Don McCown


Exploring (and Expanding) the Ethical Dimensions of Mindfulness in Clinical Practice (and Beyond)

This dissertation takes a focused look at an ethics derived from contemporary mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). Mindfulness is a burgeoning field of study and practice within mental health care and medicine. Yet ethical codes, and the philosophy of the therapist–client relationship, differ greatly between disciplines, and even more between those disciplines and mindfulness-based approaches. The potential for ethical dilemmas is therefore significant. What does an ethics of mindfulness look like? Who is competent to work therapeutically with mindfulness? How do clinicians ethically understand the therapist–client relationship from the therapeutic position of mindfulness? And how can clinicians respond when the necessary boundaries of their professional role and ethics code come into conflict with the mindfulness-based relationship and therapeutic position? This work proposes a model of an ethical space of mindfulness that offers insights into such questions, as well as insights applicable to the development of useful definitions of mindfulness, and to the training of teachers in the MBIs.