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An Interview with Lidia Zylowska, M.D., on Mindfulness and ADHD

David Van Nuys, Ph.D. Updated: Jul 1st 2010

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Lidia Zylowska, M.D.Dr. Zylowska, a UCLA-affiliated psychiatrist with a private practice in West Los Angeles, discusses mindfulness practice as a clinical intervention for adult ADHD. She describes mindfulness as the cultivation of heightened awareness, and points out that this can occur for anyone as a spontaneous state of mind, but that it can also be cultivated through regular practice of various forms of meditation so that a person's experience of mindfulness becomes more frequent and trait-like. She describes the history of mindfulness practice as a psychotherapy intervention, noting that Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program was the first application, followed on by Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Both intervention protcols involve an eight week training period. In her own pilot research she has adapted mindfulness practices from the MBSR model for use treating adults and teens diagnosed with ADHD. Modifications including making practice sessions shorter, and encouraging walking meditation as opposed to sitting meditation. Her results, published in the Journal of Attention Disorders in 2007, showed that patients generally liked the intervention and that their ability to sustain attention under distracting circumstances was improved at the conclusion of mindfulness training. Together with Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., she has co-authored a CD of mindfulness practices for ADHD. The summary of the exercises used in the research study is available for download from her website.

David Van Nuys: Welcome to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by, covering topics in mental health, wellness, and psychotherapy. My name is Dr. David Van Nuys. I'm a clinical psychologist and your host.

On today's show, we'll be talking with Dr. Lidia Zylowska about the use of mindfulness based interventions in the treatment of adult ADHD. Lidia Zylowska, M.D., is a board certified psychiatrist trained at UCLA who focuses on mindfulness based interventions and adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. Dr. Zylowska is one of the co-founders and faculty at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, a center promoting mindfulness education to the general public. She developed the Center's mindful awareness program for ADHD, a meditation based training in self-regulation. Dr. Zylowska frequently lectures on mindfulness based treatments and ADHD and consults on mindfulness related projects. Actively involved in clinical work, Dr. Zylowska has a private practice in West Los Angeles, where she sees many adults with ADHD and uses mindfulness in her treatment.

Now, here's the interview.

Dr. Lidia Zylowska, welcome to Wise Counsel.

Lidia Zylowska: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.

David: Yes, well, I'm glad to have you on. Let's get started with a bit about your background. When did you realize you wanted to become a psychiatrist?

Lidia Zylowska: Oh, you know I went into medical school not quite knowing what specialty I would pick, so I suppose I had an open mind to trying different things. But I found psychiatry very satisfying that it combined the biological knowledge and also the knowledge of psychology and also things that come from liberal sciences and arts and just this question of what makes us human, which human behavior was always fascinating to me. So I picked that.

David: Did you always want to go to medical school? How did that develop?

Lidia Zylowska: I had a quite unusual upbringing. I grew up in Poland and I lived in a small village, and my parents were friends with the village doctor, so in that way, I, as a kid, proclaimed that I wanted to go to medical school. And my parents really loved that idea, and it sort of stuck with me. And I tried to rebel against the idea in college, tried different things, studying different things, but did end up doing premedical courses and going to medical school. And now I'm very glad to have done that choice.

David: Yes. Now, how old were you when you came to this country?

Lidia Zylowska: I moved to the US as a teenager, during high school. I was 14.

David: Wow. So that must have been quite a transition, I would guess. I have not been to Poland, although I am going to the Czech Republic later this month. I'm going to go to Prague, which will be my first trip actually to Eastern Europe.

Lidia Zylowska: Yes, Prague's beautiful.

David: Coming from a little village, though, to the hustle and bustle of this country, that sounds like quite a transition.

Lidia Zylowska: It was quite a transition. I think, being a teenager, it's a time when you're trying to figure out your identity, who you are, so actually it was interesting time to come. I think in a way it made me more I would say mindful, in the sense that I had experience of two different cultures.

David: Definitely.

