What is MBSR?

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an evidence-based eight week course that teaches participants skills to reduce physical and emotional stress, and enhance day-to-day well-being. Created in the late 1970’s by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, MBSR has been shown to be effective at helping participants with a wide variety of needs, goals and physical conditions reduce stress, pain, anxiety and other symptoms, and improve their quality of life. This course consists of eight two and a half hour weekly classes (Note: first class is 3 hours, and last class is 3.5 hours) and one day-long (7 hour) retreat on a weekend.

Eligible Participants
This course is open to individuals 18 years of age or older. 


Enroll in MBSR program at MedStar Georgetown. View our orientation session and course dates. 

FAQs about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

Click on the questions below to view answers to some frequently asked questions about the MBSR at MedStar Georgetown. 

Mindfulness means paying attention on purpose, non-judgmentally, to what is happening in the present moment, both internally (physical sensations, thoughts, emotions) and externally (sounds, sights, smells). Mindfulness enables us to be present to and aware of our experiences, rather than becoming consumed by or lost in them. This allows us to make more purposeful and wise choices, instead of reacting automatically (often with adverse consequences) to things we can’t control. Mindfulness also involves an intention to reduce or relieve suffering through the cultivation of kindness and compassion for oneself and others. 

MBSR is appropriate for people with a wide variety of conditions, needs and goals, including:

  • Medical conditions such as cancer, chronic pain or fatigue, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, seizures, autoimmunie disorders and many others
  • Psychological conditions including depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders
  • Stress in the context of work, relationships, school, finances, moving and other situations
  • Illness prevention and wellness, cultivating balance in one's life, and developing a more consistent meditation practice
  • Health care providers, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, mental health professionals, and others.

MBSR provides systematic training in both formal and informal ways to bring mindfulness into daily life. Formal practices, taught in class, include:

  • The “body scan,” in which participants systematically move their attention from head to toe
  • Sitting meditation, involving awareness of breathing, sounds, sights, thoughts and emotions
  • Gentle movement (derived from Hatha yoga) and mindful walking, attending to physical sensations generated during movement
  • Loving kindness meditation, a practice to help cultivate compassion for oneself and others

Participants will also learn about the physiology of stress, and how to use mindfulness skills in diverse contexts, including relationships, work, daily self-care and managing physical symptoms. A central feature of this course is that participants are asked to engage in 45 minutes of daily home practice, using recordings available on the web, as well as informal practice assignments, bringing mindfulness to daily activities they are already doing.

The cost of the program is $550.

Staff discounts are available for employees and students at all MedStar facilities, Georgetown University, Howard University and the Washington D.C. Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital. Please contact Muyinat Almaroof at 202-944-5392 for details on discounts.

What is the cancellation policy?

Cancellations made 14 days prior to the first day of class will be refunded at 100%. Any cancellations made within 14 days of the class start date are refundable only if the spot is filled. Any cancellations made after the session has begun are nonrefundable.

All materials are included in the course cost. Each participant will receive:

  • Participant manual, and web-based recordings of guided practices for home practice, free of charge.
  • Yoga mats will be provided during class, though participants can bring their own if preferred.

In order for participants to incorporate new habits of mindfulness into their daily life, participants are asked to engage in 45 minutes of home practice per day, both using the CDs provided and also including informal practice at using mindfulness skills in daily activities.

Additional Information about MBSR at MedStar Georgetown

For questions about the content of the program or whether it may be appropriate for you at this time, you are encouraged to attend one of the scheduled free orientation sessions.  If you have further questions, please contact Dr. Paul Jones at [email protected]

For any additional questions regarding registration or enrollment, please contact Allison Wymer at [email protected].