Kim will provide a brief overview of the Division of Perceptual Studies of the University of Virginia, its history, and current research focus, including near death experiences and their impact. She will then focus on her own current research exploring the impact of both spontaneous experiences, such as perceived communications from deceased loved ones, and intentionally induced alterations in consciousness, via such things as meditation and other contemplative exercises. The results of multiple studies exploring these impacts will be discussed. She will also explore fear of death and dying and their recent research exploring the prevalence of such as well as potential effective strategies to reduce this anxiety and why doing so would be beneficial.
JENNIFER “KIM” PENBERTHY, Ph.D., ABPP is the Chester F. Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Kim is a board certified clinical psychologist and conducts research, teaches, and provides clinical care at UVA in psychiatry and the cancer center. Her research interests include studying the mind-body relationship and exploring human consciousness as well as extraordinary human experiences and abilities. She is a founding member of the UVA Contemplative Sciences Center and is Co-Director of the Effective Communication and Coping Skills for Physicians, and founding member of Be Wise which is dedicated to promoting mindfulness, wisdom, and compassion in medicine. She has published extensively on psychotherapy and mindfulness, including multiple books, and scores of manuscripts and book chapters, and lectures internationally regarding her research. She is deeply interested in meditation, mindfulness, contemplative practices, and the intentional alteration of consciousness as well as their potential positive impact upon human potential and healing.