Lidia Zylowska: So I could see how one culture would look at things, or things I grew up with and took for granted, I could no longer take it for granted. Things were different or how people would approach situations was different. So it made me, I think, a little bit more flexible in my thinking of how things are or how they should be, and be able to look at things from different perspectives.

David: Yes, I can really understand that. Now, you use the word mindful, and of course that's a good segue into our topic because that's been an area in which you've done research and you're practicing. How did you get interested in mindfulness in the first place?

Lidia Zylowska: My interest into mindfulness was through my initial interest in integrative medicine. As a resident at UCLA, I had an opportunity to do a rotation at the Center for East-West Medicine. It's a clinic that combines Chinese medicine and Western medicine and is very interested in the interaction of mind and body. So, by being in that clinic, I was very curious in how physical symptoms can be influenced by psychological factors and vice versa. And I spent a year in that clinic. I took a year off from my residency training, spent a year in that clinic, and then when I came back to continue my psychiatry training, I wanted to incorporate some of the things I've learned into psychiatry practice, and I thought mindfulness was a great way to practice more of a mind-body framework with my patients.

David: So it's not that you had, for example, been a meditator first and then moved into getting interested in research in that area, but more just exposure through this clinic that you're talking about.

Lidia Zylowska: Yes, it was somewhat unusual entry because I know a lot of people, particularly in psychotherapy world or psychiatry world, are first meditators in their private life, and then they incorporate that into their work. For me, it was a little opposite. I learn about the research that was done already with MBSR and, at the time when I was becoming interested in mindfulness, already then mindfulness based cognitive therapy for depression was developed, and I learn about that and became very interested in other programs that are mindfulness based, and reading about research. And through that, I wanted to experience mindfulness practice and ended up taking training through the University of Massachusetts MBSR program and continued the practice here locally through some of the groups that are here.

So I've experienced mindfulness practice, and I think it's the only way you can really know what mindfulness is, by doing it in your own life and practicing it and having that experiential knowledge. But initially I was interested in the research and what was happening already in the psychotherapy world with mindfulness.

David: Well, I think that's an interesting entry into it because, as you point out, so many people are first interested in meditation and then maybe get involved later on in doing some research to try to maybe confirm some of the things that they've learned or experienced and try to put it on a more scientific footing. But I think it's important that there be people who come at it from the path that you came, which is to come at it first with your interest in science and in healing, with no preconception, nothing to prove, and then you discover this tool and you learn about it and so, you know, it's a different path, but I think it's a good one.

Lidia Zylowska: Yes, I think actually that entry path is becoming more and more common and it's, in a way, a sign of times that mindfulness has become a pretty common topic in psychology, and a lot of trainees are now emailing me or contacting me who are doing their dissertation projects on mindfulness based therapies, or they're very interested in this work and then don't necessarily have prior mindfulness experience.

David: I think that's fascinating and it even makes me wonder a little bit whether or not this is a fad. I hesitate a little bit to put it in those terms, but it has become so current, they're so many books about it now, so many people that are talking about mindfulness, that it just kind of raises that question.

Lidia Zylowska: Sure. That's a good question. I think the word mindfulness is used a lot. I might be biased in this regard because I am very invested in mindfulness world, but I think mindfulness is here to stay, and in good part it's because it works, it's effective. It's helpful to many patients and clinicians. But I think how often the word is used is somewhat - it's used, in a way, to maybe attract attention, or it's a popular word to use in different settings, and sometimes it's - I think there's a lot of approaches that are a lot like mindfulness or there's an overlap with mindfulness and those approaches use different language. And it would be good to maybe look at the similarities between what is now called mindfulness based and what are maybe more traditional ways of psychotherapy and not create a lot of mindfulness based things that look a lot like previous things without the direct connections between the different approaches.

David: Yes, this might be a good place for us to have you define what you mean as you're saying mindfulness, because we've gotten into the discussion here as if everybody understands what we're talking about. Probably many people do, but there might be some listeners for whom this is new, so give us your sense of what's intended by mindfulness.

