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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Are you stressed? Do you feel you have too much to do and not enough time do it? Are you frequently thinking about what's already happened or worrying about the future? Do you spend most of your time on autopilot? We can help.

New daytime Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class offering this winter cycle—see below for details.

The Center for Mindfulness at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is a collaborative effort of family medicine and psychiatry, founded here at LVHN in 2001. Our Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course is modeled after the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness. More than 1,500 participants have received MBSR training through LVHN.

MBSR can help you to recognize how stress affects your life and teach you ways to manage it. Developing a non-judgmental awareness of the present moment helps you respond – rather than react – to situations and to experience a greater sense of calm and well-being. Mindfulness helps you transform physically too. You become more aware of sensations in your body. You’re more able to take care of yourself, because you're in tune when something doesn’t feel right. You're happier, healthier and more relaxed.

Research has shown the practice of mindfulness meditation to be beneficial in conditions such as:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Stress
  • Chronic pain and illness
  • Insomnia
  • GI distress
  • Immune disorders

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class details

Our eight-week MBSR program for adults creates a supportive and therapeutic environment in which you will learn:

  • How to cultivate the awareness of physical sensations in the body
  • Meditation practices that improve focus and attention
  • How to recognize signs of stress and intervene earlier
  • How to change your relationship with stress, chronic pain or illness
  • Strategies to improve confidence and self-esteem
  • Relaxation techniques

MP3 files with class meditation practices and mindful movement exercises can be downloaded on this page. Other materials will be provided in class. The MBSR adult course concludes with a half-day Saturday retreat. The retreat is for class participants and graduates only. See your schedule for date and location.

Register online for a free information session.

If you are interested in registering for upcoming Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) classes but could not attend a free information session in person, please call 888-402-LVHN (5846), Monday - Friday: 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. or Saturday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. for an information session by phone.

All class participants must complete an information session by phone before they can register for MBSR classes offered by the Center for Mindfulness.

Class schedule

Spring 2018 - Schedule

Information sessions |6- 8:30 p.m.

3/28 ECC 8
4/3 ECC 8
4/12 ECC 9

Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, Kasych Family Pavilion
6 p.m.

4/18 ECC 9, 10
4/25 ECC 10
5/2 ECC 9, 10
5/9 ECC 1
5/16 ECC 10
5/23 ECC 10
5/30 ECC 8, 9
6/6 ECC 7, 8, 9
Retreat 6/3 ECC 9

Summer 2018 - Schedule

Information sessions | 
5/14 ECC 9, Monday
5/23 ECC 9, Wednesday
5/29 ECC 10 Tuesday
6/7 ECC 5 Thursday

Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, Kasych Family Pavilion

6/14 ECC 9
6/21 ECC 9
6/28 ECC 9
7/5 ECC 9
7/12 ECC 9
7/19 ECC 9
7/26 ECC 9
8/2 ECC 9
Retreat 7/21 ECC 9 + 10 

The retreat is for class participants and graduates only.

Graduate Support Group

This group is open to all graduates of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Training for Medical Professionals (MTMP). The group meets the first Tuesday of the month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at LVH–Cedar Crest, in the Kasych Family Pavilion, Conference Room 9.

Future Offerings

Mindful Kids

This course helps children learn how to experience increased attention and to get in touch with their natural inner calm. Much like the eight-week adult MBSR course, the Mindful Kids curriculum teaches children practices that cultivate self-understanding, compassion and confidence, including: 

  • How the mind and body experience stress in varying settings
  • How to calm down in stressful situations
  • How to manage anxiety and reduce impulsivity
  • How to handle worrying thoughts
  • How to apply mindfulness in their daily lives

The curriculum is taught by Ali Nass-Yepsen, MEd.

Mindful Teens – Chill Out: Learning to Breathe

This teen wellness program strengthens stress management skills. The curriculum teaches practices to promote attention and support academic performance, cultivate self-awareness and enhance emotion regulation.

The Center for Mindfulness can offer a course for middle-school-aged students to strengthen stress management skills and help teens get in touch with their inner calm.

Qi Gong

Qi Gong (also known as qigong) is a traditional Chinese practice of mindful movement that brings together awareness of your body and your breath using gentle, relaxed movements. Qi, or “the life energy,” is moved through your body, bringing your body’s natural energies into balance to promote self-healing. The practice of Qi Gong facilitates relaxation and mental clarity. By cultivating mindfulness, you enhance patience, acceptance and non-striving (trying less and being more). We offer training in the 18 movements that comprise the traditional practice sequence.

