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Lecture Series

Buddhist Psychology Lecture Series

Offered by the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy
The Arlington Center
Monday Evenings, 7:45 PM - 9:45 PM

The Arlington Center
369 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474
(781) 316-0282 •
and online live-streaming available via Zoom
Pre-registration encouraged!

Watch this space for the 2017-18 schedule ... Coming Soon!

Program Description

Returning for its twelfth year, this monthly continuing education (CE) program is for psychotherapists interested in Buddhist psychology, meditation, or mindfulness. Each lecture will address theoretical and clinical issues at the interface of these rich healing traditions, with topics ranging from addictions to forgiveness to countertransference.

These community evenings offer an opportunity to gather with colleagues in an informal setting to explore the intersection between Buddhist psychology and modern psychotherapy. This year’s presenters are long-term meditators with significant expertise in practice and in teaching.

Each presentation will be followed by Q&A and discussion, moderated by Christopher Willard, PsyD.

2 CE’s are offered each evening to psychologists, social workers, nurses, LMFTs, and LMHCs.

Fees: The fee is $25 per session for IMP members, $30 for non-members, and no charge for mental health students.
You can also enroll in the full program for $175 (members) or $225 (non-members).
Please register in advance by clicking on the Registration link located at the top and end of each lecture description. Sorry, no refunds for missed sessions.


Upcoming Lecture

2016-17 Schedule

September 12, 2016
The Five Hindrances in Daily Life and How Clients and Clinicians Can Overcome Them   Register here!
Presenter: Mitch Abblett, PhD

Boxing great Muhammad Ali once remarked that “Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the little pebble in your shoe.”  

Clients and clinicians might ask: What is wrong with us if we’ve been meditating for years and we’re still generally making ourselves crazy with doubt and insecurity?  How can we make our lives more effective, worthwhile and meaningful ? How do I minimize pain and suffering? How do I get what I really want?  And will I really even want it once I get it? 

Behind our office doors we see clients who enact these questions through the symptoms and behaviors that  brought them to our door-– the various forms of taking, leaving, shoving and hiding aspects of their inner lives. Beneath all of these questions lies one... In this moment, will I open or will I close?

Join us in person (The Arlington Center, Arlington, MA) or online (via Zoom, as Dr. Abblett explores the Buddhist conception of the “five hindrances” (desire, hostility, sluggishness, worry and doubt).  He will investigate the five hindrances in meditation and consider them in the process of engaging clients, to move toward authentic experience rather than merely repeating karmic conditioning.  

The workshop draws on Dr. Abblett’s professional experience as a psychologist working in a variety of acute settings and client populations, the sciences of the brain, mindfulness, and positive psychology.  His presentation underscores how clinicians can help clients identify and skillfully understand the nature, application and daily life relevance of the moment-to-moment choice to open or close when the universal hindrances to clarity and compassion arise.

At the completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  1. Assess and identify the role of the five hindrances in clients’ presentations, and in psychotherapy process and treatment outcome. 
  2. Demonstrate skill in managing one’s own patterns of hindrance that may block clients’ treatment progress. 
  3. Incorporate specific practices to manage hindrance patterns into daily routines as a practicing clinician, and build client’s skills in doing so for themselves.

Dr. Mitch Abblett is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Wellesley Hills and the Executive Director of the Institute for Meditation & Psychotherapy.  For over a decade he was the Clinical Director of the Manville School, a Harvard-affiliated therapeutic day school program in Boston, serving children and adolescents with emotional, behavioral and learning difficulties.  In  addition to his private therapy and consulting practice (Incite Consulting), he has written regarding  mindfulness, professional development and family mental health, including The Heat of the Moment in Treatment: Mindful Management of Difficult Clients (W.W. Norton) for clinicians and, co-authored with Chris Willard, Mindfulness for Teen Depression (New Harbinger), and the card deck practice aids, Growing Mindful and Growing Happy (PESI Publications).  A book on the Buddhist Five Hindrances and their management in daily life is planned for a 2018 release (Shambhala).  He blogs regularly on  He conducts national and international trainings regarding mindfulness and its applications.

Register here for "The Five Hindrances in Daily Life and How Clients and Clinicians Can Overcome Them."