Lidia Zylowska: Sure. Mindfulness is actually a tricky word to define because it is used in many different contexts, and it means different things depending on the context or how someone uses it. And traditionally or in the literature now it's recognized that mindfulness can be a state, a mental state; it could be a trait or characteristic of a person.

David: Interesting.

Lidia Zylowska: Right. It could be a training or it could be an outcome of the training. So when we say mindfulness, we could mean a mindful awareness state or a state of mindfulness that we can adopt for a short period of time, and that can happen spontaneously. And I think I like that definition in many ways because it emphasizes that mindfulness or mindful awareness is a universal capacity of the mind; that we all can have that transient mindful state when we're aware of what's going on in the present moment. That can happen when something grabs our attention, something is novel, maybe startling. Sometimes when we need to pay extra attention, be very careful about stepping on stones, for example, when we're crossing a river and you really have to be careful what you're doing. You become much more aware of your movement and the surrounding.

So spontaneously we can have that mindful awareness state. However, that's hard to maintain, and so that's why we have trainings or we talk about mindfulness as something that is cultivated or developed or supported over time. So if a person develops that quality of mindfulness and uses it a lot, almost in a eventually habitual way - that they become more mindful in situations that come up for them - then we talk about mindfulness trait.

There are now questionnaires or measurements that look at odds of that. You know, you can take a group of people and measure their - how mindful they are based on this trait. And you can find that in a group of let's say students or a group of adults, you'll see a distribution. Some people score low on the mindfulness trait and some people will score highly on the mindfulness traits. And that doesn't mean that that they had a lot of mindfulness meditation practice. You can find that there is a difference or a different distribution of mindfulness trait in the population in general.

And it's an interesting question of what makes somebody more mindful on that sort of questionnaire or less mindful. Does it have to do with their temperament? Does it have to do with their prior life experiences? Does it have to do with a history of meditation practice or maybe other practices that engender mindfulness? Like some people have connected yoga practice, art, being a creative person, to being more mindful. That hasn't been well studied, but there is a thinking that there are multiple pathways that can lead to increase mindfulness traits.

And then more commonly now, specifically in psychotherapy world, we think of mindfulness as a training, as a meditation based training that happens over a certain period of weeks, has a certain structure. A lot of the mindfulness based trainings are eight weeks long. They're modeled after the prototype of mindfulness training in clinical practice, namely MBSR or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program.

David: This was developed by on Jon Kabat-Zinn? Is that right?

Lidia Zylowska: That was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, yes. And it's been a very influential model of mindfulness training in clinical practice because it was the very first one and very effective, and first research was very much centered around MBSR training. And then the second I think most popular training now, called MBCT or Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for depression, is very much based on MBSR. There are some differences in how it's structured or taught, but it's quite similar. So that's a powerful model, the eight week model of coming together in a group, learning new practices, having at-home practice that's usually done daily or most days of the week, and then sometimes as part of that practice there's a half-day or full-day retreat.

David: Now, there's a dimension that you haven't mentioned here, that I'm under the impression in the case of mindfulness mediation is that it's bringing awareness to not just to the present, but to the contents of one's thinking, one's thoughts, in a non-judgmental way. Can you say something about that?

Lidia Zylowska: Right, sure. So when I think of mindfulness, whether it's a state or a trait or a training, there are these core principles that are important to engender mindfulness. And one has to do with what happens to attention: so bringing attention to the present moment. And that can be applied to things that are happening in the present moment inside of us or things that are happening in the present moment outside of us. And then doing that observation with a specific attitude: so attitude of openness, curiosity, non-judgment, being open to the experience. So having those two core principles - attention to the present moment and attitude of openness or being non-judgmental - and applying it to, as you mention, either things that are happening inside of us or things outside of us.

When applied to things inside of us - namely thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and also observing our actions - we can develop greater self-awareness and, with that, also greater ability to self-regulate. And that's very important for psychological conditions or even physical conditions: learning how to deal with the suffering that can come from our thoughts or our feelings of what we do.

