Practitioner's Guide to Ethics and Mindfulness-Based Interventions [reviewed]

Books Buddhist Psychology Ethics Meditation Mindfulness

Practitioner's Guide to Ethics and Mindfulness-Based Interventions

Springer International Publishing
ISBN 978-3-319-64924-5
418 pages, 2017
Editors: Monteiro, Lynette, Compson, Jane F., Musten, Frank

$169.00 Hardcover / $129 E-book

Full book details here

From the publisher:

This book focuses on the role of ethics in the application of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) and mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) in clinical practice. The book offers an overview of the role of ethics in the cultivation of mindfulness and explores the way in which ethics have been embedded in the curriculum of MBIs and MBPs. Chapters review current training processes and examine the issues around incorporating ethics into MBIs and MBPs detailed for non-secular audiences, including training clinicians, developing program curriculum, and dealing with specific client populations. Chapters also examine new, second-generation MBIs and MBPs, the result of the call for more advanced mindfulness-based practices . The book addresses the increasing popularity of mindfulness in therapeutic interventions, but stresses that it remains a new treatment methodology and in order to achieve best practice status, mindfulness interventions must offer a clear understanding of their potential and limits.

Practitioner’s Guide to Mindfulness and Ethics is a must-have resource for clinical psychologists and affiliated medical, and mental health professionals, including specialists in complementary and alternative medicine and psychiatry. Social workers considering or already using mindfulness in practice will also find it highly useful.

The Sumeru review:

Since "mindfulness" became a thing, much has been made of its benefits. Books have been written, magazines have been launched, classes have sprung up, a plethora of mindfulness teachers have hung out their shingles, and a vast array of therapists have embraced it in their practice. Naturally, as quickly as mindfulness entered popular culture, a backlash developed decrying its claims, legitimacy, and pedigree.

Amidst the extensive range of resources now available for practitioners, teachers, and therapists in the field, this is the first serious work I have seen dealing with the ethics of mindfulness-based interventions.

The Practitioner's Guide is a treasure trove of thoughtful, insightful, impartial writing and I recommend it strongly.

In light of recent scandals regarding abuse of power by spiritual teachers, Hollywood moguls, political figures, and such, ethics have become an issue of pressing concern and not just a topic for philosophers in drawing rooms. Important as that is, the scope of ethics here is much larger and much more clearly articulated.

The book is in three parts:

  1. Issues in the ethics of mindfulness
  2. Ethics in mindfulness-based interventions and programs
  3. Ethics of mindfulness in corporate and military organizations

For those unfamiliar with current professional discourse in the field, and the terminology of MBIs and MBPs, this is an excellent introduction. Furthermore, the Practitioner's Guide explores curriculum development, teacher training, self-care for those delivering programs, and much more.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must say I came to this book from a Buddhist perspective, and I have always been somewhat suspicious of mindfulness in its popularized forms. As I was reading, I was amazed at the depth of what is available, the breadth of applications, the integrity of the proponents, and the potential for deep insight. Clearly, there is much more to mindfulness than its detractors say.

The writing is appropriately scholarly and the citations are extensive, but I was only able to read bits at a time before my concentration wandered. In spite of that, what I read definitely whetted my appetite to read more. In other words, the content more than made up for the style.

My only caveat is that the book is frightfully expensive, and marketed specifically to professional therapists. I hope the editors will consider another book on the topic, written for a popular audience. If that were the case, I would be proud and happy to publish it!

The Secular Buddhist podcast will be featuring an interview with Lynette Monteiro and Frank Musten in the new year, talking about the Practitioner's Guide to Ethics and Mindfulness-based Interventions.


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