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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Course

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program was originally developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the late 1970s by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. It is an eight-week, evidence-based, highly experiential course that is currently offered at more than 250 hospitals, universities, and clinical settings in the United States and around the world.

MBSR's primary aim is to develop skills that can be flexibly applied in everyday life to stress, pain, and illness. Through experiential learning and discussion during class, as well as through daily mindfulness practice at home, participants learn and refine a range of self-regulatory skills that involve finely tuned attention to thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.

The MBSR Program Involves:

  • A group Orientation session. Orientations are offered free of charge. The Orientation is required so that you can determine if the MBSR program is a good fit for you, once you have attended an orientation, it is good for any future class with CIM. Orientations are offered in person and virtually (on Zoom).
  • An eight-week program that meets once per week (on Zoom or In person) for 2.5-3 hours, consisting of:
    • Instruction and group practice of several formal mindfulness meditation practices: sitting meditation, body scanning, and mindful movement
    • Instruction and group practice of mindful hatha yoga, a series of gentle stretches and postures. Modifications and chair yoga are offered.
    • Discussion of the roles of stress, thoughts, and emotions as they may contribute to anxiety and distress, and chronic pain and illness.Daily Home Practice: meditation practice at home with the guidance of audio recordings (mp3)
    • A Retreat Day in the second half of the course.

Who Can Benefit From MBSR?

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, up to two-thirds of all office visits to family doctors are for stress-related symptoms. Depression and anxiety symptoms are often associated with chronic illness and chronic pain and should be addressed as part of the overall management of health problems. MBSR may help reduce medical symptoms and psychological distress as well as the need for clinical services.

Potential Health Benefits of MBSR

  • Reduced pain
  • Reduced medical symptoms
  • Improved immune system function
  • Improved mental health
  • Decreased stress hormones
  • Improved sleep

MBSR Research

Mindfulness meditation has been researched in conjunction with:

  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cancer quality of life
  • Heart disease and risks
  • Stress


MBSR courses are typically offered in the winter/early spring, summer, and fall.

Upcoming 8-week MBSR Courses

  • Monday Evenings (in person): September 16, 2024 – November 4, 2024
    Time: 6:00pm - 8:30pm ET
    Retreat day (in person)
    : Saturday, October 26, 2024, 9am – 4pm ET
    Teacher: Carol Greco, PhD & Kelly Beck, PhD
    Fee: $350
    Location: TBD (Center for Integrative Medicine or Shadyside Hospital)

  • Wednesday Evenings (virtual): September 18th, 2024 – November 6th, 2024
    Time: 6:00pm - 8:30pm ET
    Retreat day (virtual): Saturday, October 26, 2024, 9am – 4pm ET
    Teacher: Barbara Ivanko, LSW
    Fee: $350
    Location: Virtual

MBSR Registration

You may register for the MBSR course at an orientation session or via this MBSR registration link.

Payment is collected at orientation or prior to the first MBSR class.

Cost of MBSR course: $350

Orientation Schedule

Attendance at an orientation session is required for MBSR course registration.

Orientations are free of charge and held either via Zoom or in person.

Orientation attendance can be applied to registration in any future MBSR course at the Center for Integrative Medicine.

Orientation Dates

  • Thursday, August 15th - Barbara Ivanko - 6pm  virtual
  • Monday, August 19th - Carol Greco - 7pm – in person
  • Monday, September 9th - Kelly Beck - 6pm – in person

Email to register for an Orientation session to learn more:

Please provide your name, phone number, choice of Orientation date, and tentative MBSR course choice (online or in-person) by emailing

Continuing Education

Continuing education (CEU) credits (up to 20 Credits or 2.0 General CEUs) will be offered for nurses, psychologists, social workers, and licensed counselors through UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. There is a small fee for CEU credits.

MBSR Teachers

Orientation Sessions and MBSR Courses are led by Carol M. Greco, PhD, Barbara Ivanko, LCSW, and/or Kelly Beck, PhD.

Carol Greco, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Greco has practiced meditation for 26 years and is certified as an MBSR teacher by the UMass Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society and Brown University Center for Mindfulness. She has taught MBSR courses at the Center for Integrative Medicine at UPMC Shadyside since 2005. Dr. Greco is a member of the Mindfulness Teacher Training Alliance and the Global Mindfulness Collaborative, and is certified to provide the following professional training courses: MBSR Essentials, MBSR Intensive Practice and Teaching.

Barbara Ivanko has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for more than 20 years, and has been teaching MBSR since 2012. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Stony Brook University in 1994 and has a post-graduate certificate in East/West Psychology.

Kelly Beck, PhD, has practiced meditation for 10 years and is a qualified MBSR teacher who has completed all teacher-trainings at the UMass Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society. She has taught MBSR courses at the Center for Integrative Medicine since 2017.

Contact Us

UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine
Shadyside Place
Suite 310
580 S. Aiken Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

For general information or to schedule an appointment, call 412-623-3023.