Kathleen Bishop, Ph.D.
The Rev. Dr. Kathleen Bishop is a Priest in the Diocese of New Jersey, presently the vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Spring Lake.
She received her training in Teaching MBSR (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction*) at the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Integrative Medicine Center (associated with Jefferson Hospital) in Philadelphia. She also has a private practice of psychotherapy as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Long Branch NJ.
Since completing the teacher training in 2014, she has taught the course many times. This includes an intensive time with Hackensack Meridian Hospital’s Integrative Medicine department from 2016-2018 where she also assisted in developing their online version.
Her Masters of Divinity and Ph.D. are from Drew University. She completed an Ed.D. in Marriage and Family Counseling from The College of New Jersey and is also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in NJ.
*MBSR is a distinct approach to mindfulness training developed by Jon Kabat Zinn who, in 1979, founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachussets Medical School. The 8 week course that he created has given rise to thousands of research studies revealing benefits to physical as well as mental health.
for Stress Reduction
Research on mindfulness has shown that, with practice, the brain can be trained to respond, rather than react, to stressful events. In other words, stress is inevitable, but suffering can be reduced! Sitting meditation, body awareness and mindful movement will be taught. This is a gentle practice that requires no previous experience. “Mindfulness” is simply paying attention to present moment experience with open curiosity and a willingness to be with what is.
With great respect and kindness, I invite you to consider making your own mental and spiritual health a priority during these stressful times.
The Rev. Dr. James Jones is the Priest Associate at St. George’s in Rumson, a NY & NJ Licensed Psychologist, and an Emeritus Professor of Religion at Rutgers University where he taught courses in Contemplative Studies. He has a long-time meditation practice and has written several books and papers on the psychology of religious experience. The most recent (2019 Oxford University Press) is Living Religion: Embodiment, Theology, and the Possibility of a Spiritual Sense.
Rev. Dr. James W. Jones
In order for a mindfulness course to be called MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, developed by Jon Kabat Zinn) it must be 8 weeks and include a day-long retreat in between weeks six and seven. The 8-week course is an evidence-based program that gets results. Research articles on mindfulness almost all base their findings on the 8-week course.
The course, as it has been developed at the University of Massachusetts by Jon Kabat Zinn and his colleagues, is more than eight weeks worth of sitting together in a group and going home. There are specific teachings for each week, different types of meditation, and the experience of two hours each week that introduce, elaborate and reinforce the practice. Perhaps you are struggling with the home practice. If so, you may benefit from the community of other practitioners under the guidance of a teacher. I have taken the course twice myself and can attest to the importance of what I call "the wisdom of the group." By the time the course came to an end, most of us were sad to see it go. The consolation is that even though the course must come to an end, the practice can last forever. I heard the words, "it changed my life," said with sincerity, many times by graduates of the course. It certainly changed mine.
The fact remains, however, that it is difficult to find eight unencumbered weeks on the calendar. Nor can some settings where the course is offered accomodate a long course. For these reasons Jon Kabat Zinn devotes a chapter (Full Catastrophe Living) to other alternatives. Shorter courses teach the basics and lay out a path for further practice, which is why I started offering them. I also plan on offering some "One Day" retreats that may suit alumni of my courses or give a taste of what mindful living could be like to the uninitiated. Watch this space!