Qi Gong is generally practiced while standing. Participants should be able to stand without difficulty for one hour. No equipment is necessary. Loose fitting clothing is recommended. DVDs are available for purchase to support your home practice.

This class is open to adults ages 18 and over. 

Call 888-402-LVHN (5846) for more information and to register. Registration is $45.

Schedule: Mondays

1-hour sessions, 6-7 p.m.

Classes will be covered via the Culture of Wellness Benefit

Meet the teachers

Joanne Cohen-Katz, PhD
Co-Founder, LVHN Center for Mindfulness

Joanne Cohen-Katz, Ph.D., has had a lifelong interest in the connection between the mind and body, having grown up in a family where three people had chronic, stress-related illnesses. Her entire professional career as a psychologist has involved working with patients in medical centers: helping them with family issues, coping with serious illness or stress reduction. In 1996, she began practicing mindfulness meditation and learned about the groundbreaking MBSR program. 

Cohen-Katz and her co-founder, psychiatrist Susan Wiley, MD, started offering MBSR classes in the Lehigh Valley in the summer of 2001. Since then, more than 1,500 people have received training through the LVHN Center for Mindfulness. Both Cohen-Katz and Wiley learned to teach MBSR from its founder, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. "Mindfulness gives people the tools to get their own lives back...not worrying about the past or the future...staying in the present," Cohen-Katz says. "It has been a privilege to watch this program grow, and offer hope and help to so many people in the Lehigh Valley."

Susan Wiley, MD
Co-Founder, LVHN Center for Mindfulness

Susan Wiley, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist who has been practicing ambulatory psychiatry for 35 years in the department of psychiatry at LVHN, where she is vice chair. She is also an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of South Florida Health (USF Health) Morsani College of Medicine. Wiley has devoted her career to investigating the relationship between the body and mind within bio-psychosocial systems. Her preferred practice integrates psychiatric treatment with medical care offered in the primary care setting.

She has earned certification as a teacher of MBSR from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and is one of only a few dozen people in the world with that distinction. She co-founded LVHN's Center for Mindfulness in 2001.

One of Wiley's great pleasures is sitting in the garden on her farm, listening to the birds and the water running, taking in all of the beauty that is present in every moment and feeling a part of it. Mindfulness has improved Wiley's attentiveness, helped her be more patient, compassionate, and accepting of life's challenges. "Mindfulness helps us to find peace in moments of tumult and stress," she says. "It builds emotional intelligence and resiliency. We all have the natural ability to be mindful. We just need to learn ways to cultivate mindful-awareness in our lives."

Andrea Foucek, MEd, CAGS
School psychologist; licensed psychologist

Andrea Foucek, MEd, explored her longtime curiosity about mindfulness 10 years ago when she attended a one-day retreat sponsored by LVHN's Center for Mindfulness. The following week she participated in a MBSR class offered by the Center for Mindfulness to learn strategies to manage multitasking and worrisome thoughts. Through mindfulness practice, she has experienced increased self-acceptance, compassion for self and others, an inner balance, and a greater appreciation for the simple pleasures of everyday living.

An avid walker, Foucek traded in her headphones for the sounds and smells of nature and delicate sensations of circulating air. She understands thoughts are not facts and is able to respond to situations rather than be reactive. As a school psychologist, she has introduced mindfulness practices to students and teachers. Through her teaching with the Center for Mindfulness, she has been grateful for the privilege to learn and guide others to develop self-awareness, cope with challenges of life, and to discover and embrace what it means to be human.

Ali Nass-Yepsen, MEd
School counselor

Ali Nass-Yepsen, MEd, has always been curious about the mind and its connection to angst and stress. It's what led her to meditation more than 40 years ago, and more recently to MBSR.

"I was looking for greater peace of mind," she says. "Through my regular meditation practice, I have been able to cultivate a sense of ease, satisfaction and an increase in compassion for myself and others. It gives me great pleasure to teach others something that has been so meaningful in my own life."

In addition to teaching the eight-week course for adults at LVHN's Center for Mindfulness, Nass-Yepsen has taught mindfulness to groups of children in kindergarten through fifth grade, both in the community and through her work as a former elementary school counselor.

Nass-Yepsen has been trained as a mindfulness teacher for adults, adolescents and children in numerous settings over the years including, The Teacher Development Intensive at the Center for Mindfulness in Worcester, Mass. "I have found that attending annual, extended mediation retreats reinforces my belief that mindfulness mediation is invaluable to anyone from any walk of life," she says.

