Palliative caregiving, mindfulness, and the collaborative self

Bradbury, H. (2013). Collaborative Selflessness: Toward an Experiential Understanding of the Emergent “Responsive Self” in a Caregiving Context. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. Epub ahead of print, Oct 1; doi: 0.1177/0021886313502729

Abstract: This collaborative inquiry reports the impact of mindfulness meditation practice in a hospital’s palliative care setting. Designed as action research, the collaborative program invited participants to investigate and deepen the benefits of practice for themselves with others over the course of 12 weeks. Participants expressed surprise by how liberating it  to learn to notice and drop their self-centered thinking.

Theorizing these findings by bringing perspectives from  and psychological perspectives on Buddhism, an experience-near understanding of the self also emerged. The article reflection on how combination of action research and mindfulness is practical and useful to participants in the of caregiving as it reports many benefits to participants.

The article ends with a definition of self as “encompassing that which can be responded to,” which also contributes a practical and useful direction for reconceptualizing the self a more collaborative self.