Persistence in Engaging in Formal Mindfulness Practice in Engaging in Formal Mindfulness Practice Master’s Thesis ... Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist psychology, and is about being present in the

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  • Running head: PERSISTENCE IN MINDFULNESS

    Persistence in Engaging in Formal Mindfulness Practice

    Masters Thesis

    Narges Khazraei

    Thesis Advisor:

    Professor David Par

    Thesis Committee:

    Professor Cristelle Audet Professor Nick Gazzola

    University of Ottawa

    Faculty of Education

    Narges Khazraei, Ottawa, Canada, 2017

  • ii

    Table of Contents

    Acknowledgments ........vii

    Abstract ............viii

    Chapter 1. Introduction............1

    Chapter 2. Literature Review...........2

    Mindfulness......2

    Mindfulness-based-stress reduction...5

    Research on MBSR5

    Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy6

    Research on MBCT...6

    Acceptance and commitment therapy ...7

    Research on ACT..7

    Dialectical behaviour therapy ...8

    Research on DBT.9

    Formal Practice versus Informal Practice......10

    Components of Mindfulness......12

    Attention......12

    Awareness and healing....12

    Acceptance...12

    Non-judgment..13

    Non-attachment........13

    Compassion..13

    Loving-kindness...14

    Benefits of Mindfulness ....14

    Mindfulness and well-being.....14

    Mindfulness in psychotherapy ........16

    Why practice formal mindfulness? .....17

    Importance and role of regular and continuous practice .....18

    Frequency of regular practice ....19

  • iii

    Duration of each practice session ..20

    Longevity of practice .....20

    Previous Research and Persistence.22

    Purpose of this Study/Research Question ..23

    Sub-questions.....23

    Conceptual Framework ......23

    Buddhist psychology ... 24

    Mindfulness and the Brain/Neuroplasticity ......25

    Chapter 3. Methodology and Method .......26

    Methodology: Hermeneutic Phenomenology .26

    Method ....31

    Participants ..31

    Inclusion criteria..31

    Recruitment..32

    Participants background ....33

    Participants Mindfulness Practice...37

    John..37

    George..38

    Sarah....39

    Catherine..40

    Tim...41

    Instruments ..42

    Data Collection ....44

    Demographic and background information questionnaire ....44

    Interviews ..45

    Data Analysis ...46

    Hermeneutic circle ....47

    Member checking ..48

    Trustworthiness ....49

    Credibility ....49

  • iv

    Transferability ..51

    Dependability ..51

    Confirmability..51

    Positioning ...52

    Chapter 4. Results .....57

    Descriptions of the Themes ..57

    Creating appropriate conditions to practice 57

    Having or creating space for practice....58

    Creating conditions appropriate to focus on mindfulness meditation60

    Flexibility in practice ..61

    Making adjustments and having options.62

    Alternative places to practice.....64

    Reaching out ...65

    Accessing resources65

    Learning and understanding mindfulness theoretically...67

    Staying connected to the mindfulness community..68

    Teaching mindfulness..69

    Developing and maintaining habits 70

    Forming a habit/ritual of practicing mindfulness..70

    Discipline......72

    Intention73

    Commitment to practice in line with ones values73

    Record keeping74

    Living the teachings of mindfulness ...75

    Self-compassion..76

    Acceptance of the challenge......78

    Nonattachment/Letting go.80

    Motivation to experience benefits81

    Motivated by the benefits anticipated...82

  • v

    Understanding the necessity of continuous regular practice

    through theoretical learning.....84

    Learning from lived experience ..86

    Motivated by the benefits experienced..86

    Noticing improvement in practice.........................91

    Motivated to sustain and improve the benefits in the long-term.......92

    Self-care awareness......94

    Understanding the necessity of continuous regular practice

    through personal experience.......95

    Chapter 5. Discussion ...97

    Time for Being ....97

    Sources of motivation .98

    Life challenges .99

    Benefits of mindfulness and improvements .99

    Motivation over the years...100

    Actions ..101

    Discipline and commitment ..102

    Motivation for commitment ...103

    Steps following commitment .....104

    Mindfulness community ..105

    Flexibility in practice ....106

    Mindful movement.107

    Theory and Practice...108

    Dharma and Persistence.110

    Implications113

    Limitations ........115

    Recommendations for Future Research ....116

    Summary and Conclusion .....117

    References120

    Appendices ..135

  • vi

    A. Request letter to the mindfulness centers ...135

    B. Recruitment letter ...136

    C. Questions to screen eligible participants ........138

    D. Demographic and background information of the

    participants...139

    E. Interview protocol....140

    F. Consent form ...141

    G. First member check request ....143

    H. Second member check request ....144

    I. Meaningful statements 145

    J. The researchers/ My pre-understandings149

  • vii

    Acknowledgments

    Firstly, I would like to thank my thesis advisor, Dr. David Par. You have patiently and

    continually supported me throughout this journey. Thank you for all your advice, generous and

    valuable comments, and insightful guidance, which have inspired me to actively continue

    learning and become a better researcher and writer.

    I would like to thank my committee members, Dr. Cristelle Audet and Dr. Nick Gazzola.

    Your valuable guidance and insights throughout this masters program greatly inspired me to

    improve my Thesis, to learn more and to become a better counsellor. Thank you very much for

    all your support, guidance, and encouragements.

    I would like to thank my family. I am grateful for your love, kindness, continuous

    support, and encouragement. I would also like to thank the participants of this study. Your

    assistance and patience have made this study possible. Thank you for your time and enthusiastic

    participation.

  • viii

    Abstract

    The purpose of this study was to explore individuals experience with persistence in maintaining

    a regular practice of formal mindfulness. Employing a hermeneutic phenomenological approach,

    the main findings derived from in-depth semi-structured interviews with five mindfulness

    practitioners. Other sou