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Mindfulness-based Therapies: Introduction to the Theoretical and Practical Background, and it's Application in Healthcare

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Official data in SubjectManager for the following academic year: 2020-2021

Course director

Rita WEINTRAUT (rita.weintraut@aok.pte.hu), postdoctoral fellow

Department of Neurology

Subject data

Code of subject: OXF-MIB-h-T  |  1 credit  |  General Medicine |  Optional module  |  autumn

Prerequisites: -

Number of hours/semester

0 lectures + 0 practices + 0 seminars = total of 0 hours

Course headcount limitations

min. 5 – max. 20 person


Mindfulness is not a new concept, it has roots in buddhism. In 1979 Jon Kabat-Zinn, the emeritus professor of University of Massachusetts applied it in the healthcare for the first time. Since than mindfulness became widely applied and quite popular method. Mindfulness-Based methods are used in hospitals, schools, prisons, by veterans and by leaders. The efficiency is proved by thousands of research articles with a growing numbers from year to year (in PubMed database 4045 results for mindfulness keyword, 886 of them in year 2016, 721 of them from year 2015).
The core of mindfulness is the full experience of the present moment, and the awareness of thoughts, feelings and sensations in a nonjudgmental way. It helps to bringing the attention to the present moment instead of ruminating about the past or being anxious because of the future. This can reduce stress, depression, anxiety raise the level of emotion regulation and increase emotional well-being.
Mindfulness-Based methods are applied in numerous diseases, such as: Depression, Anxiety disorders, Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), Borderline personality disorder, Eating disorders, Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Chronic pain, Oncological diseases, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Addiction
Mindfulness-Based methods are in the low cost low risk category of additional therapies. Unlike drug therapies, mindfulness does not have any side effects however the efficiency of it is proved. It may be important for medical students to study mindfulness because later they could integrate this method effectively to the clinical practice as additional therapy. Furthermore because of the practical nature of the course students could gain personal experiences, what could be a protective factor against university / workplace stress and burnout. Moreover could support the vocation for medicine, empathy and aggression management.
During the course students may have an insight into the basics of mindfulness, it’s development, definition and fields of application. Most prevalent mindfulness-based techniques, like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) will be overviewed. The effect of mindfulness on physiological state, neurological system and cognitive functions will be explained. Mindfulness interventions in depression and anxiety disorders will be examined, furthermore it’s application as secondary prevention in obesity and diabetes. Measurement techniques and questionnaires for monitoring patients mindfulness status will be discussed. Research articles about mindfulness effects on medical students will be discussed. Simple techniques to evolve a mindful lifestyle will be studied. In the end of the course in two practical lessons useful exercises will be presented for future use.




Reading material

Obligatory literature

Kabat-Zinn J.: Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, Hachette UK, 2009

Literature developed by the Department


Recommended literature

Brown, K. W., Creswell, J. D., & Ryan, R. M. (Eds.).: Handbook of Mindfulness: Theory, Research and Practice, Guilford Publications, 2015

Goldstein, E., & Stahl, B. (2015). MBSR Every Day: Daily Practices from the Heart of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. New Harbinger Publications

McCracken, L. (Ed.). (2011). Mindfulness and acceptance in behavioral medicine: current theory and practice. Chapter 2, page 31-60. New Harbinger Publications.

Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2012). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression. Guilford Press.

Stahl, B., & Goldstein, E. (2010). A mindfulness-based stress reduction workbook. New Harbinger Publications.

Conditions for acceptance of the semester

Maximum of 15 % absence allowed

Mid-term exams

Students got home exercises after every lesson. To fulfill the course requirements students have to write a report about them. The report must include the description of the exercise, the length and the reflections afterward. The deadline of the submission is the end of the second week of the exam period.

Making up for missed classes

Extra lesson in the first week of the exam period in the normal time of the class.

Exam topics/questions

Write a report about the home exercises. Please indicate the description of the exercise, the length and the reflections, feelings, thoughts, physiological changes afterward. Finally summarise your personal experience with mindfulness. The minimum extent of the report is 7000 character (approx.3 pages).


Instructor / tutor of practices and seminars

  • Weintraut Rita