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Mindfulness for ADHD :: Training For Adults, Parents and Professionals
August 7-10, 2014 / Petaluma, CA
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February 27-March 1, 2015 / San Diego, CA
Reading Materials
Guided Audio

Mindfulness for ADHD: Training for Adults, Parents and Professionals

Faculty: Lidia Zylowska, MD and Gloria Kamler, MA

August 7-10, 2014 • EarthRise Retreat Center, Petaluma, CA

Parallel Programs for Professionals and the General Public

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

–Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a developmental learning disability that affects close to 10% of children and % 5 of adults in the U.S. Those with ADHD struggle managing their focus, restlessness, impulsive emotions, procrastination, disorganization and time management. These difficulties can lead to difficulties in school or work, feeling overwhelmed and self-doubt. Overall, ADHD interferes with a person’s ability to self-regulate attention, emotions and actions, and tools to improve such skills are needed. Parenting stress and conflicts in relationships are also common and there is also a need to support parents or spouses of those with ADHD.

The Mindfulness for ADHD course is an intensive retreat version of the 8-week Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) for ADHD training. This training, based on MBSR and MBCT models, adapts mindfulness practice to ADHD, making it relevant and gradual for those struggling with learning differences and significant inattention or restlessness. The training was developed at UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center and further elaborated in the “Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD” book. Available research with adults, teens and children with ADHD shows improvements in ADHD symptoms, anxiety, depression or selected cognitive measures.

This joint training (i.e. general public and professionals learning about ADHD and experiencing mindfulness together) offers a unique opportunity to see ADHD symptoms as a variant on a spectrum of common human experience. The training will honor the unique learning differences those with ADHD face as well as draw parallels to universal human struggles. The training exemplifies the common need for ADHD education, mindful attunement and inquiry for those with ADHD and those who live or work with ADHD. This training will support and deepen each participant’s personal meditation practice and help incorporate mindfulness into successful living with ADHD.

ADHD professionals seeking CE or CUE credits will attend an additional half day of training focused on clinical strategies and tips for adapting the training to their clients’ needs. Each professional will receive a copy of the Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD book which describes a step-wise approach that can be used with individuals and groups and is adaptable to adults, parents, children or teens affected by ADHD.

Lidia Zylowska, MD is psychiatrist specializing in adult ADD/ADHD, mindfulness-based approaches and integrative psychiatry. Co-founding member of UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, Dr. Zylowska led the development of the MAPs for ADHD program and authored the award-winning book The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD.

Gloria Kamler, MA is a holistic practitioner who has been teaching mindfulness in the Los Angeles area and internationally for the past twenty years and has taught MBSR programs in research studies at UCLA. Ms. Kamler currently serves as a faculty/mindfulness instructor at the UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) where she teaches MAPs for Daily Living course.


At the completion of this activity, the participants will be able to:

  • Explain the impact of ADHD across lifespan, understanding the diverse ways ADHD can impact self-awareness and self-regulation skills.
  • Describe the MAPs for ADHD 8-step, gradual sequence that introduces mindfulness practices into one’s life with ADHD
  • Develop or deepen their own mindfulness and self-compassion practice skills
  • (Professionals only): Describe the characteristics of working with ADHD individuals and list strategies of adapting mindfulness-based strategies to individual needs.

Target Audience

This intensive experiential program is intended for the members of the general public (adults who diagnosed or suspecting ADHD, their spouses or parents of ADHD children) as well as the professionals wishing to incorporate mindfulness into their work with ADHD individuals and families. The program is targeted for professionals that are mental health clinicians (psychologist, physicians, nurses, social workers and other therapists) and ADHD coaches. In addition, organizational professionals, learning disability specialists, HR personnel or teachers can attend to learn more about ADHD and to experience a gradual introduction to mindfulness. Participating in this Mindfulness for ADHD training satisfies a prerequisite to become a MAPs for ADHD teacher (teacher training will be offered via UCSD Center for Mindfulness in 2015).    


The training will be led by Lidia Zylowska M.D., the developer of Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs for ADHD) program and an ADHD clinician, and Ms. Gloria Kamler, MS, a long-time mindfulness teacher and UCLA MARC faculty. The program activities include ADHD education, ‘playing with attention’ exercises, sitting meditation, mindful walking and movement, mindfulness of daily activities, self-compassion, silent reflection and group discussions. Participants will practice self-acceptance and develop mindful self-coaching strategies. The goal is to provide a structured and supportive introduction to mindful awareness and to empower participants with compassionate and skillful ways to manage ADHD. 

Participant Guidelines

The Mindfulness for ADHD course is designed to be both and introduction to mindfulness skills and a journey of self-discovery. The training will encourage careful attunement to each participants experience and it is an invitation for self-acceptance and self-compassion. While mindfulness training is often relaxing and comforting, at times the practice can provoke uncomfortable sensations or feelings. Such feelings can range from inner restlessness to difficult emotions that may have been previously hidden. The instructors are committed to providing an environment of respect, safety, support, privacy, individual responsibility and compassion. 

In preparation for the course, it is recommended, but not required, that participant read the “Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD” by Lidia Zylowska M.D.

Retreat Setting and Accommodations

The retreat setting is intentional to facilitate experiential mindfulness practice while reducing outside distractions. The setting creates a simple, safe holding environment that facilitates experiential learning and allows the unfolding of the work. Single and double accommodations are clean and pleasant but minimalistic to encourage focused attention to the work itself. Meals are available, prepared with the intention to be healthful and sensitive to the dietary needs of the participants. Breaks will be provided to allow participants to hike and explore the surrounding environment and draw on nature as a way to support their mindfulness practice and self-care.

Needs Assessment

The mainstay of ADHD treatment is medication such as stimulants; however, many parents of children with ADHD and/or affected adults desire approaches that can minimize medications or provide additional ways to thrive with ADHD. As living with ADHD is often stressful for the entire family, approaches supporting family members are also needed. Among available options, mindfulness meditation is increasingly recognized as a way to train attention, develop emotional balance, and improve overall psychological well-being in families affected by ADHD. There is an increasing interest from ADHD adults, parents, clinicians, researchers and other professionals in mindfulness-based strategies for ADHD. To help meet that need, this mindfulness training is being offered through the UCSD Center for Mindfulness.

UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness    •   5060 Shoreham Place, Suite 200    •   San Diego, CA 92122-0980
 Phone: (858) 334-4631    •   Fax: (858) 334-4601    •   E-mail:     •   Website:

Content is subject to change without notice. Please refer to the activity website for the most current information.
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