October 10, 2016
Cultivating the Inner Holding Environment in Meditation     Register here!
Presenter: Bill Morgan, PsyD

Alternate Title: Why We Don’t Practice Meditation Regularly: Addressing the Elephant in the Meditation Room
Do you feel that your meditation practice could be more alive, more dynamic? Are you having trouble beginning? Do you feel a sense of frustration or ineffectiveness when you sit, or you’re not sure how to integrate it into your daily life? Maybe you’re beating yourself up for the method or frequency of your practice? Maybe you once believed in a “hero’s journey” of practice but now feel disenchanted? 
Welcome to the club; you are part of the silent majority of practitioners. This workshop will address common but seldom examined obstacles to practice, and offer serving suggestions for enlivening meditation.  
At the completion of this activity, participants should be able to:
  1. Participants will understand the major obstacles to establishing a regular meditation practice.
  2. Participants will understand the importance of cultivating an inner holding environment for meditation.
  3. Participants will learn visualization practices to enrich their meditation.
Bill is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Cambridge and Quincy MA. He is a founding board member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, and has participated in 8 years of intensive retreats in the Theravada, Zen, and Tibetan schools of Buddhism during his forty years of meditation practice. He has led mindfulness retreats for mental health professionals for the past 20 years. Bill is a contributing author to Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, Second Edition. His book, The Meditator’s Dilemma: An Innovative Approach to Overcoming Obstacles and Revitalizing Your Practice, was recently published by Shambhala.

 Email: • Website:

Register here for "Cultivating the Inner Holding Environment in Meditation"


November 7, 2016
Explicit Emotional-Mindfulness in Psychotherapy: A Workshop Overview of Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)     Register here!
Presenter: Judy Silvan, LICSW

The AEDP model created by Diana Fosha (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy), brings an unmistakeable non-dual mindfulness to each psychotherapy session. Through a slowed down, moment-to-moment gentle experience of dyadic-attunement, the therapy becomes an accelerated road to lasting emotional healing & brain change. The dynamic becomes a relational duet that undoes the patient's “unbearable aloneness”, often caused by attachment disruptions, shame, and trauma. Through an experiential and "being," rather than interpretive and "doing" approach, AEDP quickly fosters trust, a softening of defenses and leads to healing spirals. The presentation will cover a basic framework of AEDP and the resultant clinical phenomenology for the patient and the dyad. Video demonstrations of consenting cases will be included as a demonstration of the protocol. The patient understands that moment-to-moment tracking and dyadic attuning helps them to feel deeply understood, and is a path to transformation. The model often becomes a shared and transformative contemplative experience for both therapist and patient.  
At the completion of this activity, participants should be able to:
  • Highlight and define major AEDP healing components
  • Understand and discuss video tape of actual AEDP sessions 
  • Practice beginning AEDP clinical skills through a brief experiential exercise 
  • Discuss, meta-process and integrate the evening’s learning material through an experiential approach

Judy Silvan, LICSW (LCSW CA #61755) works as a licensed psychotherapist in Cambridge, MA and in the Bay area of CA during portions of the year. She practices movement and mindfulness-inclusive AEDP. She was certified by IMP (2011), by the International Society of Bioenergetics (2004), and most recently by the AEDP institute (2014) where she is currently a candidate for AEDP Supervisor. She finished her Masters Level Training at Smith College School for Social work in 1985. The hallmark of her work is helping people evolve from attachment or other forms of emotional trauma, towards an enlightened, non-dual experience of truth and healing in their lives. 

Register here for "Explicit Emotional-Mindfulness in Psychotherapy: A Workshop Overview of Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)"


December 5, 2016
Mindfulness, Chronic Pain and Quality Outcome Measures      Register here!
Presenter: William Jackson, PsyD

In this presentation, Dr. Jackson will share his experience with meditation as a Buddhist monk and lay practitioner, exploring current research models that help clinicians make informed decisions about best interventions. Meditation is an intensely personal and subjective experience where gains are hard to objectively quantify. Bridging the gap between a compassionate experiential practice and a symptom-reduction focused model of medicine and psychotherapy is a challenge without the loss of "meaning." Having clear practice method, quality outcomes and respect for ancient practices and cultures where meditation was created, as well as contemporary research and crafted interventions is essential. 

Participants will:
1. Participants will understand cultural influences on contemporary mindfulness interventions.
2. Participants will learn current research results of mindfulness interventions in the chronic pain population.
3. Participants will learn the steps involved in a systematic review and importance of systematic reviews in clinical decision-making.

William Jackson spent 6 years as a Buddhist monk, has been practicing meditation for 15 years and has been teaching meditation for nearly a decade, including a current class at South Boston Yoga. William completed his doctoral degree in clinical health psychology from William James College. He has worked at Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Cranial Facial Pain Center, and a number of other settings. He is currently collaborating on research projects with the Benson Henry Institute for Mind-body Medicine and recently finished a systematic review on quality outcome measures for chronic pain research.  He specializes in opioid risk stratification, multidisciplinary pain treatment and mindfulness based therapies. 

Register here for "Mindfulness, Chronic Pain and Quality Outcome Measures"


January 9, 2017
Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy: Advanced Clinical Techniques      Register here!
Presenter: Tim Desmond, LMFT

We know that self-compassion has the power to help us let go of anxiety, anger and suffering from the past, as well as to develop greater peace of mind, strength of presence, and a more open heart. But we also know that these benefits come from practice, not just accumulating knowledge. In this presentation, we will explore advanced clinical techniques for utilizing the power of self-compassion with nearly any client. We will explore Dialogue-Based Mindfulness to improve our ability to teach mindfulness and compassion practices to clients in acute emotional distress. We will also learn custom-tailored compassion training practices to improve emotional regulation, reduce self-criticism, and heal trauma. 

