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Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners

Group therapy

Are you someone who

  • Struggles with repetitive, ruminative or self-critical thoughts?
  • Are undermined by an inability to concentrate or focus?
  • Are looking for a way to manage or cope with difficult emotions?

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that involves cultivating attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental manner. Over time this practice creates an internal awareness that allows us to be with ourselves and others with a gentle, open attitude that is particularly helpful for disengaging from tendencies to criticize, ruminate, react or avoid.

Benefits of mindfulness meditation

The benefits of mindfulness meditation have been widely studied and there is substantial empirical evidence suggesting that regular practice is effective for:

  • Alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Increasing capacity for attention and concentration
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Enhancing resilience to stress

Group details

This 8-week course is designed to offer basic meditation skills to anyone interested in starting a practice. No prior knowledge or experience is required. Participants will be provided with materials, instruction and support for building and sustaining a meditation practice. There will be an at-home practice component that is essential for deriving maximum benefits from the course.

  • Where:  Mental Health Clinic at Hall Health Center
  • When:  See current schedule
  • Session length:  8 weeks
  • More information: If you would like to enroll, contact the Mental Health Clinic at (206) 543-5030.
    If you have questions about the course, e-mail or phone the group leader, Meghann Gerber, PsyD, at  (206) 221-7941 or meghanng@uw.edu

Group FAQ

What is mindfulness meditation?

Mindfulness meditation is a secular practice based on the work of Jon Kabat Zinn, the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).  This type of meditation practice is designed to enhance awareness which allows us to see ourselves more clearly and engage in our lives in a more thoughtful manner.  The content of the beginning meditation series at Hall Health is based on MBSR and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression (Segal, Williams & Teasdale, 2002).  To learn more about mindfulness, check out this helpful article.

Do I have to be a UW student to participate?

No, anyone is welcome to join including UW students, faculty, staff and members of the community.

What do I need to do to sign up?

We ask everyone who is new to the Mental Health Clinic to contact our group screener, Karin Rogers, LICSW, for an initial individual appointment that takes about 20-30 minutes.  This visit is free of charge and can be completed any time before the group begins, however the groups fill up quickly so it is recommended that you contact us to schedule your initial visit as soon as possible.  You can schedule this visit by calling the Mental Health Clinic at (206) 543-5030 or e-mail korogers@uw.edu.

How much does it cost?

It depends.  The meditation group sessions are offered as a service in the Mental Health Clinic at Hall Health.  The sessions can be billed to your insurance plan if Hall Health is an in-network provider and you have a diagnosis that warrants the service (an assessment and diagnosis will be discussed in your initial screening appointment).  For some this means that you will be responsible for paying a co-pay, co-insurance and/or deductible.  If you are on the UW Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP), your quarterly deductible and co-insurance fees are generally waived for services at Hall Health.  You can check your benefit coverage by calling your insurance company.  They may wish to know the CPT code (90853) and/or Hall Health’s tax ID number (91-1220843).  You can also pay out-of-pocket which is $57 per session, there are 8 sessions in the beginning series.

Do I have to have a mental illness in order to participate?

Because the service is billed to insurance, we need to assign a diagnosis to explain why the service is necessary.  This can feel uncomfortable for some and we are happy to discuss this in detail with you.  The focus of this group is using mindfulness meditation skills to address the difficulties facing the participants.  The majority of individuals come looking for help with symptoms of anxiety (e.g., excessive nervous tension and worry thoughts) and/or having trouble with their mood (e.g., frequently feeling “down” and/or irritable).

Do I have to come to every session?

The sessions build on one another so it is helpful to attend each one, but often things happen that prevent attendance during a given week.  If you need to miss as session, we ask that you give us notice beforehand so that we know you will not be coming.

Do I have to meditate every day?

Starting a meditation practice at home is an essential part of the series and it is expected that everyone will attempt daily practice for the duration of the series.  That being said, there are many obstacles to regular practice and we offer support and guidance in working effectively with those obstacles.

Who leads the group?

The beginning series is led by Meghann Gerber, PsyD.  Meghann has received training in various mindfulness-based treatments for depression, anxiety, and emotion regulation.  Meghann began her sitting meditation practice during her final year of clinical training as a psychologist and has been grateful for the benefits the practice has offered ever since.

See also:  Mindfulness Meditation Follow-Up Group