The mind body skills elective provides a variety of self-awareness and meditative techniques.  Short didactic sessions provide some background on these techniques. The majority of time in class is spent in small groups with one or more faculty guides, Active participation and personal experience by each student of the various techniques is central. The focus is on the relationship between wellness of the body and wellness of the mind.

Emphasis in the class is on providing the student with the direct experience of various techniques and exercises.  These include deep breathing exercises, various kinds of meditative practices, guided imagery, autogenics (a type of self-hypnosis), mindfulness, and mindful exercise, such as yoga or Tai Chi. Self-awareness exercises include drawings and genograms (in which there is self-exploration of both nature and nurture).  Among the various techniques and exercises most students find one or more that resonates with their being in a special way. 

The class is intended to provide students with the tools of stress-reduction, not only for their patients but also for their own  self-healing.  It is anticipated, and research supports this view, that health care providers who have personally experienced such techniques will more effectively manage their own stressful lives and successfully maintain their own wellness.  Such health care providers will also be more empathetic and more intimately understand that the majority of primary care visits involve patient illnesses caused by or amplified by chronic stress.   Thus, such health care providers will better understand the multiple factors influencing their patients well-being and allow them to be true healers; in the best sense of the word.



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