David: You referred to work that's been done in the area of depression, and you've kind of extended it into a different and a new area, and I'm referring to research that you did in 2007 where you published a study titled "Mindfulness Meditation Training in Adults and Adolescents with ADHD." And that article appeared in the Journal of Attention Disorders. Before you describe that study, just let me ask you what made you think this might be a good approach? On the face of it, these would seem to be contradictory ideas, that you could teach people who supposedly can't pay attention to pay attention.

Lidia Zylowska: Right, sure. It was a fairly unusual idea, but when you really delve into what is mindfulness and what is ADHD, it becomes more apparent that it's a good fit. ADHD in many ways is called a disorder of self-regulation, and even though we emphasize the fact that it's attention deficit, it's much more problem with attention regulation. Also, emotional regulation may be a problem, and then also self-direction or behavior can be difficult, with impulsivity and behaviors that one may do impulsively. But if you think of mindfulness as a self-regulation tool, then it makes sense to apply it to ADHD.

Also on these different levels, helping someone to develop awareness and directing and subdirecting of attention can be helpful to someone who has trouble with attention. So it's this rehabilitation model, that if you have a weakness in a certain area, if you practice or exercise that area that you can actually strengthen it. So in ADHD you have difficulty with attention, and then mindfulness being a way of observing and directing attention, putting those two together makes sense.

David: It does make sense the way you describe it.

Lidia Zylowska: Yes. And it is true though, too, that when you think of hyperactivity aspect of ADHD, sitting still seems like a contradiction.

David: Yes.

Lidia Zylowska: Why would you want someone to be sitting still?

David: Yes, right.

Lidia Zylowska: Right, and create a sort of a torture for them in asking them to sit and not move. But if you think of mindfulness as more of a daily practice or a state that you can train to bring in in the midst of your daily life, I think that aspect of mindfulness can be very helpful for someone with ADHD; that it's actually that's where the action is. That's where a lot of ADHD things or patterns come up. When you're doing a task, when you're talking to someone, when you're at work, when you're at school and trying to do something, that's where the ADHD obstacles come up, and so it's important to be able to bring mindfulness in the midst of that.

David: Well, give us an example of what you're talking about, how some kind of ADHD obstacle would come up in life and then how mindfulness would be brought to bear on that.

Lidia Zylowska: A common symptom in ADHD is interrupting in conversations, so if you look at the DSM-IV criteria, it's actually one of the items that you check off to say, oh, this is a typical symptom of ADHD. And it's really a manifestation of impulsivity, that someone is listening to a conversation yet has this urge to interject or interrupt. And that can be a problem in relationships; it can become an issue in work relationships or personal relationships. So part of mindfulness training is - and it's connected with education about ADHD - is to develop more awareness that interrupting is common with ADHD; not be judgmental about it, but have curiosity: how is this pattern coming up for me in my daily life?

So try to be aware of, in the present moment, when the impulse to interrupt comes up and then see what happens. At the beginning, of course, often you're just noticing yourself interrupting and it's just noticing after the fact. But with mindfulness, we train awareness of these subtle shifts within us, including the impulse that is arising to interrupt, and with greater awareness of that process, of how the impulse can then lead to an actual behavior of interrupting, you have the opportunity to interrupt that process and to withhold the response and self-manage the impulsivity a little differently.

David: Well, that's a great example and I think I interrupted you to get that question in there.

Lidia Zylowska: You know, the thing is with ADHD, all these behaviors we all do.

David: Oh, good.

Lidia Zylowska: And so there's always this common question I get with working with adults with ADHD. They will say, "Well, I interrupt, but doesn't everybody?" And it's true; everybody interrupts. We all have moments of an impulse and acting on it, but with ADHD, what really makes it a disorder or really a disruption in someone's life is how often it happens and how difficult it is to either be aware of it or to regulate it. So there's that need, even more so, for mindfulness or mindful awareness as a very purposeful training for ADHD.

