New MBM Instructor teaches mindfulness in psychotherapy and daily life. Meet Donna Rockwell, PsyD

DonnaRockwell.Saybrook - New MBM Instructor teaches mindfulness in psychotherapy and daily life. Meet Donna Rockwell, PsyD


I take great joy in being a clinical psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher. There are many links between the capacity to “sit with oneself” as a prerequisite to being able to “sit with another,” something I consider one of the most important elements in psychotherapy, perhaps, even, its essence. “If the therapist can sit with him or herself, and tolerate arising emotion, then,” says the client, “maybe I can, too.”


With experience developed over 15 years in Shambhala International meditation training and the Harvard University Continuing Education Program in Meditation and Psychotherapy, I take pride in helping clinicians discover ways in which mindfulness meditation can contribute to well-being, self-care, and interpersonal presence in the therapy room. Through a grant from the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, I started The Mindfulness Initiative through which I designed and taught the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy curriculum in the Michigan School of Professional Psychology doctoral program, training graduate students in mindfulness-based theory and clinical practice. I am extremely excited to join the faculty at Saybrook University, College of Mind-Body Medicine, where I will be teaching Mindfulness Meditation and Health starting in August. I want to bring to this class my passion for meditation as a vehicle for cultivating authentic presence and greater awakened living for clinician and client, alike.

I am also a published researcher in the fields of mindfulness and its role in clinical psychology. At the end of May, I am presenting the findings of my recent study: Mindfulness in Doctoral Training in Psychology: Well-being, self-care, and interpersonal presence: A three-year study, at the Second International Conference on Existential Psychology in Shanghai, China. My other research area of interest, having spent my first career in television news, is in the psychology of fame and celebrity, presenting on both topics at annual meetings of the American Psychological Association, as well as other conferences.

I have been fortunate to be invited each year to teach the popular Mindful-Awareness Stress Reduction classes for breast cancer survivors, doctors, nurses and staff at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. Through my grasp of stress-reduction techniques and understanding the Eastern wisdom traditions from which they come, my teaching style makes somewhat complex ideas accessible and down to earth. Meditation is applicable in profound ways to success in contemporary daily living and the enrichment of interpersonal relationships. Dedication to mindfulness practices has the potential to contribute to greater emotional resilience, wellbeing, contentment, and inner peace and resolve.

I am a clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City and Farmington Hills, Michigan, working with individuals, couples, and adolescents. My specialty is stress reduction, mindfulness, and humanistic methods in the treatment of mental suffering, and personal growth and development, emphasizing the self-actualizing tendency in everyone. I am honored to be a Member-at-large on the Board of the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32), and a member of Division 32’s Open Letter Committee, challenging controversial proposals in the upcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, DSM-5.

Past careers include being a TV journalist covering Capitol Hill, the White House, and national politics for CNN and WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., after which I spent more than a decade in my favorite job as a stay-at-home Mom to two great sons. Keeping my hand in journalism, I write for Detroit’s Ambassador Magazine, in my lifestyle and psychology column: Being & Becoming. I also sit on the editorial boards of The Humanistic Psychologist and the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, and am a regular contributor on Saybrook’s website, where you can find my blogs on mindfulness meditation, my journey to China, critical issues in the proposed DSM-5, and the dangers of fame and celebrity.

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