It Starts with the Breath | Development & Implementation of an Ongoing Weekly Mindfulness Group at the VA

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June 24, 2022 13:00 - 16:00


CEUs Available: 3

Trainer: Hang Ruan, LICSW

Mr. Hang Ruan, LICSW, developed the Mindfulness Training Program, which provides individual and group mindfulness training to Veterans throughout VA Integrated Service Network 20 (WA, OR, ID, AK). He also provides mindfulness training to clinicians and teaches mindfulness as a part of VA employee wellness. Mr. Ruan develops mindfulness videos for the official VHA YouTube channel. A certified meditation teacher with 20 years of formal Zen training, Mr. Ruan serves as a senior dharma teacher in the international Kwan Um School of Zen. Trained in a wide range of mindfulness-based interventions, Mr. Ruan utilizes an integrative approach that supports the application of mindfulness in various contexts. He has taught meditation in a variety of settings, including maximum-security prisons, inpatient wards, outpatient clinics, patient health fairs, community mental health centers, universities, schools, leadership workshops, seminaries, and Zen centers. He is the Founder and Chair of the nationwide interdisciplinary Mindfulness Consultation Group.

Description of the Training: Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can benefit a wide range of clinical issues and concerns, including mental health disorders and medical conditions. There are numerous mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) that are time-limited and teach the basics of mindfulness. However, there are limited MBIs that address the barriers and challenges of ongoing mindfulness training, which is crucial to maintaining the previous gains and further development of mindfulness skills. 

This presentation will discuss the development and implementation of a long-term, ongoing weekly mindfulness group at the VA. This mindfulness protocol was developed by the presenter and has been implemented at the VA continuously since 2012. This Mindfulness Training Program has been expanded into other clinics and across state lines, utilizing this protocol in both group and individual sessions. 

The Buddhist roots, treatment protocols, and therapeutic aims of this mindfulness treatment model will be reviewed, as well as recent innovations and expansions. Participants will experience the mindfulness group through direct participation in a typical group, including hands-on guided mindfulness exercises and discussions/reflections.

The workshop will begin with a didactic covering the topics above, followed by a 60-minute experiential mindfulness group, which will consist of check-in, open discussion, and three sets of guided mindfulness exercises with discussions/Q&A between each set. After the conclusion of the 60-minute experiential mindfulness group, there will be an opportunity for reflections, questions, and discussions about the workshop as a whole.

Veterans benefit from mindfulness training, whether in the context of mental health care, chronic pain treatment, SUD treatment, other specialty care environments (diabetes, cancer survivorship, etc). It is important to be familiar with mindfulness so that we can support Veterans by providing mindfulness therapy or making referrals to mindfulness therapists as needed.


1.     Review fundamentals of mindfulness technique

2.     Discuss origin/roots of mindfulness

3.     Review various mindfulness-based modalities

4.     Explore common challenges in mindfulness training

5.     Provide experiential learning of mindfulness meditation

Event Status



Online only

Contact Information

Tom Hove, VTSC, WDVA