Students of teaching and counseling training programs are exposed to relatively high levels of stress during their studies, and later during their work. They are expected to help their pupils deal with stress and frustration; however, few professional development programs specifically address this issue in their curricula. I developed a two-semester training course to provide theories and research on mindfulness meditation, training of self-application techniques, and instruction in fieldwork teaching of these techniques to children. Over the academic year, students completed weekly journals. Qualitative analysis of students’ journal summaries yielded three core themes related to students’ mindfulness training: process, experiences, and outcomes. Most students lacked previous experience in meditation and reported difficulties as the process began. Changes in experiences emerged, sometimes following a turning point, together with a change in the relationship to thoughts, accepting them in a more compassionate manner. Outcomes included a better awareness of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, a perceived reduction in stress, and a better sleep quality. The study suggests that mindfulness practices can be successfully introduced into traditional academic settings and integrated as part of preservice course curricula to enhance professionals’ personal mental health and their ability to transmit the benefits of meditation to their pupils.
- Qualitative research
- Stress prevention and control
- Therapist training