B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

A Lower Mainland university has launched the country’s first graduate program on mindfulness.

The University of the Fraser Valley announced Mindfulness-Based Teaching and Learning this week. Enrollment will begin later this year.

Mindfulness is present-moment awareness free of judgment. Mounting scientific research has demonstrated that mindfulness programs improve well-being, mental health, and lifelong learning.

It’s also said to reduce negative thoughts and rumination, lessen stress, improve morale, increase memory and attention, and boost the immune system.

Program coordinator Dr. Seonaigh MacPherson said that scientific studies of mindfulness have increased from 10 in 2000 to 700 in 2019.

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She said MBTL is ideal for those working in a wide range of professions and fields, such as health care, education, social work, policing, coaching, yoga teaching, and corrections.

“The great thing about becoming a mindfulness specialist is that it begins with you. I love that focus on self-care,” said MacPherson, who has been practising mindfulness for over 40 years.

“We start by embodying mindfulness in our own personal and professional lives. Only then can we take that next step of introducing mindfulness to colleagues, clients and students.”

She said training programs like MBTL are needed to prepare qualified practitioners to design, teach and promote evidence-based programs themselves.

UFV’s four-course, 10-month, part-time program begins in September 2019.

It is designed to transfer readily into a range of career paths, including the master of education program at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education and many other professional graduate degree programs.

For those outside of the Lower Mainland, most of the program is taught online. An online information session is happening on March 28.

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