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Ursuline Professor Dr. Dohee Kim-Appel‘s Research Gets National Attention

April 08, 2013

Dr. Dohee Kim-Appel, Associate Professor in the Department of Art Therapy and Counseling was recently profiled by the American Counseling Association. Details of a research presentation and an interview were published on the ACA’s “Counseling Today” website.

Kim-Appel’s ongoing research illuminates how the family systems concept of “differentiation of self” is related to specific measurements of “mindfulness,” which is a concept rooted in Buddhism. Dr. Kim-Appel presented this research at the American Counseling Association’s national conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, March 23, 2013.

Co-presenting with Kim-Appel, was Dr. Jonathan Appel, Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Tiffin University. The Appels spent time at a Buddhist monastery in the mountains of Korea several years ago, which sparked a research interest in the topic of mindfulness.

“We were interested in how this eastern concept had been exceedingly applied in the west, through psychotherapy and counseling,” the TU professor says.  “We ended up having a long conversation with the head monk at the temple. A natural outgrowth was the development of a connection between past interests and ideas with new thoughts. It was an organic progression for us to join the two topics of family systems theory and mindfulness.”

The Appels’ current research found that the quality of one’s family relationships influences much of one’s mental and emotional development, the ability to balance reactive emotions with constructive thinking, and the ability to be “mindful” of self and others.
“The research’s goal is to view the connection between some mindfulness constructs and other therapeutic conceptual models – in this case a construct well-known in family therapy literature, Bowen’s Model of Differentiation of Self,” Dr. Kim-Appel remarks.

The new research suggests how central family relationships and mindfulness are to mental health and also provides a guide for therapeutic counseling interventions.

To read the full interview published on the ACA’s “Counseling Today” website, click here.

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