David: Well, tell us about your study, the one that we referred to in 2007. What was the experimental setup, the number of subjects and so on?

Lidia Zylowska: Sure. So, our study was conducted through the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, and we had a group of adults with ADHD and older teens with ADHD. The group with adults was 24 adults, and we had a smaller group of adolescents - it was only 8 adolescents - and the adolescents were ages 15 through 18. So what we wanted to do in this study is to take these two groups and have them go through eight week training of mindfulness. And the training was very much modeled after MBSR or MBCT trainings, so it was eight week program, a group program, so the training was done with a group of participants interacting and having a chance to talk to each other and share experiences.

We did have some modifications to the training that were specific for ADHD. We wanted the training to be, in a way, ADHD friendly. So the training was done - it was the same training, but it was delivered in two separate groups: so one group was adolescents only, and then one group was adults only. And the training was modified in several ways. We wanted to have the formal practice or the sitting practice to be much shorter than what it usually is in MBSR or MBCT programs, so instead of 45 minutes or half an hour sitting periods, we started with 5 minutes.

David: Yes, that makes sense with this population, I would think.

Lidia Zylowska: Right. So we really wanted the participants with ADHD to have a sense of kind of experience of sitting quietly, but knowing that it may be difficult, and start with something that's gradual - five minutes. And then we would increase that to 10 minutes and then 15 minutes at the end of the eight weeks. We always encouraged people to sit longer if they wanted to and, at the same time, also sit shorter if they needed to.

And we also encouraged walking meditation practice as an alternative to sitting, so if, at any point, you felt that it was too much sitting down, you can transition to walking mindfulness. If your listeners are not familiar with walking mindfulness, it's a practice of slowly walking and paying attention to the movement of feet touching the ground. So instead of sitting and bringing attention to the breath, which is often done in sitting practice, here you're walking and bringing attention to the movement or the sensation of feet on the ground. So it actually can relieve the restlessness; that you're moving, yet you're still focused, you're still staying present and also returning your attention to the present by coming back to your movement or your feet when attention wanders off.

So we emphasize the walking meditation practice as an option. We also had loving kindness meditation as part of the training, and that's a practice of wishing yourself and also people in your life, people that you care about or people that you may have difficult time with - it's imagining sending them good wishes of good health, good fortune, or just an intention of well-being for them. And it's also not hard practice for people with ADHD because it's very common in ADHD to have low self-esteem or not always feel good about yourself. So actually a practice in which you start with wishing yourself good wishes or trying to engender loving kindness, compassion or kind of this nurturing attitude towards yourself can be very hard. And at the same time, it's very needed, so we wanted to make sure that we had that practice as part of our training at each session.

David: Well, also you emphasize that you were having them send those good wishes to others, and I think that's interesting because it shifts the focus from one's self and one's problems and so on and shifts it away from that into compassion for other people.

Lidia Zylowska: Yes, and I think that's an important point in mindfulness practice. Sometimes I hear criticism from people saying that it can be self-absorbing practice, that you're just focusing on what's happening inside and it can be somewhat of a narcissistic practice.

David: Right.

Lidia Zylowska: But I think that's not the true spirit of mindfulness practice. In mindfulness practice, you often start with noticing with what's happening inside because once you can understand what's happening and develop greater self compassion towards yourself, you then have the ability to extend it out, and often that's a natural movement to extend it out. But there's also practices like loving kindness in which you learn to extend compassion or caring towards others and, even if it's not easy, to keep practicing that.

And also with mindful communication practice, another practice focused on interactions or how you are in communicating with another person, I think this is another example of extending mindfulness out, learning to be present with another person, listening to them, being a non-judgmental presence that's very - that's often a gift to the other person.

David: Yes. Well, you did this as a research study. What were the findings?

Lidia Zylowska: In our study we focused on two kinds of findings. One set of findings was to say is this feasible: is this possible to give this kind of a training to adults and teens of ADHD and keep them in this training? So we looked at things like attrition; we looked at attendance; we looked at the amount of practice that everybody did and also their satisfaction after the training.

