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Groundless Ground Podcast

Science Podcasts

Join clinician and author Lisa Dale Miller at the leading edge of integrative mental health! We deliver thoughtful dialogues with innovative clinicians, researchers and contemplatives that unite health science research and profound wisdom traditions, inform about somatic psychotherapies and Buddhist psychology, and we do it all with big dose of intelligence, clarity, curiosity and openheartedness.


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Join clinician and author Lisa Dale Miller at the leading edge of integrative mental health! We deliver thoughtful dialogues with innovative clinicians, researchers and contemplatives that unite health science research and profound wisdom traditions, inform about somatic psychotherapies and Buddhist psychology, and we do it all with big dose of intelligence, clarity, curiosity and openheartedness.




Mental Health Renaissance

Psychologist, researcher, and executive Cassandra Vieten and I dialogue about a wide range of interventions that can shift the mental health crisis into a mental health renaissance. Cassie’s many years of offering patients empirically-based, mind-body tools for sustainable transformation, has taken place at several renowned academic medical institutions and greatly contributed to psychology’s integration of embodied, spiritually-oriented interventions for human flourishing such as:...


Meditation Beyond Optimization

This is a very special and quite different kind of episode to finish out the Groundless Ground’s 5th season. I have a frank discussion about the pitfalls of packaging and delivering meditation as a performative act in health contexts with Donna Sherman—clinical social worker and teacher of practical wisdom from yoga sciences, mindfulness meditation and behavioral sciences. Since Donna has studied extensively in the Tantric yoga tradition and I have expertise in Buddhist psychology, we...


Turn on Love and Intimacy

Alison Ash PhD is a sex and intimacy coach, educator, and creator of many sex positive workshops including her upcoming, very popular Sexual and Emotional Intimacy Skills Mastercourse. This dialogue was stunningly rich and informative for both of us. We freely converse about sex positivity and how consent skills make it possible to skillfully and joyfully give and receive pleasure, flirt and seduce, have more intimacy, and better understand monogamous and non-monogamous relationships. We...


Embodying Emotions

Psychologist Raja Selvam, discusses his new book, The Practice of Embodying Emotions: A Guide for Improving Cognitive, Emotional, and Behavioral Outcomes. Raja is the creator of Integral Somatic Psychology™ (ISP™), an effective somatic therapy that encourages optimal mental health by fully embodying emotions. Raja and I explore how clinicians can facilitate patient resolution of difficult emotions by allowing increased recognition of emotion and then expanding that emotion to more of the...


Science of Psychotherapy

Richard Hill and Matthew Dahlitz have written a comprehensive, definitively modern psychotherapy textbook titled, "Practitioners Guide to the Science of Psychotherapy". Their book covers basic neuroscience, body-brain systems, genetic processes and the application of integrative psychotherapy modalities for mental health disorders. This is the textbook I wished for many years ago when I attended graduate school. I was so excited to dialogue with these two brilliant men about the current sad...


Beyond Distraction

This episode features a rich, in-depth dialogue with Buddhist teacher and author Shaila Catherine on her new book, Beyond Distraction: Five Practical Ways to Focus the Mind. Using a Theravada Buddhist approach for cultivating focus, clarity, and wise action, Shaila offers an effective five-step method for changing distorted, habitual thoughts: 1) replace unwanted thoughts; 2) examine the dangers of distracting thoughts; 3) avert distraction; 4) investigate the causes of distraction; and 5)...


MORE Research Update

Eric Garland, PhD, LCSW, and I discuss exciting new research on the effectiveness of Mindfulness Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE)—his unique mindfulness intervention—for alleviating the cognitive-affective distress associated with chronic pain and co-occurring opioid misuse. We also focus on the value of meditation, expanding consciousness, and experiencing bliss in decreasing reliance on opioids and increasing capacity for ordinary pleasures. Lots of neuroscience and we cover research...


Being Wise in a Time of War

It’s been a very disturbing few weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine. Coincident with the initiation of war, clinician, author and dharma teacher Lisa Dale Miller taught two weeks in a row at Marin Sangha. These two dharma talks explore, from a Buddhist point of view, what it means to be wise, compassionate, and even awakened in the midst of difficult circumstances. The second talk, which starts at 27:00, dives deeper into what the Buddha called, the rod of violence, as well as its causes and...


Mark Solms on Consciousness

Consciousness remains a scientific puzzle: what it is, what creates it, and though all known conscious systems are alive, not all living systems are conscious. These days cortical-based theories of consciousness are all the rage. However, renown neuropsychologist and psychoanalyst Mark Solms has put forth, in his book “The Hidden Spring”, a radically convincing theory for the subcortical, homeostatic origins of consciousness rooted primarily in feeling or what is known as affect. Dr. Solms...