Lesley Williams, MSN, CTTS
Nurse educator

Lesley Williams, MSN, CTTS, first experienced the miracle of mindfulness as a participant in one of the Center for Mindfulness' MBSR courses. Williams struggled with depression for many years before reading about the use of mindfulness to prevent relapse. She found the eight-week course transformative. "Learning to bring my attention to the present moment without judgment has given me choices and a real sense of freedom...and definitely less stress," she says. "As a teacher, I have the privilege of witnessing this miracle happening in others."

 Williams incorporates mindfulness meditation and other mindfulness-based tools in her work as a mental health nurse educator and tobacco treatment specialist. She also teaches MBSR at the Mindfulness Institute, part of the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Jefferson.  

Larry Silberstein, PhD
Professor emeritus

Larry Silberstein, PhD, first became attracted to meditation in the 1990s, and has been meditating seriously since 2000. He deepened his practice and his understanding of mindfulness through retreats led by Thich Nhat Hanh, and by the staff of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass. He also participated in a seven-day training retreat, "Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Mind-Body Medicine," in 2010. This retreat was led by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, the founder of MBSR, and Saki Santorelli, director of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

A turning point in Silberstein's path to teaching MBSR was a 10-week practicum (2008) at Jefferson Medical College supervised by Diane Reibel, PhD. "That experience persuaded me of the power of MBSR to transform peoples' lives and motivated me to become an MBSR teacher," he says. "In my experience teaching MBSR, I have seen that transformative power regularly enacted in the life of many students."

While serving as a professor of Religion Studies and Jewish Studies at Lehigh University (1984-2011), Larry developed a course, "Mindfulness & Meditation: East & West." It focused on the Buddhist roots of mindfulness teachings and introduced students to a number of mindfulness practices.

Silberstein also has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and served as a visiting professor at Swarthmore College, Haverford College, Princeton University and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Carol Sorrentino, MSN, APRN, BC
Clinical Nurse Specialist

For years, Carol was on auto-pilot. She would drive to a destination without remembering how she got there or what she saw along the way. She would spend so much time fussing over preparations for holiday celebrations that she missed special moments with her family.

"I always prided myself on being able to do 20 things at one time," says Sorrentino, a nurse of 35 years. "Then, I realized it was causing me stress and I was missing out on life's pleasures." That's when she began practicing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and learned to turn off her auto-pilot, focus and relax.

Now, Sorrentino, an advanced-practice nurse in child and adolescent mental health and a therapist, is helping others learn mindfulness practice as a co-teacher. "I want to help others steal moments and get the most of every one." For instance, instead of tapping her foot impatiently while waiting for the elevator, Sorrentino takes a few deep breaths, relaxing her body and her mind. She's using mindfulness to help care for patients, too. "I share techniques to help calm them and help them appreciate the things they have."

Sorrentino discovered mindfulness several years ago after her significant other suffered a heart attack. The practice was included in a book about ways to lower your risk for heart disease. Realizing the power of mindfulness practice, she signed up for a class, attended a retreat with its founder Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., and has been practicing for five years. "Now my intention is to be present for every moment in my life," she says.

Culture of Wellness benefit

Note for LVHN colleagues: MBSR program is reimbursable through the Culture of Wellness program. Participants who attend six out of the nine sessions will receive 100 percent reimbursement for their registration fee. 

If you elect to take this course for Continuing Education credit, it is not eligible for Culture of Wellness reimbursement.

Continuing education information

Lehigh Valley Health Network is accredited by the Pennsylvania Medical Society to sponsor continuing medical education for physicians. Lehigh Valley Health Network designates this educational activity for a maximum of 2.5 AMA PRA Category 1 credit(s)™ per session (up to 8 sessions) and 4.5 AMA PRA Category 1 credit(s)™ for the retreat, or a total of up to 24.5 AMA PRA Category 1 credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the educational activity.

Lehigh Valley Health Network is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the PA State Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. 

Completion Criteria:  Registered nurses attending the entire program and completing the evaluation tool will receive 2.5 Contact Hours per session (up to 8 sessions) and 4.5 Contact Hours for the Retreat, or a total of 24.5 Contact Hours.

It is Lehigh Valley Health Network's policy to ensure balance, independence, objectivity and scientific rigor in all of our educational programs. Faculty and all others who have the ability to control content of continuing education activities provided by Lehigh Valley Health Network are expected to disclose to the audience whether they do or do not have any real or apparent conflict(s) of interest or other relationships related to the content of their presentation(s). 

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