March 11, 2014 @ 12:00 am – 1:30 am
Learning Center, 3rd Floor, Conference Room A/B
The Cambridge Hospital
1493 Cambridge Street, Cambridge
Victoria Vacaro
617-266-0953 ext. 105


The PEFB invites trainees, students, and recent graduates in mental health professions to participate in this free program. All mental health professionals are welcome.

Opening the Hand of Thought:
The Interface of Mindfulness and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy  

Robert Waldinger, MD

Monday, March 10, 2014

Presentation and Discussion 8:00 – 9:30 p.m.

The Cambridge Hospital, 1493 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA

Learning Center, 3rd Floor, Conference Room A/B


“Mindfulness” refers to paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, in a non-judgmental way. The human mind and brain have evolved to a point where we spend almost all of our waking moments thinking about the past or imagining the future. Although highly useful when it comes to learning or planning, this state of affairs leaves us locked in our thoughts, swirling in a sea of judgment, and mostly unaware of the wealth of experience that is all around us. Paradoxically, this normal mental functioning can be a source of pain and suffering that is both independent of mental illness and at times a key contributor to it.

My talk begins with a description of this human predicament and how non-judgmental attention to the present moment offers an alternative that is at once mundane and startling. I will then examine how cultivation of mindful attention dovetails with what we do in psychoanalytic therapy, and also how it can offer experiential learning that is not readily accessible in 50-minute clinical encounters. Clinical examples will be used to illustrate how principles of Buddhist psychology can enhance and complement our skills as psychoanalytically-oriented therapists.

Robert Waldinger, MD is
Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Laboratory of Adult Development at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. His research focuses on lifetime predictors of the quality of aging. He is the author of numerous scientific papers as well as two books: Psychiatry for Medical Students (American Psychiatric Press, 1984, 1991, 1997), and Effective Psychotherapy with Borderline Patients: Case Studies (Macmillan, 1987). In addition to his research and teaching, he is in private practice in Newton, Massachusetts. He is also a senior dharma teacher in Boundless Way Zen, and leads meditation groups in Newton and at MGH.


The Psychoanalytic Educational Forum of Boston is a combined effort of three psychoanalytic institutes in Boston (Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and PINE Psychoanalytic Center) to enhance opportunities to learn about psychoanalytic perspectives for mental health professionals, students and trainees.


For more information about the PEFB or to be added to the PEFB mailing list, please contact Liz Bernstein at 617-943-2529 or Kate Sullivan at 508-397-2589