Marianne Florian

Marianne Parrish Florian is currently working on a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. In the wider field of American Religious Cultures, she specializes in the study of Buddhist modernism, Buddhism in America, and African heritage traditions in the Americas. She also looks to contemplative practices, contemplative science, and cognitive science of religion for new understandings and perspectives of what religious people do and believe. In addition to her degree, she is pursuing a graduate certificate with Emory’s Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture. She holds a Master of Arts in French language and literature from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Theological Studies degree from Emory’s Candler School of Theology. Her 2012 thesis describes Cognitively-Based Compassion Training® (CBCT), a secular, contemplative approach to teaching compassion, in the context of its Tibetan Buddhist antecedents and similar meditation programs. Building upon previous work, for her dissertation research, she will partner with Spiritual Health at Emory Healthcare, the Mascaro lab in Family and Preventive Medicine at the Emory School of Medicine, and CBCT® to document the experience of Spiritual Health Clinician-Residents as they train in a new, evidence-based approach to hospital chaplaincy and care that is centered on compassion and rooted in contemplative techniques. Her role in Life University‘s CIT Working Group has allowed her to incorporate insights from trauma interventions and critical social theory into her own meditation practice, build relationships with dedicated volunteers and experts, and contribute to developing instructional manuals.