Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Mindfulness ‘in’ Education as a form of Iatrogenesis

Brito, Rodrigo; Joseph, Stephen; Sellman, Edward

Mindfulness ‘in’ Education as a form of Iatrogenesis Thumbnail


Rodrigo Brito


Mindfulness-based Interventions (MBIs) can result in positive ‘side-effects’, such as concentration and individual well-being, highly desirable to schools operating within a neoliberalist agenda emphasizing performativity. However, employing a critical literature review, we argue that adverse side-effects also occur, though under-researched. We engage critical and systems theories, within a broader complexity paradigm, to show how MBIs manifest as a form of ‘iatrogenesis’, whereby a ‘sleight-of-hand’ occurs, offsetting systemic fallibility as individual culpability. Iatrogenesis provides both ‘cancer’ and ‘cure’, the source of much stress and the means to cope, leaving systems under-critiqued whilst the individual is expected to adjust to this logic. Guised like this, MBIs may do more harm than good, obfuscating deeper transformation of self and society. We conclude by uniting with those who argue the need to embrace more authentic and holistic versions of mindfulness for individual and social transformation to occur.


Brito, R., Joseph, S., & Sellman, E. (2021). Mindfulness ‘in’ Education as a form of Iatrogenesis. Journal of Transformative Education, 19(3), 261-283.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 7, 2020
Online Publication Date Feb 3, 2021
Publication Date Jul 1, 2021
Deposit Date Dec 9, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 3, 2021
Journal Journal of Transformative Education
Print ISSN 1541-3446
Electronic ISSN 1552-7840
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 3
Pages 261-283
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations