Mindfulness the Focus of NCCA Fall Education Day

Mindfulness in chaplaincy was the theme of the North Carolina Chaplains’ Association fall education day Oct. 12, 2017 at Caraway Conference Center in Sophia, NC. Eighty-five chaplains, chaplain educators, and students gathered from across the state to glean and hone techniques shared by Bobby Newell, a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Durham. Newell specializes in mindfulness practices with her clients, and her topics at the chaplain’s meeting included “Mindfulness based interventions,” “How to use mindfulness based interventions,” and “Compassion Fatigue.”

Among the definitions for mindfulness, Newell included the following:

  • Intentionally living with awareness of the present in the moment.
  • Paying attention on purpose, without judging or rejecting the moment, but also without attachment to the moment.

Newell reminded the group that mindfulness fights memory loss, reduces anxiety and reduces the effects of PTSD. She also used pictures of brainwave synchronization with and without meditation to show that meditation produces a more integrated system, optimizing mental and emotional health.

The education day also featured opportunities for participants to practice mindfulness meditation, and to share their own experiences incorporating mindfulness techniques into their chaplaincy. During the final session on compassion fatigue, Newell recommended caregivers develop their own emergency self-care kit. Newell shared a sample of what one might look like.

During a brief business session, the association elected Chelsy Mitchell, chaplain at Novant Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, as its new secretary, replacing the outgoing Patricia Cadle, oncology chaplain at UNC hospitals. Chaplains also had opportunities to socialize, network, and play together.

NCCA will meet again May 2-4, 2018 at Camp Dogwood in Sherrill’s Ford, NC, where education will focus on advanced chaplaincy skills.


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