Research meeting: Willeke Rietdijk


12:30 - 13:30

Medical Faculty Building | MF A216

Research meeting Dr. Willeke Rietdijk: A micro-phenomenological study of processes and mechanisms of mindfulness meditation

Dr. Willeke Rietdijk




Mindfulness is becoming widely applied within health care and educational settings, showing positive effects on wellbeing and attainment. However, most mindfulness research focuses on the clinical effects or neurological correlates of mindfulness, with experiential aspects of mindfulness practice usually overlooked. This PhD research explored how mindfulness unfolds phenomenologically at a micro-level by interviewing three adult meditators 3-5 times in depth about their just practised meditations, using the micro-phenomenology method. This interview method investigates short moments of experience in their lived, pre-reflective and embodied aspect. Apart from providing a deeper understanding into the workings and effects of mindfulness, a detailed understanding of experiential processes and mechanisms at work in mindfulness practice might yield further insights into cognitive, affective and embodied processes and could thus have important implications for learning and therapeutic change. In this presentation I will report on the method and findings of this small-scale, in-depth research project.

Short biography Willeke Rietdijk
WillekeRietdijkWilleke Rietdijk is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 

She graduated with a BA/MA in clinical psychology at the Radboud University Nijmegen in 1997. Subsequently she moved to England to become a residential teacher at an international secondary school for holistic education, during which time she also qualified with a Master’s of Education diploma. She then moved into educational research at the University of Southampton, conducting quantitative and qualitative research for ten years on various large scale, primary and secondary science education projects, some of which were EU research collaborations. Alongside this, she has completed a PhD on the micro-phenomenology of processes and mechanisms of mindfulness, also at the University of Southampton. 

In March Willeke moved back to the Netherlands to work as post-doctoral researcher at the Wonderful Education Project, being responsible for the qualitative aspect of the project comprising interviews with children to explore their experiences of wonder, and with teachers to find out to what extent, how, and why they stimulate wonder in their pupils.