Somatic Horsemanship

This is a very special episode with Beverley Kane, MD, discussing her book Equine-imity: Stress Reduction and Emotional Self-Regulation in the Company of Horses, which introduces us to somatic horsemanship—a therapeutic practice for exploring the physical relationship between humans and horses, on the ground and on the horse, to promote body-mind-spirit well-being in both species. Dr. Kane portrays horses as consummate teachers of healthy embodiment and emotional resilience and describes...


Rescuing Virtue

Stuart Shanker, MD and I address the loss of virtue as a fundamental part of societal and individual conduct and how to reinvigorate it. He notes with sadness the quaint overtones and ironic sarcasm that has infected discussion of virtuous conduct; particularly in politics, journalism, academia, and psychology. We name the war between reason and emotion, rationality and irrationality, and discuss its role in widespread sense of unsafety, outright lying and ‘truthiness’ in media, and the...


Neurobiology of Trauma and MDMA for PTSD

Psychologist Jim Hopper and I discuss the neurobiology of trauma, MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD, the critical role embodied treatment modalities play in trauma healing, and use of Buddhist psychology and Internal Family Systems (IFS) for trauma resolution. He fully explicates the process used in the FDA-approved and MAPS-sponsored MDMA phase 3 trials, discusses the results, and clarifies for whom MDMA, Ketamine or psilocybin sessions could be adjunctive trauma treatment. We also discuss a...


Kindness vs Niceness

Two recent dharma talks given by Lisa Dale Miller at Marin Sangha explicate what kindness is from Buddhist psychological perspective and how it radically differs from niceness. To lay the groundwork of what kindness is, the first talk employs a very challenging sutta, “The Simile of the Saw”, where the Buddha proscribes wholesome conduct in all manner of difficult relational engagements. The second talk investigates kindness and niceness and clarifies their differences. Niceness though...


Stuart Shanker on Reframing for a Just Society

Stuart Shanker, PhD is a world-renown author, researcher and scholar on self-regulation science and creator of the groundbreaking Self-Reg method for cultivating mental and physical well-being. His life’s work has focused on the beneficial role that positive stress plays in children’s development and learning, and the harmful effects of excessive negative stress on parents, educators, and children. His new book, REFRAMED: Self-Reg for a just society, explores self-regulation in wider, social...


Rodney Dietert on Microbiome-First Medicine

Get ready for a microbiome geek-fest with Cornell Professor Emeritus, health scientist, and author Rodney Dietert, as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of his pioneering book, The Human Super-organism. Rodney shares the fascinating history of microbiome research and recounts his own life-changing, career-shifting revelations about microbiome-first medicine in reversing the modern epidemic of non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs) and immune system disorders. We discuss the difference...


Jeremy Lent on The Web of Meaning

Jeremy Lent’s new book, The Web of Meaning: Integrating Science and Traditional Wisdom to Find Our Place in the Universe offers a coherent worldview of deep interconnectedness by integrating ancient Taoist and Buddhist views of humanness and awakening, with a modern scientific, conceptually-oriented view of human capacity. Jeremy makes the case for reigniting lost ethical values that can shift the disconnection that has led humanity to the brink of ecological and societal destruction. We...


Tibetan Buddhist Foundational Practices

This is a very special episode featuring Anne C. Klein, PhD, aka Lama Rigzin Drolma; Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University, Buddhist Studies scholar and Tibetan translator, author, and Tibetan Buddhist teacher. It was such an honor to discuss Dr. Klein’s groundbreaking book, Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse Foundational Practices and the Transmission of the Longchen Nyingthig. We speak frankly and deeply about Nundro; its practice and relevance for Western Tibetan Buddhist...


Jud Brewer: Unwind Your Anxiety Habit

Psychiatrist, renown mindfulness and habit change researcher, Jud Brewer, MD, PhD once again disrupts conventional framing of mental health disorders and their treatment. This time the target is anxiety. Jud says you cannot think your way out of anxiety. Because anxiety is actually a habit loop—an unrewarding reward that experientially and neurobiologically mirrors addiction. Jud unpacks this brilliant and effective revisioning of anxiety and a radically beautiful treatment model, which is...


Kathy Kain On Somatic Interventions

Kathy L. Kain, PhD returns to share her unparalleled expertise on effective use of somatic interventions in in-person and online psychotherapy. She gets very specific about what interventions work and don’t work, and the kind of patients that may benefit or be underserved when the medium of contact is screen-only. And Kathy gives in-depth analysis of the interplay of awareness and points of contact in somatic interventions; regardless of whether the clinician has physical contact with a...


Bill Plotkin on the Journey of the Soul

Soul initiation is an essential and hazardous spiritual adventure that most modern cultures have forgotten. Eco-psychologist Bill Plotkin discusses this mythopoetic, life-altering journey which he beautifully explicates in his new book, Journey of Soul Initiation. I chose to commence GG Season Four with this riveting, deep and edgy dialogue on the transformative and profound path of forging a true adult. Bill’s wisdom, humility and radical honesty shine through as he describes his own soul...