Participants will:

  1. Understand the role of the brain's "Care Circuit" in compassion training. 
  2. Describe Dialogue-Based Mindfulness and how it differs from traditional guided meditations.
  3. Apply self-compassion to the concept of modularity and "psychological parts."

Tim Desmond, LMFT, is a mindfulness teacher, therapist, and co-founder of Morning Sun Mindfulness Center in Alstead, NH. He is the author of Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy and offers training to therapists around the world, helping them to integrate mindfulness and self-compassion practices into their work. He is a student of Thich Nhat Hanh, with whom he has studied closely for nearly 20 years. Tim offers a 12-week online course called the Foundations of Self-Compassion.

Register here for "Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy: Advanced Clinical Techniques"


February 6, 2017
Rational Mind, Animal Body: The Psychology of Conflict in Kripalu Yoga     Register here!
Presenter: Doug Baker, LICSW

Hugely trendy as a workout, Yoga is less well-known as a contemplative tradition rooted in the quest for freedom from psychological suffering. This presentation will briefly explore the history of yoga as a contemplative tradition, putting today's posture-based practice in perspective. This experiential and didactic presentation then dives into Kripalu yoga as psychology from the perspective of inner conflict, and as compliment to Buddhist psychology. Participants will explore experiential learning with simple, non-athletic yogic breath and body practices. As time allows, we will touch on how yoga interventions can be applied in psychotherapy.

At the completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

1. To learn the historical context of Yoga as contemplative tradition

2. To learn the foundations of Yogic Psychology

3. To learn experiential practices for somatic applications of Yogic Psychology

Douglas Baker, LICSW, is a former clinician of the Psychiatric Emergency Service at Cambridge Hospital, and founder of Cambridge Mind Body, a holistic counseling practice in Cambridge. A Kripalu Yoga teacher, he and leads workshops on the self-liberation potential of yoga and meditation and its application in psychotherapy. He is currently writing a small, portable book on walking meditation.

Register here for "Rational Mind, Animal Body: The Psychology of Conflict in Kripalu Yoga."


March 6, 2017
Creating the Inner Holding Environment: An Experimental Workshop     Register here!
Presenters: Susan Morgan, MSN, RN, CS and Bill Morgan, PsyD

Why do so many of us struggle to establish a regular meditation practice? Could it be that traditional instructions are not engaging enough for our high stimulus cultural milieu? In order to support a more enlivening atmosphere for meditation, there are several important building blocks which need to be established at the beginning of practice. If these are overlooked meditation is more likely to be colored by restlessness, boredom and cognitive drift. These foundational elements—a settled posture, an easy breath and affectively engaged attention- create a holding environment for practice. This workshop will focus on identifying and engaging core elements of this internal holding environment, with serving suggestions about how to cultivate them.

At the completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

1.       Cognitively and experientially learn the three core elements of the inner holding environment for practicing mindfulness meditation.
2.       Cognitively and experientially learn how to elicit these three elements during a practice session.

3.       Cognitively and experientially learn how to monitor and adjust these core elements during meditation practice. 

Bill Morgan, PsyD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Cambridge and Quincy MA. He is a founding board member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, and has participated in 8 years of intensive retreats in the Theravada, Zen, and Tibetan schools of Buddhism during his forty years of meditation practice. He has led mindfulness retreats for mental health professionals for the past 20 years. Bill is a contributing author to Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, Second Edition. His book, The Meditator’s Dilemma: An Innovative Approach to Overcoming Obstacles and Revitalizing Your Practice, was recently published by Shambhala.   Email: • Website:

 Susan T. Morgan, MSN, RN, CS is a psychotherapist who teaches mindfulness meditation to individuals and groups, and consults with psychotherapists interested in deepening their meditation practice and therapeutic presence. Susan has practiced Buddhist meditation for 25 years, primarily in the Theravada tradition, and recently completed a 4-year retreat with her partner Bill. She has co-led mindfulness retreats and workshops for psychotherapists with Bill for the past 15 years. Lovingkindness and mindfulness of the body are integral to her teaching. Susan is a contributing author to Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, Second Edition. Email: • Website:

Register here for Creating the Inner Holding Environment: An Experimental Workshop  


April 3, 2017
Teaching Meditation to Adolescents - Approaches and Therapeutic Benefits  Register here!
Presenter: Jessica Morey, MA

In her work sharing meditation with teens, Jessica and others have integrated mindfulness and compassion meditation, relational mindfulness practices, mindful movement, creative expression, and nature awareness practices. These modalities will be presented and demonstrated. Jessica will emphasize the core qualities of a "mindful mentor" - authentic relationship building, attuned compassion and respect - which are the critical foundations for teaching mindfulness to youth. She will also present an overview of the research on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness for youth and present research on teen retreats. This presentation will include lecture, guided practices and relational mindfulness activities. 

