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Mindfulness is in itself, something very simple and familiar. It is a universal and basic human capacity, which consists of the possibility of being aware of the contents of the mind moment by moment. It is the practice of self-awareness.

~ Vicente Simon

IN WESTERN PSYCHOLOGY a maturation of cognitive therapies is taking place, within what are called third generation therapies. Cognitive psychotherapies constitute a fertile ground in which techniques related to mindfulness can be planted and bear fruit.

     Mindfulness is characterized by the cultivation of attention and concentration. It is natural that, when mindfulness became known in Western psychological circles, cognitive psychologists guessed the enormous therapeutic possibilities that it possesses.

     At present there are already various therapeutic techniques that have emerged in Western psychology, in which mindfulness plays a prominent role. The best known are: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR: Kabat-Zinn, 2003); mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT: Segal, Williams, Teasdale, 2002); acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT: Hayes, Strosahl & Houts, 2005) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT: Linehan, 1993; García Palacios, 2006) to treat borderline personality disorder.

     As Thich Nhat Hanh has said that mindfulness is keeping awareness alive in the reality of the present. On the one hand, there is the basic component, the fundamental characteristic of mindfulness, which consists of keeping the attention focused on the immediate experience of the present.

     Therefore, the first instruction of mindfulness is to be aware of what is happening in the present moment. The second component of the definition is to keep a non-judgemental attitude toward the experience of the present, that is, keeping a simple and open mind to the experiences of the present moment as they are unfolding.

     A fundamental attitudes in the practice of mindfulness is what Kabat-Zinn calls a beginner's mind, in reference to the title of a well-known Suzuki book: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. When mindfulness is practiced imbued by this attitude, one tends to free oneself from all previous knowledge, from any acquired expectations. Thus, reality is perceived as if it were for the first time that it is seen and experienced. In turn, this liberation opens the possibility of change. 

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Saturday 27 May 2023

from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Speakers, topics and/or times may vary

6 hours of were approved continuing education (CEC) were aprod by the Health Examining Boards of PR. If you want the CEC certificate you must pay $25 to the UPR on the day of the event, sign in at the table in the Medical Sciences Campus and take the pre- and post-tests.

If the participant does not show up on the day of the event, there will be no refund. See:Rules and procedures

To register, choose between ATH Mobile or credit card.edit

Students or seniors over 65 years of age: $55.00

(must present evidence on the day of the event)

Professionals or general public: $75.00

Program | Topics and schedules


Speakers, topics and / or times may vary

All conferences will be face-to-face (there will be no video conferences)

7:30 am - 8:00 am
8:00 am - 8:10 am
Introduction to the day
Dr. Mauricio Alejandro Conejo
8:10 am - 8:25 am​
Meditation session | counting your breath
Dr. Mauricio Alejandro Conejo
8:30 am - 9:30 am
Mindfulness, health and well-being
Dr. Mauricio Alejandro Conejo

MINDFULNESS HAS BECOME It has become a valuable tool in the treatment of various health conditions. Studies have shown the effectiveness of mindfulness practice in the treatment of depression and anxiety symptoms in patients with chronic pain. It has also been proven that mindfulness increases resilience and improves emotional well-being. Due to its integration with various psychological therapies, it is an effective tool to treat blood pressure, improve sleep quality, reduce inflammation and improve immune function. Mindfulness impacts the quality of life of patients with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It is particularly effective in managing and regulating stress.

9:30 am - 9:45 am
Coffee break
9:45 am - 10:00 am
Meditation session | Body scan
Dr. Mauricio Alejandro Conejo
10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Polyvagal theory and mindfulness
Dr. Marcela Henao


THE POLYVAGAL THEORY SUGGESTS whatThere are three distinct branches of the ANS, the most primitive being the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which has two branches, the ventral vagal complex (VVC) and the dorsal vagal complex (DVC). VVC is associated with social engagement, positive affect, and self-regulation, while DVC is associated with freezing and shutting down responses. The theory proposes that the VVC can be activated through the practice of mindfulness, which involves cultivating awareness and acceptance of present moment experiences without passing judgment. By engaging the VVC, individuals can regulate the SNS and DVC, resulting in decreased stress and improved well-being. This is because mindfulness practices help increase activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with attentional control, emotional regulation, and decision making.

11:00 am - 11:15 am
Meditation session | open awareness
Dr. Mauricio Alejandro Conejo
11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Mindfulness: Integration of evidence-based practices
Dr. Cinthia Suzzette Pérez

THE INTEGRATION OF MINDFULNESS with evidence-based therapies is an approach that promotes therapeutic intervention with practices that promote well-being. This involves selecting interventions that have been shown to be effective in rigorous, controlled clinical studies and whose effects can be enhanced with mindfulness and other disciplines to treat mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It has been found that mindfulness practice can improve attention, concentration, and decision making when integrated with evidence-based therapies such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This integration ensures the transfer of skills and the adoption of effective practices in daily life that promote well-being and health.

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Lunch break

THE OLD SAN JUAN It has a varied gastronomic offer, from traditional places to more eclectic restaurants. Exceptional dining experiences abound throughout the city with some humble and delicious establishments specializing in traditional Puerto Rican dishes and other restaurants that fuse Caribbean and international flavors.

1:30pm - 1:45pm
Meditation session | Body scan
Dr. Emir Rivera
1:45pm - 2:30pm
Mindfulness and establishing neurocognitive balance
Dr. Emir Rivera

NEUROCOGNITIVE THERAPY Its purpose is not only rehabilitation in the case of stroke, stroke, trauma, heart attack or ischemia, but also seeks to preserve and enhance cognitive abilities, particularly executive functions. As part of neuropsychological interventions, the contemplative practice of mindfulness is increasingly used to exercise attentional processes vital for the correct execution of neurocognitive skills essential for life and correct performance in activities of daily living. Contemplative practice in older adults facing cognitive impairment helps manage the uncertainty generated by the disease and improves the management of anxiety associated with emotional states linked to neurocognitive pathology. 

