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The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022
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Clinical psychology doctoral students to lead free mindfulness group

Clinical+psychology+doctoral+students+to+lead+free+mindfulness+group
Carly Ramos

The UT Psychology Training Clinic is offering a free mindfulness group this semester led by clinical psychology doctoral students. 

Abby deSteiguer, clinical psychology doctoral student and co-leader of the mindfulness group, said the practice of mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment and experiencing everyday life in a non-judgmental way.

“Mindfulness enhances coping with distress and some of these mental health symptoms in everyday life and also improves mental health, improves physical health, and just has a lot of really fantastic benefits for people that regularly practice mindfulness,” deSteiguer said.


Participants in the mindfulness group will undergo an initial assessment with a clinician and attend mandatory weekly in-person mindfulness group sessions for eight weeks starting Sept. 25, deSteiguer said. 

“These weekly sessions that we have, it’s been adapted from a (cognitive behavioral therapy) based mindfulness skills training program,” said Jacky Duong, clinical psychology doctoral student and co-leader of the mindfulness group. “We have these questionnaires that our patients will use and then track to be able to track things like self-awareness levels, self-criticism levels, self-judgment levels, so they can see how it shifts weekly.”

Duong said she thinks it’s going to be helpful for clients to be surrounded by people with similar mindsets in the mindfulness group sessions.

“For you to be with other like-minded individuals, you’ll learn that you’re not alone,” Duong said. “We all basically are on our little islands, but the struggle is the same and the outcomes that we want are probably really shared and similar.” 

Duong said she hopes the sessions will enhance participants’ skills in mindfulness and help them apply the practice throughout their lives.

“I’m really looking forward to engaging with the clients and the students that have joined,” Duong said. “Just on initial intake, the people that we’ve talked to, learning about why they reached out, what their goals are and what they’re hoping to get out of it. It’s so exciting because I feel like it’s going to be so beneficial.”

After this semester’s pilot group, the clinic plans to offer low-cost groups each semester, deSteiguer said. 

“The hope is to provide low-cost services for people,” deSteiguer said. “Typically, therapy is quite a bit more expensive than that. We want to provide services for people and help people learn some of these skills that can help them in their lives, reduce whatever struggles they’re experiencing.”

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