Practice kindness towards her and the others in the group as best you can.
In week seven, Mary fed back that something rather surprising had happened. A close friend phoned her following a very sad traumatic event.
Mary herself would not have been aware of this process, but it enabled the teacher to open to Mary and her situation rather than see her as a difficult participant. The teacher was able to be more wholeheartedly accepting of Mary, which impacted her inside process, and supported her to be a more skillful teacher within the group. The direct impact of this befriending process upon Mary is unknown, although she experienced a significant shift towards the end of the course, which she attributed to mindfulness.
At the center of the model Fig. Here, teachers maintain awareness of what is occurring inside emotions, thoughts, body sensations , and out what is going on outside the body of the teacher; sights, sounds etc. Connected to the inside out embodiment of the teacher are the three capacities of reading, holding, and befriending, which the teacher stays in contact with during teaching. Although the three capacities have been described separately in the IOG model, it is important to acknowledge their interconnectedness; for example, befriending is inherent in holding and reading, and skillful holding is facilitated by being able to read the group.
Reading requires the teacher to acquire knowledge of key group process theories, and to apply this knowledge to support her teaching and understanding of the group process during the MBP. Holding requires the teacher to create a safe space—particularly in the early weeks of the MBP by establishing group boundaries—in order to enable participants to feel safe enough to take risks with new learning.
Befriending requires the teacher to meet experience in a kindly way; both within herself as teacher inside and in relation to the experience that emerges from the participants and the group during the MBP out. The IOG model encourages teachers to include the group as almost another presence to be aware of in the room, with its own development process, character, and possibility. Unlike psychotherapeutic contexts Yalom and Leszcz , group dynamics are not directly addressed during an MBP. However, MBPs are usually delivered in a group format and it is very helpful for teachers to understand how typical group processes unfold so that they can be skillfully navigated and supported.
The model points to the importance of training MBP teachers to recognize and best utilize the group aspect of teaching an MBP. The IOG model draws from and builds upon existing group process theories e. The IOG model does not contradict previous approaches to this work; rather, it offers a re-visioning of group processes in MBPs, and distils and articulates key elements of group process in the context of MBP teaching. The IOG model offers a clarifying framework for trainee MBP teachers to base their learning about group processes in MBPs, and may also be useful for experienced MBP teachers to facilitate working with group processes more explicitly as they teach.
The IOG model is primarily intended as a pedagogical tool for MBP teachers and their trainers, rather than a model which can be empirically tested. However, it is possible that it could make contributions to the latter by offering a framework within which MBP group processes can be further investigated. For example, further research could be conducted to identify any observable characteristics of reading, holding, and befriending to build upon the MBI:TAC research by Crane et al. This could be used as a basis to investigate and pinpoint the observable teacher qualities in action within MBP group work, and whether, if an MBP teacher uses the IOG model as a framework for their practice, this manifests in improved participant outcomes.
This may clarify the extent to which skillful group work forms a part of the pathway by which participant change occurs.
While MBPs are exponentially expanding in terms of contexts, specializations, participant ages, and population Dimidjian and Segal , the field has been relatively unsuccessful in widening accessibility to the full diversity of society. It is a significant challenge for MBP teachers to have the skills to facilitate group processes skillfully in ways that include and serve everyone regardless of color, background, gender, sexuality, creed, and ability. There may indeed be times when it is wise for a teacher to recognize their lack of cultural competence with certain contexts and seek another colleague to take on the work, or work alongside an experienced colleague.
While MBP curricula place considerable emphasis on universal human tendencies and processes, it is important to hold these within a sensitive honoring of difference. MBPs are formulated to enable an individual and a collective exploration of the patterns that create and perpetuate human distress. These patterns are fuelled by internal reactive patterns but are also highly influenced by the social context we are embedded in.
It is critically important that the MBP group context does not inadvertently recreate wider patterns of distress through processes of unconscious bias and exclusion. The MBP teacher can optimize the way an MBP group is worked with by normalizing individual experience by bringing it into the wider context of the group process. The more skilled the MBP teacher is in facilitating the group process, the stronger the potential of the group as a source of experiencing a connected and open way of relating to self and others.
GG: led the write-up of the article for publication and co-developed the IOG model. TB: co-wrote the article and co-developed the IOG model. RC: co-wrote the article and contributed to the IOG model. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. GG declares she has no conflict of interest.
TB declares she has no conflict of interest. RC is a non-salaried director of a not for profit charity providing mindfulness services. Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Open Access. First Online: 25 January Objectives Mindfulness-Based Programs MBPs were designed to be taught in groups, yet little attention has been paid to how MBP teachers can work with the potential of the group to enhance participant learning. Results The inside out embodiment of the teacher is at the center of the IOG model, with three linked capacities that the teacher uses to support and guide the process: a reading the group, b holding the group, and c befriending the group.
Conclusions Practice and research implications of the IOG model are discussed. Research Evidence Research on MBPs most frequently report changes on an individual level, which perhaps creates a tendency to regard MBP teaching as an individualized learning experience that happens to take place in a group context. In the IOG model Fig. Clearly seeing group development processes for what they are is part of reading; enabling learning to take place in a safe space is part of holding; and relating to themselves and participants with compassionate awareness is part of befriending.
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Open image in new window. Out In parallel with this inside connectivity, the teacher connects to the moment-by-moment arising of what is seen, heard, and sensed with individuals, the group, and in the surrounding space. Inside Out Embodiment The teacher can shift their attention between an orientation towards inside experiencing, and an orientation towards out experiencing according to what is needed at a given moment Young Case Example: Reading the Group The following description illustrates the process of reading the group.
Establishing Safety It is through skillful holding that safety builds, MBP teachers need to help the group to form—and be aware of how holding develops as the group matures. Enabling Encounters with New Learning As the MBP group becomes established with the forming of safe connections within the group, the priority shifts to holding a process which enables participants to wholeheartedly engage with the work they have come to do. Case Example: Befriending the Group An MBCT program was being taught to people with cancer, there were seven people with cancer in the group, and a partner of one of the participants.
Limitations and Future Research The IOG model is primarily intended as a pedagogical tool for MBP teachers and their trainers, rather than a model which can be empirically tested. Compliance with Ethical Standards Ethical Approval This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. Conflict of Interest GG declares she has no conflict of interest.
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