapse of depression and anxiety. You'll learn to identify your specific triggers for relapse, and will learn the skill of mindful awareness to cope with those triggers when they arise. This class is based on a well-researched form of therapy called Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). The facilitator will be happy to talk with you about the research on MBCT during the screening.
This group is probably different than what you imagine when you think about group therapy. It's set up very much like a class, and you aren't expected to go into a lot of detail about yourself. Most of our interactions and conversations will be about what's happening at that moment in the group - not about your life outside of the group. Don't worry too much about bumping into someone you may know in the group - we talk right away about maintaining privacy and confidentiality.
Over 100 Caltech students, both grads and undergrads, have attended this group since we launched it in 2016.
This class will teach you to:
- Be more aware of the workings of your mind and of unhelpful patterns in your thinking;
- Recognize that you have choices other than slipping back into old patterns;
- Refine the capacity to recognize warning signals and take helpful action;
- Put less effort into ‘fixing' things by dwelling excessively on them; and
- Focus on the here and now. There is no requirement to explore the past.
How does this approach work?
Everyone thinks more negatively when they are depressed or anxious than when they are relatively well. Over time, our minds form associations between negative thinking and negative mood.
Future negative moods can re-activate patterns of negative thinking, and it can be difficult to pull out of this pattern once old beliefs are activated. However, it is possible to learn to step back and find somewhere else to go with the problem.
This class is designed to help you learn your triggers for feeling depressed or anxious again, and to respond to them with the skill of mindful awareness. This is the learned, practiced skill of paying attention to your current experience with openness and acceptance - and without getting caught up in those experiences in an unhelpful way.
Who should attend?
- People with one or more previous depressive episodes, and / or people with previous experiences of significant anxiety.
- Participants must be a currently enrolled Caltech graduate or undergraduate student.
Who should not attend?
- People with current substance abuse.
- People who are currently too depressed to sustain active participation in the class.
- People with a history of dissociation or psychosis should discuss this in the pre-screening. In rare situations, these people may sometimes find meditation destabilizing.
- Those who cannot commit to attending all of the classes or doing the daily home practice.
Are you currently in individual therapy?
If you are seeing a counseling at Caltech's Counseling Services, this class should probably take the place of your individual therapy this term. In cases where you and your therapist agree that it would make sense to do both concurrently, you will need to give consent for the class facilitator to communicate with your individual therapist for the duration of the class. If you're seeing a community therapist, you'll need to let them know that you plan to attend the group, and I'll need to ask for your consent to coordinate care with them.
The class runs for 8 weeks (7 weeks for Fall 2021) for 2 hours per week.
There is a significant out-of-class expectation for daily mindful awareness practice - usually about 30 minutes every day. Most of the gains from the class will take place during these periods of private individual practice. This is a lot to ask - and the feedback from the Caltech students has indicated that it's both doable and worth the effort.
There is no cost to attend, and no insurance is involved.
When will the class meet?
The class is offered every term that there is enough interest. It is 8 weeks long and usually runs from weeks 2 - 9.
The class meets on Thursdays from 4:00 - 6:00. You should be able to be present for the entire 2 hours.
For Fall term 2021, the class dates are October 14, 21, and 28; November 4, 11, and 18; and December 2.
Where will the class meet?
We will meet in person in the conference room in the Counseling and Health Center. All participants and the facilitator must wear N95 masks.
For each meeting, please come to the counseling center's front office and check in about 5 minutes before the group is to start. It would help to wear comfortable clothing.
I'm interested. How do I join?
A 30-minute screening appointment is required before being approved to attend. Please call the counseling center at (626) 395-8331 to set one up.
About the Facilitator
The sessions are facilitated by Lee Coleman, Ph.D., ABPP. Dr. Coleman is an experienced meditator and meditation facilitator. In 2015, he completed the one-year Certification in Mindfulness Facilitation training through the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. He has also trained with Dr. Zindel Segal, one of the creators of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Dr. Coleman is a member of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association, and has completed a total of 2 months of silent meditation retreats both in the US and internationally.