Participants will learn:

  1. Approaches and activities to engage youth in mindfulness meditation practice
  2. Core qualities of Mindful Mentoring with youth
  3. Overview of research findings on the benefits of mindfulness meditation for youth

Jessica Morey, MA is the Executive Director of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), an international non-profit that leads secular meditation retreats for teenagers and young adults. She began practicing meditation at age 14 on teen retreats offered by the Insight Meditation Society (IMS). She has attended longer retreats (1-3 months) in Asia and the U.S, participated for 10 years in the IMS young adult mentoring group and trained as a Buddhist meditation teacher with Noah Levine and Against the Stream. Jessica is a founding board member and lead teacher for iBme teen retreats.  Before joining iBme, Jessica worked in clean energy and climate policy and finance. She holds a BA in Environmental Engineering from Dartmouth and Masters degrees in Sustainable Development and International Affairs. Her article in Mindful Magazine, “Finding My Way,” describes her experience learning and benefiting from mindfulness throughout her young adult years.

Register here for "Teaching Meditation to Adolescents - Approaches and Therapeutic Benefits."


May 1, 2017
The Buddhas Wife: The power of relational mindfulness in clinical practice      Register here!
Presenter: Janet Surrey, PhD

Insight Dialogue is a co-meditative practice specifically bringing mindfulness into relationship, including speaking  and listening. Clinical applications for the therapy relationship will be discussed and demonstrated.

Participants will learn:

1. Practice  the guidelines for Relational  mindfulness
2.  Apply the practice to clinical relational practice-especially deep listening and wise speech
3. Learn how mindfulness practiced in relationship can help clients with relational difficulties 


Janet Surrey, PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Newton.  She is a Founding scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Stone Center, Wellesley College and a Board member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. She is trained as an Insight Dialogue teacher in the Buddhist Theravadan tradition and co-author of The Buddha'sWife:the Path of Awakening Together.

June 5, 2017
Implicit mindfulness:  Bringing Mindfulness Concepts to Pre-Contemplative Patients      Register here!
Presenter: Laura Warren, MD

This presentation will discuss techniques for bringing mindfulness concepts implicitly to encounters with patients who, for a variety of reasons (cultural, religious, etc), have a more difficult time engaging with mindfulness when it is explicitly discussed, for which the term “pre-contemplative” is applied. We will discuss ways to incorporate language and concepts clinically that implicitly reflect core mindfulness principles while also respecting patients’ unique identity and values. We will also discuss using implicit mindfulness to frame shared goals with patients with regard to their overall physical and mental health. 

Participants will learn to:

  1. ·      Identify “pre-contemplative” patients who might benefit from implicit mindfulness
  2. ·      Integrate specific language/concepts that reflect implicit mindfulness concepts
  3. ·      Apply implicit mindfulness to clinical settings when appropriate

Bio: Laura Warren, M.D. is an outpatient psychiatrist at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), and works in primary care as well as specialty mental health.  She was first trained in MBSR in 2007, and completed the IMP Meditation and Psychotherapy Certificate Program in 2009, and since then has been incorporating mindfulness into her clinical practice.  She has been involved with the Center For Mindfulness and Compassion at CHA since its inception.  Currently she is teaching as part of the MINDFUL-PC program, which seeks to bringing mindfulness groups to primary care, and she has been involved in bringing mindfulness to psychiatry residency training. She recently joined the board of IMP, and is interested in using mindfulness to help patients and providers manage stress, and to reduce burnout among healthcare professionals.

Register here for "Implicit mindfulness:  Bringing Mindfulness Concepts to Pre-Contemplative Patients." 



Continuing Education

Psychologists: The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy maintains responsibility for the program and its content. This course offers 2 hours of credit per session.

Licensed Mental Health Counselors: The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6048. Programs that do not quality for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy is solely responsible for all aspects of the program. This program is approved for 2 clock hours. It is also applicable for MaMHCA/MMCEP hours for re-licensure, in accordance with 161 CMR.

Marriage & Family Therapists: This activity has been certified by the Massachusetts Association for Marriage & Family Therapy, Inc. for professional continuing education. Certification # provided at each lecture.

Social Workers: The program has been approved for 2 Social Work Continuing Education hours for re-licensure, in accoradance with 258 CMR. Collaborative of NASW and the Boston College and Simmons Schools of Social Work. Authorization Number provided at each lecture. 

Nurses: This program carries 2 contact hours and meets the specifications of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing (244 CMR 5.00).