RELI E-1702 Compassion, Science, and the Contemplative Arts
Recent research shows significant benefits from cultivating empathy and compassion, ranging from physiological changes and brain biology to psychological and emotional well-being. Mindfulness and contemplative practices in Buddhism that emphasize compassion are also increasingly being integrated into Western clinical approaches for mental health. Other studies document the obstacles to compassion that can arise from experiencing fear and prolonged adversity, making it a challenge for some to value empathy, altruistic behavior, and the desire to alleviate suffering for others. This course draws on trends in mindfulness and the Buddhist view of compassion in theory and practice, as well as on scientific research, to explore how compassion can be applied to clinical contexts as informed by contemplative approaches. We also consider notions of compassion fatigue, self-compassion, compassion training for trauma, and its impact on neuroplasticity.