Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy
Showing posts with label Mindfulness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mindfulness. Show all posts

Friday, November 5, 2021

Invisible gorillas in the mind: Internal inattentional blindness and the prospect of introspection training

Morris, A. (2021, September 26).


Much of high-level cognition appears inaccessible to consciousness. Countless studies have revealed mental processes -- like those underlying our choices, beliefs, judgments, intuitions, etc. -- which people do not notice or report, and these findings have had a widespread influence on the theory and application of psychological science. However, the interpretation of these findings is uncertain. Making an analogy to perceptual consciousness research, I argue that much of the unconsciousness of high-level cognition is plausibly due to internal inattentional blindness: missing an otherwise consciously-accessible internal event because your attention was elsewhere. In other words, rather than being structurally unconscious, many higher mental processes might instead be "preconscious", and would become conscious if a person attended to them. I synthesize existing indirect evidence for this claim, argue that it is a foundational and largely untested assumption in many applied interventions (such as therapy and mindfulness practices), and suggest that, with careful experimentation, it could form the basis for a long-sought-after science of introspection training.


Just as people can miss perceptual events due to external inattention, so may they be blind to internal events – like those constituting high-level mental processes – due to internal inattention. The existence of internal inattentional blindness, and the possibility of overcoming it through training, are widely assumed in successful applied psychological practices and widely reported by practitioners; yet these possibilities have rarely been explored experimentally, or taken seriously by basic theorists. Rigorously demonstrating the existence of IIB could open a new chapter both in the development of psychological interventions, and in our understanding of the scope of conscious awareness.

Attention Therapists: Some very relevant information here.

Monday, December 14, 2020

The COVID-19 era: How therapists can diminish burnout symptoms through self-care

Rokach, A., & Boulazreg, S. (2020). 
Current psychology,1–18. 
Advance online publication. 


COVID-19 is a frightening, stress-inducing, and unchartered territory for all. It is suggested that stress, loneliness, and the emotional toll of the pandemic will result in increased numbers of those who will seek psychological intervention, need support, and guidance on how to cope with a time period that none of us were prepared for. Psychologists, in general, are trained in and know how to help others. They are less effective in taking care of themselves, so that they can be their best in helping others. The article, which aims to heighten clinicians’ awareness of the need for self-care, especially now in the post-pandemic era, describes the demanding nature of psychotherapy and the initial resistance by therapists to engage in self-care, and outlines the consequences of neglecting to care for themselves. We covered the demanding nature of psychotherapy and its grinding trajectory, the loneliness and isolation felt by clinicians in private practice, the professional hazards faced by those caring for others, and the creative and insightful ways that mental health practitioners can care for themselves for the good of their clients, their families, and obviously, themselves.

Here is an excerpt:

Navigating Ethical Dilemmas

An important impact of competence constellations is its aid to clinicians facing challenging dilemmas in the therapy room. While numerous guidelines and recommendations based on a code of ethics exist, real-life situations often blur the line between what the professional wishes to do, rather than what the recommended ethical action is most optimal to the sovereignty of the client. Simply put, “no code of ethics provides a blueprint for resolving all ethical issues, nor does the avoidance of violations always equate with ideal ethical practice, but codes represent the best judgment of one’s peers about common problems and shared professional values.” (Welfel, 2015, p. 10).

As the literature asserts—even in the face of colleagues acting unethically, or below thresholds of competence, psychologists don’t feel comfortable directly approaching their coworkers as they feel concerned about harming their colleagues’ reputation, concerned that the regulatory board may punish their colleague too harshly, or concerned that by reporting a colleague to the regulatory board they will be ostracized by their colleagues (Barnett, 2008; Bernard, Murphy, & Little, 1987; Johnson et al., 2012; Smith & Moss, 2009).

Thus, a constellation network allows a mental health professional to provide feedback without fear of these potential repercussions. Whether it is guised under friendly advice or outright anonymous, these peer networks would allow therapists to exchange information knowingly and allow for constructive criticism to be taken non-judgmentally.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Examining clinician burnout in health industries

Cynda Hylton Rushton
Cynda Hylton Rushton
Danielle Kress
Johns Hopkins Magazine
Originally posted 26 Dec 19

Here is an excerpt from the interview with Cynda Hylton Rushton:

How much is burnout really affecting clinicians?

Among nurses, 35-45% experience some form of burnout, with comparable rates among other providers and higher rates among physicians. It's important to note that burnout has been viewed as an occupational hazard rather than a mental health diagnosis. It is not a few days or even weeks of depletion or exhaustion. It is the cumulative, long-term distress and suffering that is slowly eroding the workforce and leading to significant job dissatisfaction and many leaving their professions. In some instances, serious health concerns and suicide can result.

What about the impact on patients?

Patient care can suffer when clinicians withdraw or are not fully engaged in their work. Moral distress, long hours, negative work environments, or organizational inefficiencies can all impact a clinician's ability to provide what they feel is quality, safe patient care. Likewise, patients are impacted when health care organizations are unable to attract and retain competent and compassionate clinicians.

What does this mean for nurses?

As the largest sector of the health care professions, nurses have the most patient interaction and are at the center of the health care team. Nurses are integral to helping patients to holistically respond to their health conditions, illness, or injury. If nurses are suffering from burnout and moral distress, the whole care team and the patient will experience serious consequences when nurses' capacities to adapt to the organizational and external pressures are eventually exceeded.