And what we found is that, in terms of feasibility, our participants did quite well. Most of them came to the sessions, and we had an average attendance of six out of eight sessions. And most people were rating the training highly; one was high satisfaction rates. And we had differences in how much people did the home practice, but we had a pretty good amount of practice, both with adults and teens. Teens did a little bit less than adults, but it was a good number of practice that was self-reported. So from the feasibility point of view, it was a positive result.

And then we also looked at outcomes that are more clinical outcomes or more typical outcomes in an ADHD study, such as ADHD symptoms, measures of attention and executive function, and also measures of so-called comorbid conditions like anxiety symptoms or depression, and also we looked at stress. Since mindfulness is a good approach for stress reduction, we wanted to look at that as well. And we found that after the training we had significant reduction ADHD symptoms, symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as stress.

And then we looked at the more objective measures. Since the other measures were self-reported measures, we wanted to also have other measures of outcome, and they were measures of attention. We used a computer test of attention called ANT or Attention Network Test that looks at three aspects of attention: orienting, alerting, and conflict attention. These are different aspects of attention. For example, orienting is when you move your attention from one thing to another. Alerting is just readiness to attend, and conflict attention is when you're paying attention to an object when the other conditions there are distracting.

And we found that the conflict attention measure improved significantly after the training. We didn't find changes in the other two aspects, but the conflict attention was significant improved. And similarly in other measures of ability to inhibit or shift attention, we found improvements after the training as well, so the results suggest that the ability to inhibit - or sometimes we say set shifting - our ability to pay attention during distracting conditions, improved after the eight weeks.

So this was a very promising result. We were excited about that result. It was a study that was a pilot study. We didn't have a control group, so I want to mention that, just to keep in mind that this needs to be repeated and replicated. But it was a very positive -

David: I was going to ask if there was a control group, but you say there wasn't.

Lidia Zylowska: Yes, there wasn't. No, we focused our attention initially on modifying the training and then looking at the questions of feasibility and these initial outcomes, clinical outcomes. So certainly like any pilot study, it has to be replicated in a controlled way, and I know the other groups that are interested in doing this kind of research and replicating the study.

David: So that's ongoing then, that there are other groups that are getting similar research off the ground?

Lidia Zylowska: Yes. There are other groups. There's a group at UPenn with Dr. Amishi Jha very interested in the work with ADHD and mindfulness. And then, also, groups actually in other countries. There's a group in Australia that has contacted us, and a group in Spain. So it's very interesting to see that people are really thinking about this approach for ADHD now without raising the eyebrow and saying, "Hmm, is this a good approach for ADHD?" I think there's a lot of - it's quite opposite; there's a lot of interest in applying it, because I think people are seeing the connections between mindfulness and the difficulties in ADHD.

David: Oh, that's great. You mentioned mindfulness being used with stress reduction, and that reminds me that, oh, maybe about a year ago, I interviewed Elisha Goldstein, and I understand that you've had some contact with him.

Lidia Zylowska: Yes.

David: I interviewed him about his work on mindfulness in stress reduction.

Lidia Zylowska: Yes. Well, Elisha and I have collaborated on a couple of projects. He now lives here in L.A., and so that's been really great to have him as part of the mindfulness community here. And we collaborated on putting together a CD of mindfulness training for ADHD adults. The CD was based on my research work and also my clinical work with many adults with ADHD, and it's now available for those who want to know a little bit more how our training was done in the study.

And then Elisha and I are now wanting to create more of a community for clinicians in L.A. interested in mindfulness based approaches, and we're in the process of creating a Center of Mindfulness for Psychotherapy and Psychiatry. And we wanted to keep the psychotherapy and psychiatry in the name because we wanted to engender more collaboration and discussion between profession of psychiatry and psychotherapy, because I think that's still quite needed to have mindfulness go into those two fields as much - you know, equally. I think there's much more happening in psychotherapy world. Psychiatrists are not as involved or as interested in the role of mindfulness, and I'd like to see more of that.

