Listen to Episode 13 Below:

Show Notes:

The guest for this podcast Ellen Langer, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, a Fellow of The Sloan Foundation; The American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, The American Association for the Advancement of Science; Computers and Society; The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues; The Society of Experimental Social Psychologists. She has been awarded a Guggenheim and the Liberty Science Genius Award among many others. In addition to her many honors, she has been a guest lecturer in Japan, Malaysia, Germany, and Argentina.

Langer has had a significant influence on the positive psychology movement. Along with being known as the “mother of positive psychology” her contributions to the study of mindfulness have earned her the moniker of the “mother of mindfulness.” Her work helped to presage mind/body medicine, which has been regarded by many scientists to be an important intellectual movement and one that now has “considerable evidence that an array of mind-body therapies can be used as effective adjuncts to conventional medical treatment.”  She has co-authored experimental research indicating a connection between time perception and wound healing.

She has published over 200 articles and academic texts, was published in The New York Times, and discussed her works on Good Morning America.  Additionally, in many introductory psychology courses at universities across the United States, her studies are required reading. She is the author of numerous books including her most recent one, The Mindful Body

In this conversation, a rich exploration unfolds of the intersection between mindfulness and healthcare, beginning with Dr. Langer’s personal journey into health studies, catalyzed by a miraculous recovery in their family. This narrative weaves through the profound influence of the mind-body connection, drawing on examples like the “Counterclockwise Study” to underscore the potential for psychological factors to significantly impact physical health. She advocates for a healthcare approach that recognizes the unity of mind and body, emphasizes the importance of mindfulness beyond meditation, and addresses the dynamic nature of health with a flexible, engaged attitude towards patient care. The discussion also highlights the challenges of conventional medicine’s problem-focused approach, proposing a shift towards leveraging patients’ strengths and capacities through mindful observation to variability. By illustrating how mindfulness can transform both personal experiences and professional practices, the conversation champions a healthcare paradigm that values meaningful connections and fosters an environment of non-judgment and safety, suggesting a communal shift towards a more mindful, holistic view of health and well-being.



Ellen Langer, PhD

Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

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Book titles by Dr. Langer: see