VIN ALTM300-0319: Brilliant Sanity: Mindfulness Meditation 2019

The lectures for this course will be presented in an audio format using a webinar platform.

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Presenter(s): Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline), MA. LCPC
Course Open: March 10-May 29, 2019
Real Time Sessions (RTS): Sundays, March 17, 24, 31; April 7, 14, 28, May 5, and 19, 2019; 7:00-8:00 pm ET (USA)
Course RTS Times in Your Area: World Clock Converter

Level and Prerequisites: This basic course will be open to VIN members interested in learning how to use Mindfulness in their practices and daily lives.
VIN CE Course: Open to VIN Members. This course does not qualify for AAVSB RACE approval.

Course Information:
Mindfulness Meditation is a contemplative, secular evidence-based practice that allows for the development of increased self-observation and decreased reactivity. It can help to reduce stress, increase compassion and increase distress tolerance. With consistent practice, participants can experience a greater sense of well-being. In this free course, we will explore not only the neurological benefits of mindfulness meditation, but also consider how the practice can and does enhance our professional and personal relationships. Each online session will include a meditation session, during which participants can learn to "grow" their own, personal meditation practice.

*Note to Perspective Course Participants: In order to reap the benefits of mindfulness practice, it is crucial that participants are willing to commit to 10-20 minutes of sitting meditation practice most days (no less than five out of every seven days). Less consistent practice typically results in participants being frustrated and abandoning meditation. Mindfulness meditation practice, over time, does result in positive benefits, but these benefits typically correlate with the time devoted to sitting practice.

Week 1 (Real Time Session March 17, 2019): An Introduction to Mindfulness
Presenter: Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline), MA. LCPC
Format: Audio
In this overview, we will look at the history of the practice, its earliest practitioners and discuss its move to the West in the 1970s. We will consider the research into mindfulness and some of its implications for enhanced professional and personal relationships

Week 2 (Real Time Session March 24, 2019): The Neurobiology of Mindfulness
Presenter: Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline), MA. LCPC
Format: Audio
Increasingly, interest in mindfulness has focused on the positive brain changes that come with consistent practice. In this session, we will review some of that research and consider its implications.

Week 3 (Real Time Session March 31, 2019): Sympathy, Compassion and Empathy
Presenter: Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline), MA. LCPC
Format: Audio
Research into mindfulness consistently supports the greater development of compassion and empathy among practitioners. We will review how sympathy, compassion and empathy differ, what compassion and empathy really mean and how to develop healthy empathy.

Week 4 (Real Time Session April 7, 2019): Mindful Boundaries
Presenter: Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline), MA. LCPC
Format: Audio
Mindfulness allows us to create healthy boundaries, which actually enhances our own welfare and allows us to be better professionals, friends and partners. In this session, we will review rigid and fluid boundaries, why boundaries are important, some reasons why many have difficulties establishing good boundaries and how mindfulness practice can help us establish good boundaries.

Week 5 (Real Time Session April 14, 2019): Working with Reactivity
Presenter: Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline), MA. LCPC
Format: Audio
Mindfulness allows us to put a "pause" between thoughts/words and actions. How can we bring this reduced reactivity into our daily lives? We also will consider anger, from a cycle of loss-anger-rage and revenge.

**** BREAK - April 21, 2019 ****

Week 6 (Real Time Session April 28, 2019): The Mindful Veterinarian
Presenter: Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline), MA. LCPC
Format: Audio
Mindfulness can help enhance our ability to care for our patients and can help us with difficult client and staff interactions. With mindfulness, we can avoid burnout and develop a sustainable, enjoyable career of service. In this session, we will review how mindfulness can help us develop a new approach to our daily lives as health care providers.

Week 7 (Real Time Session May 5, 2019): Mindfulness, Perfectionism and Self-Compassion
Presenter: Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline), MA. LCPC
Format: Audio
Perfectionism is rampant among health care providers, including veterinarians, and can result in depression, anxiety and suicidality. Many of us find that it is easier to provide compassion to others than ourselves. In this session, we will consider perfectionism as an Early Maladaptive Schema (EMS) and understand how self-compassion (the ability to treat ourselves in times of distress as a good friend would) helps to mitigate perfectionism.

**** BREAK - May 12, 2019 ****

Week 8 (Real Time Session May 19, 2019): Putting It All Together
Presenter: Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline), MA. LCPC
Format: Audio
In this final session, we will review highlights of the previous seven weeks, discuss how to develop a personal mindfulness practice and consider the challenges and rewards of doing so.

Course Materials: Course materials will be available in the course library prior to each Real Time Session.
Required Textbook(s):
  • Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World.
    Penman. (Available on Amazon)
*Note: We will not use this text as part of this course, but it can be a helpful adjunct to the course content.

About the Presenter(s):
Michele Gaspar is a VIN consultant (Feline Internal Medicine Folder), as member of the VIN Foundation's Vets4Vets initiative, and holds a Master's in pastoral counseling from Loyola University/Chicago. She is a licensed clinical professional counselor and a psychotherapist at Live Oak Chicago. She has completed the adult psychoanalytic psychotherapy program of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, where she is currently an analytic candidate. Michele has had a personal mindfulness meditation practice for 33 years and completed the certificate program in Mindfulness and Psychotherapy from the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy in Newton, MA. She regularly meditates with a Zen group in Chicago. Her interests include the use of meditation as an antidote to professional burnout, compassion fatigue and stress. Michele has lectured on mindfulness meditation to veterinarians, veterinary support staff and shelter personnel.

Total CE Credit: 0

Tuition: Free to VIN members

*To ensure participants are ready and prepared for classes, enrollment will close on March 17, 2019 at 5 pm ET (USA) or when the maximum number of participants is reached.

*For more information on how online CE works, see the Participant Resource Center.

To Enroll:
  1. Enrollment qualifications: VIN CE courses are open to VIN member and non-member veterinarians. Veterinarians enrolling in a VSPN CE course must be a VIN member. Veterinary support staff must be a VSPN member to enroll in a VSPN CE or a VIN CE course open to VSPN member enrollment.
  2. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from @vspn.org and @vin.com addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants; personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. Each person is individually responsible for his/her own registration. To ensure that all information received is secure and correct, please do not enroll for a course on behalf of another individual.
  4. For further assistance call 800-846-0028 ext. 797 or email . Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.
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*Note: "This course does not qualify for AAVSB RACE approval. This course does not qualify for CE credit." Call VIN at 1-800-700-4636 for further information. -->

Course withdrawal and refund policy: A complete refund of the paid course price will be issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to the listed start date of the course. If you wish to withdraw after the start date please contact the VIN office 800-846-0028 ext. 797 to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.

*For more information on VIN's upcoming CE courses, check the VIN Course Catalog.

Katherine James, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (SAIM)
VIN Education Director

VIN CE Services:
800-846-0028 or 530-756-4881; ext. 797
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01 45 222 6154
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from Australia: 02 6145 2357