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End-of-Life Practitioner Program

Mindful & Compassionate Service
Wednesday to Sunday, September 30 - October 4, 2015
Santa Sabina Center, San Rafael, CA

Metta Institute Programs will be on hiatus in 2016. Stay tuned for new programs in 2017.

Our Approach

This course offers an approach to care that is mindfulness-based, compassion-focused and relationship-centered. We utilize a range of learning modalities to address both personal and professional development, emphasizing experiential learning and pragmatic application.

Why This Course?

Healthcare professionals and others dedicated to end-of-life care face increasing institutional constraints, an urgency to work harder and faster, and a reduction in critical resources. These stressors can contribute to self-neglect, distancing from patients and a disconnection from their motivating intention to serve.

The ongoing exposure to intense suffering, multiple deaths, the potential for secondary trauma, and emotional exhaustion can dramatically impact the clinician's personal well-being and their ability to offer patients the best care possible.

This course points to a healthy, renewing and sustainable way for clinicians to work in the current environment. This results in greater competency, meaningful caregiver-patient relationships, and beneficial connections with peers, and leads to a workplace experience that is invigorating, rather than depleting.

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I woke and found that life was service.
I acted and behold service was joy." -Rabindranath Tagore

Course Description

In this foundational course we define and explore the mutually beneficial nature of Mindful & Compassionate Service, and how to embody it in your day-to-day work relationships with patients and colleagues. The course is organized around the development of three key elements: self-awareness, compassion, and skillful action.

Clinicians will develop the capacity for self-awareness and learn to see through the mind's conditioning and habitual responses, in order to identify the obstacles to intentional service. Using mindfulness practices, death awareness exercises, reflective writing and other tracking skills, clinicians learn to reduce stress, reactivity, anxiety and personal distress. The benefits of self-awareness include a greater sense of self-responsibility, an ability to concentrate on tasks, emotional resilience, self-knowledge and an integrated sense of well-being.

Play Sample Audio Clip:
Rachel Naomi Remen, MD
A Calling of Service
(4:28)

Rachel Remen

Faculty member Rachel Naomi Remen MD., NY Times Best Selling Author, Kitchen Table Wisdom, and My Grandfather's Blessing, Founder Healers Art program

We will share systematic contemplative practices for cultivating compassion, pro-social behaviors and positive regard for self and other. These practices foster an empathetic engagement with patients that is present-time oriented, well-boundaried and sensitively attuned. These capacities enable clinicians to profoundly care and companion those they serve, without becoming overwhelmed. Clinicians will learn wellness strategies and practices for pragmatic self-care that reduce burnout and compassion fatigue, and encourage a commitment to physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and relational balance.

In order to meet the needs of patients and their families, we combine self-awareness and compassion with the skillful action necessary to serve others effectively with gratitude and commitment. We learn to listen deeply, communicate clearly, provide care that is relationship-centered, and to work collaboratively with colleagues, even under stressful circumstances. We offer a path of action in which work becomes a training ground, and service is a way to develop the mind, open the heart and express our innate generosity.

Course Outcomes

This course introduces tools, practices and skills to develop self-awareness, compassion, and skillful action. Participants will have the opportunity to learn how to:

  • Increase the capacity to remain present for suffering
  • Cultivate open-hearted, moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness
  • Develop a stronger "observing self" through focused, stable attention
  • Acquire greater mind-body awareness and intuitive wisdom
  • Nurture empathetic concern and impartial altruism
  • Learn to differentiate between self and other, without merging or distancing
  • Foster positivity, and manage stress and anxiety
  • Cultivate the balancing factors of equanimity, joy, compassion, and love
  • Use the "Five Precepts of Service" in day-to-day work
  • Listen on three levels - body, heart and mind
  • Learn preventative practices that catalyze improved overall health
  • Develop work/life balance, self-care strategies, and support systems
  • Address institutional barriers to mindful and compassionate care

Register now for this 5-day program and leave with a stronger connection to yourself, a deeper level of healthy compassion for your patients, and an understanding of how to provide compassionate service.

Who should attend:

The course is primarily aimed at healthcare professionals. Participants include physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, psychotherapists, counselors, chaplains, social workers, physical therapists, massage therapists, experienced hospice volunteers and others in the healing professions.

We encourage participants to attend in groups to support the implementation of the course content in their respective settings. Groups of three or more participants from the same institution or organization receive a discount.

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