The info is here.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A Sober Second Thought? A Pre-Registered Experiment on the Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Political Tolerance

Michael Bang Petersen & Panagiotis Mitkidis
Originally posted October 20, 2019


Mindfulness meditation is increasingly promoted as a tool to foster more inclusive and tolerant societies and, accordingly, meditation practice has been adopted in a number of public institutions including schools and legislatures. Here, we provide the first empirical test of the effects of mindfulness meditation on political and societal attitudes by examining whether completion in a 15-minute mindfulness meditation increases tolerance towards disliked groups relative to relevant control conditions. Analyses of data from a pilot experiment (N = 54) and a pre-registered experiment (N = 171) provides no evidence that mindfulness meditation increases political tolerance. Furthermore, exploratory analyses show that individual differences in trait mindfulness is not associated with differences in tolerance. These results suggest that there is reason to pause recommending mindfulness meditation as a way to achieve democratically desirable outcomes or, at least, that short-term meditation is not sufficient to generate these.

The research is here.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Cognitive skills and decision-making are related to distinct facets of trait mindfulness

Tung Bui, Neil Dittmann, Kaleb Hobgood, and Neil Schmitzer-Torbert
PsyArXiv Preprints
Lasted edited June 1, 2019


Objective: Mindfulness has been an active area of research focused on the potential links to health. Recent work has also established that trait mindfulness is also related to cognition and decision-making. The present study tested the relationship between dimensions of trait mindfulness and measures of perception, cognition, and decision-making.

Method: Forty-three undergraduate males and 126 online participants (54 females) completed a perceptual accuracy task, Stroop task, and surveys assessing five facets of trait mindfulness, problem solving, decentering, and mental health measures (stress, depression, anxiety).

Results: Overall, only a subset of mindfulness facets were related to performance on the perceptual accuracy and Stroop tasks, partially replicating previous reports. Similarly, a subset of mindfulness dimensions was related to ethical decision-making and problem-solving success. In contrast, measures of poor mental health (stress, worry, depression) were non-specifically related to the majority of mindfulness facets. Relationships between mental health measures, but not measures of cognition and decision-making, were mediated by decentering. One exception was perceptual accuracy, which was related to several mindfulness facets, and mediated by decentering.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that separable dimensions of mindfulness are specifically related to distinct cognitive skills and decision-making, and that these relationships are largely distinct from those between mindfulness and psychological health.

The research is here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Kindness Cure

By David Desteno
The Atlantic
Originally published July 21, 2015

Here is an excerpt:

Since acting compassionately usually means putting others’ needs ahead of your own, prompting yourself to act with kindness often requires not only vigilance but a bit of willpower. That’s not to say that relying on religious or philosophical guidance to prompt kindness won’t work at times. It will. But any method that depends on constant redirection of selfish urges and top-down monitoring of one’s moral code is apt to fail. Perhaps cultivating compassion situationally—so that it automatically emerges at the sight of others in need—would be more foolproof. As a psychologist interested in moral behavior, I have long wondered if there might be a way to develop precisely this sort of reflexive compassion.

As it turns out, I didn’t have to look too far; a means was hiding in plain sight. Mindfulness meditation involves guided contemplation as a way to focus the mind. It commonly entails sitting in a quiet space for periods ranging from 20 minutes to an hour (depending on your level of advancement) and learning to guide awareness to the current moment rather than dwell upon what has been or is yet to come.

The entire article is here.

Friday, May 29, 2015

What's Ethics Got to Do with It?

The misguided debate about mindfulness and morality

By Richard K. Payne
Tricycle Blog
Originally posted May 14, 2015

As mindfuness has made greater inroads into public life—from hospitals, to schools, to the workplace—its growing distance from Buddhist thought and practice has become a hotly contested issue. Is mindfulness somehow deficient because it lacks Buddhist ethics, and should Buddhist ethics be replicated in mindfulness programs and workshops?

Psychologist Lynette Monteiro, founder of the Ottawa Mindfulness Clinic, points out that the “seeming absence of the explicit teaching of ethics in the MBI [Mindfulness-based Intervention] curriculum” is the “thorniest” basis for criticism. Underlying the discussion of ethics in mindfulness, however, is the presumption that there exists an inherent relation between religion and morality. Yet this focus on morality—thought to define the practice as religious rather than secular, Buddhist rather than non-Buddhist—is based on Western presumptions about religion inherited from Christianity, not Buddhism.

Views on morality and mindfulness tend to fall into three categories: inherent, integral, and modular.

The entire blog post is here.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Easing Doctor Burnout With Mindfulness

By Pauline Chen
The New York Times
Originally published September 26, 2013

Here is an excerpt:

Research over the last few years has revealed that unrelenting job pressures cause two-thirds of fully trained doctors to experience the emotional, mental and physical exhaustion characteristic of burnout. Health care workers who are burned out are at higher risk for substance abuse, lying, cheating and even suicide. They tend to make more errors and lose their sense of empathy for others. And they are more prone to leave clinical practice.

Unfortunately, relatively little is known about treating burnout. But promising research points to mindfulness, the ability to be fully present and attentive in the moment, as a possible remedy. A few small studies indicate that mindfulness training courses can help doctors become more focused, more empathetic and less emotionally exhausted.

The entire story is here.