How Do Cultural Factors Influence the Teaching and Practice of Mindfulness and Compassion in Latin Countries?
Frontiers in Psychology
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2017
Sources ID: 69036
Collection: Mindfulness, Diversity, and Social Justice
Visibility: Public (group default)
The first structured 8-week program on mindfulness, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR), was developed by Kabat-Zinn (1982) in a hospital linked to the University of Massachusetts. As is usual in private health systems, participants of these programs have to pay for them, making them less accessible to low-income individuals. Consequently, a large proportion of participants of mindfulness-based interventions have been high-income, white, Anglo-Saxon, and educated individuals actively seeking mindfulness training (Olano et al., 2015). Despite Kabat-Zinn's purported interest in offering mindfulness to low-income populations, few studies have investigated the efficacy and/or acceptability of these programs for individuals of low socioeconomic status (Roth and Creaser, 1997; Kabat-Zinn et al., 2016).Mindfulness programs are now taught in more than 50 countries worldwide (Kabat-Zinn et al., 2016), including Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of Europe and the Americas (encompassed by the term “Latin” in this paper). Such Latin countries share obvious cultural influences and similarities—and during the implementation of mindfulness in these countries—Latin clinicians and researchers have observed that compared to non-Latin countries, there exist differences in how their patients learn and practice mindfulness (Demarzo et al., 2015). In this opinion paper, we briefly provide a preliminary conceptual framework for a culturally-syntonic approach to implementing mindfulness- and compassion-based (M and C) interventions in Latin societies. Furthermore, based on the authors' own clinical and teaching experiences, we offer recommendations for the effective teaching of M and C approaches in Latin countries.