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01-08-2015 | COMMENTARY | Uitgave 4/2015

Mindfulness 4/2015

Ethics, Values, Virtues, and Character Strengths in Mindfulness-Based Interventions: a Psychological Science Perspective

Mindfulness > Uitgave 4/2015
Ruth Baer


This paper comments on an article by Monteiro, Musten, and Compson (Mindfulness 6: 1-13, 2015) and a series of replies that explored the issue of ethics training for participants in contemporary mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). The perceived need for explicit ethical training stems from concerns about potentially harmful or misguided applications of secular MBIs, particularly in settings whose activities may be inconsistent with the ethics of the Buddhist traditions from which mindfulness training originates. Much of the discussion in the target article and replies focused on whether ethical foundations of mindfulness in MBIs should remain implicit or should be taught from a Buddhist perspective. The present commentary argues that psychological science provides well developed alternatives for researchers and clinicians interested in secular approaches to ethics-related issues in MBIs. The experimental psychology literature provides a strong foundation for working with personally meaningful, prosocial values in MBIs. Positive psychology provides a complementary perspective on moral virtues and character strengths that have been widely recognized across cultures. Organizational psychology and related disciplines provide empirically based perspectives on the ethical implications of mindfulness training in the workplace. An approach to ethical issues in MBIs that is firmly grounded in psychological science and suitable for secular settings is recommended.

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