David: How would a - if there are any listeners who either suffer from ADHD or have family members who do, so they might be interested in that CD that you were talking about. How would they find that?

Lidia Zylowska: They can find that through, so the usual place for books and CDs, just by going there and looking up mindfulness for ADHD.

David: Oh, okay.

Lidia Zylowska: Or they can go to my website, which is just my first name and last name,, and order a CD through that.

David: Okay.

Lidia Zylowska: Also there's a outline of our training from the study - the summary of the exercises - that can be just downloaded for free as part of - for anybody who wants to take a look at it.

David: And that's on your website as well?

Lidia Zylowska: And that's also on the website, yes.

David: Yes, great. Well, look, I want to thank you so much for being my guest today on Wise Counsel.

Lidia Zylowska: Thank you. It was really a pleasure. I appreciate being invited.

David: I hope you enjoyed this interview with Dr. Lidia Zylowska. It's certainly interesting to me to discover the various treatment areas in which the mindfulness approach is being applied, and I continue to be fascinated by this increasingly accepted integration of Eastern philosophy and practices with Western scientific approaches.

I mentioned having interviewed Dr. Elisha Goldstein here on mindfulness. Actually, checking back, I now see that the title of that interview was "Mindfulness at Work," and the interview date was November 30, 2009. And I also previously interviewed his wife, Dr. Stefanie Goldstein, on a mindfulness based approach to the treatment of addiction. That interview was on May 16 of 2008. So there are a couple of great companion pieces to this current interview if you missed them. I should also mention that Elisha Goldstein has since become a regular blogger here at You might want to look for those as well, if you haven't already discovered them.

As Dr. Zylowska mentioned, an overview of her eight week mindfulness training for ADHD and a CD called "Mindfulness for Adult ADD, ADHD," can be found by visiting her website at

You've been listening to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by If you found today's show interesting, we encourage you to visit, where you can add a comment or question to this show's web page, view other shows in the series, or simply page through the site, which is full of interesting mental health and wellness content. Access the show's page and show archive information via the podcast box on the home page.

If you like Wise Counsel, you might also like ShrinkRapRadio, my other interview podcast series, which is available online at Until next time, this is Dr. David Van Nuys, and you've been listening to Wise Counsel.


Links Relevant To This Podcast:

  • Dr. Zylowska maintains a website at On this site she makes available the The MAPs for ADHD Initial Training Manual, which contains descriptions of the mindfulness exercises she has found helpful in the treatment of adult ADHD. You must subscribe to her mailing list in order to obtain the download. Also on the website, you may purchase the audio CD "Mindful Solutions for Adults with ADD/ADHD"

About Lidia Zylowska, M.D.

Lidia Zylowska, M.D.Lidia Zylowska, M.D. is a board-certified psychiatrist trained at UCLA who focuses on mindfulness-based interventions and adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Dr. Zylowska is one of the co-founders and faculty at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC)-a center promoting mindfulness education to the general public. She developed the center's Mindful Awareness Program (MAP) for ADHD: a meditation-based training in self-regulation (Zylowska et al, Journal of Attention Disorders, May 2008). Dr. Zylowska frequently lectures on mindfulness-based treatments and ADHD and consults on mindfulness-related projects. Actively involved in clinical work, Dr. Zylowska has a private practice in West Los Angeles where she sees many adults with ADHD and uses mindfulness in her treatment. An overview of the MAP for ADHD 8-week training and a CD "Mindfulness for Adult ADD/ADHD" can be found by visiting Dr. Zylowska's website

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Interview with Dr Zylowska - Russell - Oct 3rd 2010


Thanks for the interview with Dr Zylowska.  After listening to the podcast, I bought her Mindfulness for ADHD mp3 on Amazon.  I have found it to be very helpful to me.   It includes a lot of instruction and helpful advice and then several different mindfulness exercises.  Also she has a very pleasant voice so that adds to the value. 



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