2:30pm - 2:45pm
Coffee break
2:45 pm - 3:00 pm
Meditation session | counting your breath
Dr. Mauricio Alejandro Conejo
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Mindfulness in the life cycle: Opportunities for human development
Dr. Cynthia García Coll

NEUROSCIENCE HAS PROVEN that the regular practice of mindfulness and its positive effects are beneficial at different stages of the life cycle. In childhood and adolescence it can be useful as it helps develop emotional self-regulation and attention skills. In the adolescenceence can particularly help improve the ability to manage stress and anxiety when life's demands may be particularly overwhelming. In the older adult stage, mindfulness helps maintain executive functions and improve emotional well-being. It has been shown that the practice of mindfulness increases activity in brain regions involved in attention and memory, reducing cognitive difficulties. Additionally, mindfulness practice can improve emotional well-being and reduce depression in older people. The practice of mindfulness is a valuable tool to improve quality of life at all stages of the life cycle.

4:00 pm - 4:15 pm
Meditation session | open awareness
Dr. Mauricio Conejo
4:00 pm - 4:45 pm
The PNIE and its relationship with Mindfulness
Dr. Marcela Heneo

THE PNIE (Psychoneuroimmunology) It is a scientific discipline that studies the interaction between the mind, the nervous system, the immune system and the endocrine system. In the context of PNIE, the relationship between mindfulness and the regulation of the immune system in particular has been investigated. Studies have shown that the practice of mindfulness can have a positive effect on the immune system, increasing the activity of T lymphocytes that are key in the body's defense against infections and diseases. It has also been observed that practicing mindfulness can reduce inflammation, a process that has been linked to various chronic diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Mindfulness practice reduces the inflammatory response in patients with psoriasis, increases T lymphocyte activity in patients with breast cancer, and reduces the inflammatory response. Mindfulness improves regulation  of the autonomic nervous system, reduces the inflammatory response in patients with fibromyalgia and improves the regulation of the autonomic nervous system in patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder.


4:45 pm - 5:00 pm
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Marcela Henao, M.D.,Ph.D.

Medical doctor, Master in Neurosciences and Behavioral Biology, doctor in Neurosciences. Experience in the health sector in promotion and prevention programs, cardiovascular risk, outpatient consultation, priority care and stress medicine. Professor in the areas of basic and clinical semiology, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neuropathology in different medical schools in Medellín, Colombia. With skills in the development of research proposals and their execution in the area of mental health and stress medicine in cardiovascular populations, patients with fibromyalgia and university students. Guest professor to support certifications in the area of neurosciences in Puerto Rico.

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He studied his doctorate (Ph.D.) in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Maimónides University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Prior to the doctorate, he completed a master's degree in Neuroscience from the Pablo de Olavide University in Seville, Spain. He also has a master's degree in Design from Northumbria University in England. He worked in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Schikorski at the Central University of the Caribbean. He is currently director of the design program at the EAPD and executive director, Ad Honorem, of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

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He is a professor and psychotherapist at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez. He has a doctorate in clinical psychology from Ponce Health Sciences University and a master's degree in clinical psychology with a specialization in psychotherapy from the Universidad Iberoamericana de Puebla México. Practitioner and instructor of yoga, meditation and tai chi. He has professional certifications in cognitive neuroscience applied to mindfulness and in fundamentals in cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology with the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. He is currently studying a Master's Degree in Naturopathic Sciences.

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She is a clinical psychologist. She obtained her Psy.D. from the School of Behavioral & Brain Sciences from Ponce Health Sciences University. He has a master's degree in Psychological Counseling from the Carlos Albizu University. He has participated in Training and Conferences in Neuropsychoanalysis, the third generation evidence-based practice. In her holistic approach, as part of her doctoral dissertation, Dr. Pérez developed an Intervention Manual for Puerto Rican Adults with diagnostic symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.

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He has a BS in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico-RP, a Master's degree in Human Development Psychology from the University of Florida and a Doctorate in Personality and Human Development Psychology from Harvard University. She served as a professor in the area of education, psychology and pediatrics at Brown University for 30 years. She has held several academic positions in Puerto Rico and has been editor of the academic journals Child Development and Developmental Psychology, the most prestigious in her area of expertise.

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The Symposium will be held at the San Juan Museum, in front of the Neurobiology Institute building in Old San Juan. It is recommended to arrive early and park under the Plaza del 5to Centenario Totem as parking in San Juan tends to fill up.

The San Juan Museum, Old San Juan

The San Juan Museum is in a neoclassical style structure. It has a rectangular floor plan that is characterized by two large naves in its east and west wings that are currently exhibition halls and a small theater/projection room (where the symposium will be held). In the center it has a large interior patio, surrounded by a magnificent arch (arches). Paintings, photographs, posters, carvings of wooden saints, sculptures and archaeological objects make up the collection of the San Juan Museum. The Museum is custodian of the sculptures located in public spaces managed by the Municipal Government.

Parking lot

It is recommended to arrive early and park under the Plaza del 5to Centenario Totem as parking in San Juan tends to fill up early.

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Vicente Simon | Interview in TVE2

VICENTE SIMÓN is a medical doctor, psychiatrist and professor of psychobiology. After a long teaching and research career, he has dedicated his time to the practice of mindfulness and the teaching of meditation and compassion internationally through online courses, conferences, in person workshops, courses and retreats.


He is a prolific author who has published many books some of which are: Learn to practice mindfulness, Initiation to mindfulness and Live mindfully.

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