Category Archives: Research

Mindfulness and Mental Health

On November 1st the Social Mindfulness group ran an event on mindfulness and mental health, culminating in a launch for Meg Barker’s new book Mindful Counselling and Psychotherapy.


The programme and abstracts for the day can be downloaded here:


The paper which Jamie Heckert’s talk was based upon is available here:

An Other State of Mind

The paper which Jyoti Nanda’s talk was based upon is available here:


The paper which Duncan Moss’s talk was based upon is available here:

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These are some useful links from Steven Stanley, relating to his talk:

Mindfulness and Mental Health – London, 1st November

Rewriting The Rules

Call for presenters/facilitators/attendees
Mindfulness and Mental Health Day – 1st November 2013, London Camden
Dr. Meg Barker will be running a free event on 1st November for practitioners and academics who are interested in mindfulness and mental health, to coincide with the publication of their new book on the subject. Please get in touch with Meg if you are interested in attending or getting involved ( Confirmed speakers include Steven Stanley, Duncan Moss, Rebecca Barnes, Many Bazzano, and Jyoti Nanda.

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Mindful Experience

The August edition of Mindful Research Monthly on Mindful Experience is out now – round up of research on mindfulness.

Mindful research monthly

The July edition of the mindful experience newsletter is out now. It includes a round up of the latest research publications relating to mindfulness and more.

Mindful research newsletter

The May edition of the mindful experience newsletter is out now. It includes a round up of the latest research publications relating to mindfulness and more.

Intuitive Inquiry Research Method

Joanna Blake writes on Intuitive Inquiry:

Intuitive inquiry was introduced by Rosemarie Anderson (1998) to study transformative experiences. Anderson (2004) states ―intuitive inquiry is an epistemology of the heart that joins intuition to intellectual precision in a hermeneutical process of interpretation. Intuitive inquiry has been informed by feminist theory, heuristic inquiry, hermeneutics, phenomenology, and Gendlin’s Focusing and thinking beyond patterns.

It is a method that invites the exploration of complex experiences in an intersubjective state between researcher and that which is studied. It is a method that encourages creative work in a flexible process of scholarly cycling of literature with data collected. In addition, intuitive inquiry allows complexity to exist, and its depths to be plumbed without reducing the experiences studied to sectional analyses. However, the constant cycling from the expansive to the particular and vice versa is not for the faint of heart or thought! Intellectual discernment, along with intuition, is at the heart of doing intuitive inquiry well.

Intuitive inquiry contains five cycles, two in the forward arc in which the topic is honed and initial lenses are developed, and three cycles on the return arc in which the data collected is summarized. Lenses are developed through intuitive engagement with and intellectual discernment of the study‘s data, and, finally, these are integrated with the literature review. Intuitive inquiry is found to be a unique postmodern method useful in the study of western patriarchal history, as it is situated outside the traditional cultural framework.


Anderson, R. (1998). Intuitive inquiry: A transpersonal approach. In W. Braud & R. Anderson, Transpersonal research methods for the social sciences: Honoring human experience (pp. 69-94). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Anderson, R. (2004). An epistemology of the heart for scientific inquiry. The Humanistic Psychologist, 32(4), 307-341.

Phelon, C. R. (2004). Healing presence in the psycho-therapist: An intuitive inquiry. The Humanistic Psychologist32(4), 342-356.

Divided brains and mindfulness?

In the most recent RSA animate lecture, on the divided brain, psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist challenges popular ideas about left and right brains which I have seen perpetuated in many mindfulness books (e.g. that reason/emotion or visual/language aspects are separated in this way). Instead, he suggests that there are divisions in attention between very focused attention (left hemisphere) and wider awareness (right hemisphere).


I found this fascinating because mindfulness also distinguishes these two kinds of attention, with different meditation practices for cultivating focused attention and wider spacious awareness. Some liken vipassanā to a broad searchlight and samatha to a focused laser beami: In vipassanā we attend to the whole of our experience in a wide, open, awareness, noticing what arises and that it passes away, whereas in samatha we focus on a particular experience, object or phrase, such as the feeling of the breath, or repeatedly asking ‘what is this?’ in Korean Zen, or contemplating a Japanese Zen Koan.

Iain also talks about the way that the frontal lobes help to inhibit the rest of the brain, stopping immediate reactions. Again, this links to mindfulness which is about developing our capacity to stand back and notice things before responding. Iain links this to empathy and compassion for others. We need to stand back in order to understand other people rather than just reacting to them.

Seems like this work opens up some new possibilities for creative engagement between mindfulness and neuroscience.

Mindfulness research monthly

The new issue of Mindfulness Research Monthly is out here, including a spotlight on neuro research on beginning and long-term meditators. There are also listings of new publications in the field.

Mindfulness research monthly

The new mindfulness research monthly newsletter is out by the people over at mindful experience:  A great update on everything that is going on in the field of mindfulness research.