UPA‘s workshop yesterday was here in Provo (hooray! a 15 minute drive instead of a 60 minute drive) at Wasatch Mental Health. David Ranks, PhD, presented about the biological underpinnings of health and psychological functioning. As researchers learn more about how our genetic inheritance is actually manifested and modulated by the environment (including the prenatal environment), more treatment possibilities open up in psychopharmacology and psychotherapy.
Here is a note about Dr. Ranks’ readings, from the APA Monitor:
In his practice, Ranks emphasizes mindfulness, which he calls “the most powerful tool I have come across in therapy.” His recommendations include:
- “Beginning Mindfulness: Learning the Way of Awareness,” by Andrew Weiss (New World Library, 2004). “A very practical step-by-step guide to mindfulness training,” says Ranks.
- “The Miracle of Mindfulness,” by Thich Nhat Hanh (Beacon Press, 1999). More than a how-to, this book conveys the joyfulness and playfulness that can come from mindfulness in everyday life.
- “Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living,” by Pema Chodron (Shambhala Classics, 2001). Chodron writes about a Tibetan Buddhist technique, tonglen, in which one breathes in and pictures the most painful and difficult things and then breathes out and pictures clarity, calm and peace-a practice Ranks finds helpful for patients who want to release anger and other negative emotions.
It was a wonderful and inspiring workshop. I hope to include more about what I learned in later posts.