I spent hours yesterday on the web looking for some more self-development resources for our Maze-Masters clients. By total chance, I fell upon a FREE ON-LINE VERSION of the famed 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) developed at the University of Massachusetts. The developer is Dave Potter, a generous psychotherapist from Idaho who is certified as a MBSR trainer by the UMass Center. He had to make adaptations in going from a face to face classroom experience to an individual on-line one. In so doing, he has compiled both the resources used in the course along with others — a rich array of videos and writings from some genuinely world-renowned experts. They include Jon Kabat-Zinn who created the original UMass program, and many other teachers of mindfulness meditation, body awareness and yoga, and stress management.
As Dave says, MBSR does not “cure” serious medical conditions. It is an evidence-based intervention. A doctor can recommend it to a patient and formally “order” it as part of the medical treatment. But the patient can just go get it themselves, too. A large and growing body of research indicates the specific techniques taught in the program – when practiced regularly — can have a significant therapeutic effect for those experiencing stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, chronic pain, migraines, heart conditions, diabetes and other ailments. Overall, participants say that they feel better: their symptoms interfere less with their daily lives, and they feel more alive and more “in-tune” with themselves and others.
As the caption to Dave’s smiling photo says, “Even if you don’t intend to take the course, I hope you take advantage of some of the wonderful videos and articles offered freely on the free Palouse Mindfulness MBSR course website site.”
This discovery is GREAT from my point of view because we have SO MUCH TROUBLE getting payers to shell out for books, videos and other instructional materials for our Maze-Masters clients. These are out of pocket costs — on top of our time spent finding and getting the materials to the clients and talking with them to make sure they “got it.” Have you noticed that at conferences, everyone TALKS piously about how important patient education is. Well, baby, I’m here to tell you the payers AIN’T putting their money where their mouths are — yet!
By the way, in case you’re not aware, there are now established CPT codes that SHOULD allow providers to bill for (a) out of pocket costs paid for educational materials and (b) delivering structured patient education programs. In my limited personal experience, these are not yet being use routinely — neither billed OR paid in the “real world”. If you HAVE seen them in use, that’s EXCITING NEWS! Please let me know who, what, where, when, why — and under what circumstances!