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Growing Up and Waking Up: Applied Mindfulness in Psychotherapy and Buddhist Practice

Flint Sparks, PhD

July 22-26, 2024

Monday - Friday: 9:00a.m. - 12:30p.m. EDT | 30-Minute Break Daily

15-Hour Course |  Delivery Format: In-Person Only

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Course Description

Everyone wants to be free from unnecessary suffering. This was the Buddha’s only concern and every practice he taught served to encourage the liberation of a clear mind and a warm heart. The relief of emotional suffering is also the focus of contemporary psychotherapy and the wide range of techniques now available all serve this important goal. How are we, then, to understand these ancient mindfulness practices alongside the new and very potent methods for emotional and relational healing? Both approaches are profoundly transformative and when skillfully woven together they pave the way for increased vitality and a deeper sense of peace, freeing the burden of unnecessary suffering. Such an integrated approach shows us how to grow up and wake up to who and what we truly are. This week will be geared toward understanding the function of mindfulness as the core practice that links both paths to greater wellbeing. Each day we will explore these integrated teachings and actively engage in mindful practices to experientially taste their potential.

Throughout the week we will explore the foundational Buddhist teachings on mindfulness found in the Sattipathana Sutra. We will also be drawing heavily on two methods of contemporary psychotherapy — Hakomi and Internal Family Systems. These remarkably skillful approaches weave together applied mindfulness with an understanding of the multiplicity of mind in ways that reveal the Buddha’s teachings as practical tools for personal and relational transformation. We will examine the ways in which our everyday sense of “self” emerges and is sustained, how the contraction of conditioning leads to unnecessary suffering, how assisted self-discovery in mindfulness opens us beyond our habits toward greater possibilities for freedom, and how being led from the deepest source of wisdom and compassion supports practical human maturity. Along with reviewing the foundations of these two therapeutic models, our investigation will touch on perspectives from child development, attachment theory, interpersonal neurobiology, and contemplative psychology. Ultimately, we will investigate the ways that attention to relationality and mutual care opens the way to a life of freedom and joy.

Course Agenda (click to expand)

Course Objectives (click to expand)

About the Instructor

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Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Flint Sparks has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations. He receives a speaking honorarium from MAK Continuing Education, LLC, Cape Cod Institute.

Non-financial: Flint Sparks has no relevant non-financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

T. Flint Sparks, PhD, is a Zen priest and former Clinical Psychologist with over 40 years of practice as a psychotherapist and teacher. His specialty in Behavioral Medicine led him to work as the Research Coordinator and senior therapist alongside Carl and Stephanie Simonton, pioneers in the field of holistic cancer care. He later directed the Cancer Self Help Program at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Hospitals in Denver and became a consultant to hospitals and clinics throughout the United States. Beginning his formal Zen training at the San Francisco Zen Center, he later founded the Austin Zen Center and nurtured that temple in its early days. With his teaching partner Peg Syverson, he went on to develop Appamada, a center for contemporary Zen practice and Inquiry in Austin, Texas. He now lives in Hawaii and leads retreats worldwide.

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Flint Sparks, PhD

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What Alumni are Saying...

"This was—again— the most amazing course I have ever taken. Flint is a brilliant, clear teacher. I cannot recommend this teacher and this course enough. - 2022 Participant

"It was an astonishing experience— I felt that he helped us to be better human beings as well as better clinicians. Flint has a way of not only nourishing the students but directly showing how they can nourish themselves and each other." - 2023 Participant

"I felt that this course was transformative. It is one of the best educational experiences I have ever had." - 2023 Participant



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