Mindfulness in Social Work Settings

March 3, 2017 9:00 am - March 4, 2017 5:00 pm


Columbia School of Social Work, 1255 Amsterdam Ave., New York 10027

Event Organizer

Office of Professional Excellence

13 contact hours are available for NYS, NJ and CT Licensed Social Workers

$450 single; $400 each for 5 or more

Alumni will receive a $50 discount. Please email swope@columbia.edu for the promotional code. Your email should contain your name and the year you graduated.

Open to the public*



Mindfulness, the practices of awareness and compassion, has demonstrated powerful efficacy in teaching clients to cope with pain and distress and ultimately live their lives more fully. These basic skills can also benefit therapists by preventing burn out, and being more authentically available to their clients.

This workshop will summarize the research and describe Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), the program developed by Jon Kabat Zinn, using this model as a basis for teaching skills experientially. The instructors, both MBSR teachers for 20-30 years, will then explore ways that this model can be adapted for a wide range of populations, including those with physical and cognitive limitations, those in institutional or private practice settings, and the underserved and marginalized.

Workshop Description

Day One: An introduction to mindfulness, definitions and practices, as well as an overview of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, the “gold standard” of most research trials. In addition, there will be an overview of the general research on behavioral impact, neuroscience, and emotional resilience. This all-day session will include extensive experiential work, focusing on the body and the breath as the basis for staying in the present moment, and introducing both formal and informal mindfulness practices. In addition, compassion and self-compassion will be explored as a practice, and the difference between this practice and the self-esteem movement. As we review the skill training that fosters mindfulness, we will begin to discern ways to introduce and teach mindfulness to social work populations and in social work settings, including hospitals, prisons, schools, community programs, and individual counseling.

Day Two: An opportunity to go deeper into the practice and applications of mindfulness. Today participants will continue to learn and practice the skills that cultivate mindfulness and begin to consider how to bring mindfulness into their professional and personal life. Experiential practices, based on MBSR teaching methods, will be integrated with didactic learning and group discussion. We will explore the applications of mindfulness in the context of both group and private practice, within institutions, schools, and healthcare. The instructors will share their own work with populations that are ill and dying, distraught by multiple life challenges, making difficult life decisions, in both institutional and individual settings. Participants will complete the day with a realistic, achievable action plan to bring mindfulness to their lives and those they serve.

Learning Objectives

Participants will learn to:

  • Describe how mindfulness can change the brain.
  • Utilize at least three mindfulness practices and be able to teach these to another.
  • Conduct a guided breath and body awareness exercise.
  • Articulate the difference between self-compassion and self-esteem.
  • Determine appropriate adaptations of mindfulness practices for individual populations and settings.
  • Identify three ways to use mindfulness in individual counselling.


Lucia McBee has worked with elders and their caregivers for over 30 years in direct care practice, research, and education. Since 1998, she has taught Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and other Integrative Medicine (IM) modalities to persons with chronic pain and illness, elders with cognitive loss and their caregivers, college students, persons with HIV, those recently released from incarceration, and health care professionals, as well as the general population. Always interested in increasing accessibility of mindfulness for non-traditional populations, she developed a pioneering practice adapting mindfulness and IM to improve the quality of life in community, hospital, and nursing home settings. Mindfulness-Based Elder Care, her book based on innovations with elders and caregivers, was published in 2008.

Ms. McBee graduated from Columbia University’s School of Social Work and Public Health, and participated in MBSR professional training in 1994 and the first MBSR Teacher Development Intensive at the Center for Mindfulness in 1997. She also trained at the Center for Mind/Body Medicine in 2000, and in 2008, became a certified Kripalu yoga teacher. In addition to teaching MBSR, she is a licensed clinical social worker.Ms. McBee has published numerous articles in peer reviewed journals and book chapters describing her adaptations of mindfulness and IM practices for underserved populations. Currently, she teaches MBSR at Beth Israel’s Center for Health and Healing and the Institute for Advanced Medicine, and is Adjunct Lecturer at Columbia School of Social Work. She regularly presents at national and international conferences and consults with institutional and community direct-care providers.

Elana Rosenbaum, M.S., MSW is a licensed independent clinical social worker, a cancer survivor and leader integrating mindfulness into cancer care and long time teacher of mindfulness-based practices. She has worked directly with Jon Kabat-Zinn and is a pioneering teacher of mindfulness-based stress reduction that has helped thousands of people world wide cope with physical and emotional difficulties. Her personal experience and professional expertise has inspired many to live well regardless of the circumstances of their lives. She is an internationally known speaker, consultant and workshop leader as well as author of Here for Now: Living Well with Cancer through Mindfulness and “Being Well (even when sick): Mindfulness Practices for People Living With Cancer and Other Serious Illness and soon to be published workbook on The Heart and Art of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction.