In this issue...
Mindfulness Can Change Your Life

Why Mindfulness Matters
Editor, Diane Handlin, PhD

Continuing the theme of the Mind-Body connection from our Spring 2016 e-newsletter, this installment of NJPA’s quarterly e-newsletter explores some of the many ways that mindfulness is being used to enhance health and well-being. Since 2006, when I first edited two editions of the New Jersey Psychologist on “Meditation and Psychotherapy,” the mindfulness revolution has proliferated to the point where it is sometimes difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. The high quality articles you are about to read address some of the most exciting work being done as the modern scientific community has validated mindfulness and made efficacious use of principles that are grounded in a wisdom that has stood the test of 2500 years of human experience.
The ten excellent articles included here will provide you with insight into what mindfulness is, how it is practiced, how it is being used to lessen dependence on opioids, as well as to significantly improve overall health, how psychologists are using it creatively as an educational adjunct to psychotherapy, and how it can be used to improve the overall quality of life for yourself, your significant others, and your adolescent and young children.

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.   ~ Wu-Men

For more information on recent research, as well as selected articles, videos and books, please visit the Readings page on or read Jon Kabat-Zinn’s seminal book, Full Catastrophe Living rev. 2013.

Why is Mindfulness a Hot Topic Now?
By Joan Glass Morgan, PsyD
Westfield, New Jersey

Wherever we turn, we are invited to be “mindful.” There’s mindfulness meditation, mindfulness-informed psychotherapy, and mindfulness applied to parenting, eating, education, business, communication, exercise, and more. Of course, any activity would benefit from diligent effort to focus attention, and nonjudgmentally open to the breadth of experience. So, why has it taken us so long to recognize these techniques that were systematically described 2500 years ago? Perhaps we’ve reached a “tipping point.” Here’s how it happened and how it can help us.  read more...
Chronic Pain is Everyone’s Business
A Conversation between Diane Handlin, PhD and Patricia Bloom, MD

In 2011, the Journal of Neuroscience published a small study with 15 patients showing that meditation could reduce physical pain. In 2016, Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC began a randomized trial with 50 spine surgery patients to test whether mindfulness meditation(MBSR) could reduce the need for opioid-pain-killers in mitigating pain. Dr. Patricia Bloom is a Certified MBSR teacher and clinical associate professor at Mount Sinai Medical Center who teamed up with the neuro-surgeon involved with this study which is at the stage of recruiting subjects. In 2011, the Journal of Neuroscience published a small study with 15 patients showing that meditation could reduce physical pain. In 2016, Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC began a randomized trial with 50 spine surgery patients to test whether mindfulness meditation (MBSR) could reduce the need for opioid-pain-killers in mitigating pain. An article about their work appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Sept. 20, 2016 entitled, Can Meditation Help Patient’s Pain After Surgery.  Because Dr. Bloom is a gracious, accomplished physician, educator, and teacher of MBSR, with lifelong interest in the holistic alleviation stress and pain, she agreed to be interviewed by me for this newsletter.

DH:  There’s been so much attention to chronic pain in the media lately, especially because of the opioid epidemic and attempts to stem the tide of deaths due to prescription drug overdoses.  It strikes me that there’s a big overlap between therapists using mindfulness as part of their therapeutic strategy for clients with chronic pain and physicians who might be looking for new ways to address chronic pain in their patients.

PB:  That’s so true, Diane.  When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued their opioid prescribing guidelines for primary care physicians, they recommended trying non-pharmacological and non-opioid therapies first (1).  This prompted the Journal of the American Medical Association, one of the leading medical journals, to focus in their May 20, 2016 e-newsletter “News and Analysis” on mindfulness meditation as a promising intervention for pain relief (2).  read more...
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Autism Spectrum Disorders
By Jed Baker, PhD

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have a much higher rate of anxiety, depression, and mood issues than the general population. Over 80% of those with “high functioning” ASD are estimated to also have an anxiety disorder. Those with excellent intellectual functioning may be especially vulnerable to anxiety issues as they are more aware of their challenges and related negative judgments from others.

Mindfulness based stress reduction could be an antidote to the constant and understandable worry about how well one is performing or being accepted by others. The goal of mindfulness based strategies is to train one’s attention to focus on the present moment without harsh self-judgment rather than ruminating about the past or anxiously anticipating the future. read more...
Finding the Middle Way with Mindful Eating
By Robin Boudette, PhD

A big question almost all of us face is: how can I enjoy a healthy relationship with food?  With little time to sit for meals, an over abundance of highly processed food and mixed messages about healthy eating, it can all be overwhelming.  And, anyone who has ever struggled with over-eating or weight control knows the very hard truth that eating habits are hard to change.  You’ve seen it and probably experienced it yourself: you are able to sustain a diet for a period of time, but eventually you seem to return to old habit patterns. This is not only frustrating but can also be harmful.  New studies indicate that dieting can lead to increased weight gain.

But, here's something that a lot of people don't know – the practice of mindful eating can help you enjoy the taste of food more, eat less, and establish a health relationship with food.  

Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, just as it is, with awareness and acceptance.  Mindfulness arises naturally when we let go of all the things we usually do with the mind and focus on our present moment experience.  When mindful, we become more aware, less reactive, and have more choice in how we respond in the moment.  read more...
Mindfulness: What's Happiness got to Do With It?
by Diane Handlin, PhD
Clearing the Chaos of Adult ADHD with Mindfulness
by Ellen Schwartz, PhD
A Psychologist's Journey to Mindfulness
by Frank Sileo, PhD
Coping Through Meditation...for the Non-Meditator
by Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD
Mindfulness Exercises for Children (and adults, too!)
by Margaret DeLong, PsyD
A Sampling of Health Effects of Mindfulness Meditation
by Diane Handlin, PhD
Quarterly meeting of OCD NJ
Monday, December 12th, 2016 at 7:30pm
Remember, as always, our quarterly meetings are free and open to the public.  Parking is also free.
Presentation:  Ask The Experts:  A Panel of OCD Treatment Specialists
This session will be open for questions by all, whether a particular query from someone with OCD, concerns about a family member's OCD struggles, or a clinician looking for feedback about treating a case. read more...

Ongoing COPING WITH LOSS support group
This group meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 7:00-8:30 PM.  The group is facilitated by Margaret (Peggy) DeLong PsyD and meets at 41 E. Mill Rd. in Long Valley New Jersey.  For information and required registration please contact Dr. DeLong at
or at or 908-672-6344.  The group is designed to help you take care of your needs, discover methods of coping with grief, plan for ways to obtain emotional support, anticipate and plan for difficult situations, obtain emotional support from group members, learn about the natural process of grief,  mourning and healing and handle anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, special events and rituals.  The group is free of charge to group members.
From the desk of the editors-in-chief
The editors would like to express their gratitude  and appreciation to our guest editor Dr. Diane Handlin for her contributions and for making the Mindfulness Can Change Your Life issue possible.  We would also like to make the following correction to our Remembering 9/11 issue:  In the NJ Psychologists' Response To the 9/11 Attack article written by Dr. James Wulach, et al. It was indicated that Dr. James Wulach, Dr. Raymond Hanbury and Dr. Meline Karakashian all contributed to coordinating disaster response following the 9/11 attacks.  Dr. Karakashian and Dr. Hanbury did work on coordinating disaster response. Dr. Wulach was not involved in coordinating disaster response following the attacks but, rather, authored this article to thank and acknowledge Dr. Hanbury,  Dr. Karakashian and the many many others who organized and took part in this honorable effort.  In addition, we would like to announce that an interview Dr. Allison Dorlen-Pastor conducted with trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, MD will be published in an upcoming newsletter issue rather than the current one.  We would value hearing from our readers. Please contact us through the email icon below with questions or comments.  Happy Holidays and best wishes from the newsletter editorial staff!

Editors in Chief:
Allison Dorlen-Pastor, PhD 
Susanne Breckwoldt, PhD 

Staff Editors:

Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD
Margaret DeLong, PsyD
Janie Feldman, PsyD
Marianne Herzog, PhD
Michelle Miller, PsyD

Lynn Schiller, PhD
Michael Zito, PhD

Find more information on our contributors here.
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