Upcoming Courses

The Heart of the Practice: A Day of Personal Exploration at the Confluence of Mindfulness and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Christopher Germer, PhD, Delia Kostner, PhD, Lawrence E. Lifson, MD, Susan Pollak, MTS, EdD, Lisa S. Rubinstein, MD, Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD, Robert Waldinger, MD

September 26, 2015 | 10 Phillips Place, Cambridge, MA | Washburn Commons, Brattle Campus, Lesley University

The considerable overlap between psychoanalytic and Buddhist practices has been increasingly examined in the literature. As more and more therapists working within the psychoanalytic paradigm develop meditation practices, research and anecdotal evidence is building suggesting that it enhances therapeutic work in a wide variety of ways. Therapists are examining the implicit impact of meditation practice on the therapeutic process as a whole as well as its role as a targeted intervention. However it is still rare to find personal descriptions and reflection on the interaction between meditation and psychodynamic psychotherapy. During this day-long conference we will reflect on how our practice on the cushion enhances our work in the consulting room. What brings a therapist to undertake intensive meditation practice? Do we explicitly bring mindfulness and compassion training into the psychotherapy session? Or, do we allow it to remain implicit in the relationship between therapist and patient? How do we talk with our patients who are interested in mindfulness? And, are there potential detrimental effects of mindfulness meditation practices for our patients? Through formal presentations, meditation practices, personal reflections, and case material, this conference will address how mindfulness meditation and compassion practices interact with our work as psychodynamic therapists.

This course is designed so that participants will be able to:
  • Describe how psychodynamic psychotherapy and Buddhist psychology overlap and are mutually enhancing.
  • Indicate the range of ways that therapists integrate the two psychologies in their clinical practice.
  • Describe how a meditation practice enhances therapeutic presence, attention, and personal growth of the therapist

Additional Information


Moderator: Lisa S. Rubinstein, MD

8:30 am Registration  
9:00 am Welcoming remarks and 15 minutes guided meditation. How these practices influence practice and relationship with oneself. Lisa S. Rubinstein, MD
9:15 am Finding a Home in Two “Impossible” Practices: Meditation and Psychodynamic Therapy.As therapists and patients, we know first-hand that self-inquiry brings about healing. But what exactly needs to be inquired about, and how does it relieve suffering? I hope to take you on a personal journey of discovery – seeing how the kind of self-examination that we do in psychodynamic inquiry is enriched by, complemented by, and turned upside down by the subtle and profound transformations that occur in meditation. I will explore how these “impossible” practices — that we never finish and never get entirely right – ease both individual psychological misery and the universal suffering inherent in being human. Robert Waldinger, MD
10:00 am Coffee Break
10:30 am Meandering Minds: Musings at the Cusp of Buddhism and Psychotherapy.What actually occurs in the mind of the meditating psychotherapist and how is it relevant to the subsequent work in the consulting room? In this personal “confession” I will explore the convergence of both meditation and psychodynamic psychotherapy and how the insights which arise in both impact and alleviate of human suffering. Delia Kostner, PhD
11:15 am Discussion Faulty and Participants
11:45 am “Compassion: Warming Up the Conversation.” How do we as psychotherapists, bring warmth and affection to our awareness of our own and our patient’s experience without distorting or denying difficult emotions? Compassion practice, while more intentional than mindfulness practice, is not more effortful. It guides us with an open heart into the midst of suffering rather than throwing compassion at suffering to make it go away. Christopher Germer, PhD
12:30 pm Discussion Faulty and Participants
1:00 pm Lunch (on your own)
2:15 pm Metta Meditation Susan Pollak, EdD,  MTS
2:30 pm “Mindfulness-Oriented Psychotherapy: A Demonstration.” What actually happens in  mindfulness-oriented psychotherapy? Is it a new form of treatment, or an attitude that might inform existing treatments? We will illustrate the process of integrating mindfulness practices into therapy by each taking turns in the role of therapist and patient working with real issues in our lives. Ronald Siegel, PsyD, Susan Pollak, EdD, MTS
3:30 pm Coffee Break
3:45 pm Panel Reflections Faulty and Participants
4:30 pm Closing Meditation Lisa Rubinstein, MD
4:45 pm Adjourn

Beth Israel Deaconess Department of Psychiatry Foundation, Inc./Contact Hours: 5.75


Psychologists: The Continuing Education Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. The Continuing Education Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Physicians: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint sponsorship of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 5.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Counselors: The Continuing Education Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School continuing education is an NBCC Approved Continuing Provider (ACEP) and may offer NBCC approved 5.75 clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements.

Social Workers: For information on the status of the application to the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, please call 617-754-1265 or email: sjruiz@bidmc.harvard.edu.

Nurses: The Continuing Education Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School meets the specifications of the Board of Registration in Nursing in Massachusetts, (244CMR).

Christopher Germer, PhD is a Clinical Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance and a founding member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He has been integrating the principles and practices of meditation into psychotherapy since 1978. Dr. Germer lectures nationally and internationally on mindfulness and self-compassion. He is co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy: Deepening Mindfulness in Clinical Practice. Dr. Germer is also author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion.

Delia Kostner, PhD is on the faculty at the Pine Psychoanalytic Center and is a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MSBR) teacher and leads mindfulness based therapy groups. She is the author of chapters entitled Suffering and the End of Suffering: Conundrum and Cure in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism and It’s Not Just About the Mindfulness: Foundations of Buddhist Thought and Why it Matters for Psychoanalysts.

Lawrence E. Lifson, MD is a Lecturer on Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. He is the Director of the Continuing Education Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Co-Chair of Continuing Education at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute and is on the faculty at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. Dr. Lifson is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the 2012 Recipient of Massachusetts Psychiatric Society’s , “Outstanding Psychiatrist in Education Award.” He is editor of Understanding Therapeutic Action: Current Concepts of Cure, The Mental Health Practitioner and the Law and The Psychology of Investing.

Susan Pollak, MTS, EdD is an Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School, specializing in the integration of meditation and psychotherapy. Dr. Pollak is the President of the Board of Directors for the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. She is the co-editor of The Cultural Transition, contributing author to Mapping the Moral Domain and Evocative Objects and Meditation. Dr. Pollak is co-author with Ronald Siegel, PsyD of Psychotherapy and Sitting Together: Essential Skills for Mindfulness Based Psychotherapy.

Lisa S. Rubinstein, MD is on the faculty at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and co-founded and directs the Psychoanalytic and Meditation Practioners’ Group in Boston. She is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. She is a past instructor in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, including at Harvard Medical School.

Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School. He serves on the Board of Directors and faculty, Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy and is author of The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems, coauthor of Sitting Together: Essential Skills for Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy and Back Sense; and coeditor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy: Deepening Mindfulness in Clinical Practice. He is a long time student of mindfulness meditation, teaches internationally about the application of mindfulness practice in psychotherapy and other fields.

Robert Waldinger, MD is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (part-time) and Director of the Study of Adult Development and the Center for Psychodynamic Therapy and Research at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is a Senior Dharma Teacher at Boundless Way Zen Community and a faculty member at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. He is the author of Psychiatry for Medical Students and Effective Psychotherapy with Borderline Patients: Case Studies.