Mindfulness Course Information

MBSR

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme takes place over 8 consecutive weeks. It provides a training in mindfulness meditation and awareness practices which have been shown to reduce stress, and increase well-being for people with a wide range of concerns, from stress and anxiety, to chronic pain and insomnia and many more conditions. It was developed by Dr Jon Kabat Zinn in 1979 in the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This programme became what is now the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, healthcare and Society .

Within this 30 year time frame the MBSR has been rigorously researched and has been found to be effective with many forms of stress; from relationships, parenting, work stress, as well as chronic pain, and dealing with illnesses such as cancer. The MBSR curriculum allows participants to find their own inner resources for living life with more ease, and more resilience. It is the most highly researched mindfulness based intervention and spans many populations and disciplines. The MBSR programme has served hundreds and thousands of participants over the last three decades.

The course is interactive, supportive, and structured. It runs for 8 weeks, and each class is 2.5 hours. The MBSR will provide you with:

  • Guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices, ie: body scan, mindful movement, breath awareness and more
  • An enquiry process to deepen individual and group understanding to support aligning ourselves to being more present in our lives
  • Opportunities to discuss how to work with obstacles to mindfulness, and how we can best integrate mindfulness into daily life in a variety of ways.
  • Less reactivity, and more awareness – building a greater ability to respond to life’s demands and difficulties with skill, openness, and self kindness

The programme is both rewarding and challenging and requires a high level of ongoing commitment to yourself and the home practice. Home practice is a major part of the course and will involve guided mindfulness practices of about 45 minutes a day. All materials needed will be provided including mp3s of guided practices, and a handbook.

Towards the final weeks of the course participants will attend an all day guided retreat. This is an opportunity to experiment with mindfulness through a longer period of uninterrupted practice. All parts of this day are guided by the teacher.

MBCT

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was developed by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale, based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR program. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is designed to help people who experience repeated bouts of depression and low mood. It combines the ideas of cognitive therapy with meditative practices and attitudes based on the cultivation of mindfulness. The heart of this work lies in becoming acquainted with the modes of mind that often characterise low mood, while simultaneously learning to develop a new relationship to them. Techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are integrated into the program to promote greater awareness of these patterns and mindfulness practices are used to disengage from them. The focus is on changing one’s relationship to unwanted thoughts, feelings and body sensations so participants no longer try to avoid them or react to them automatically, but rather respond to them in an intentional and skilful manner.

Similar to MBSR, the MBCT programme has been researched extensively. The UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recently endorsed MBCT as an effective treatment for prevention of relapse in depression. Research has shown that people who have been clinically depressed 3 or more times (sometimes for twenty years or more) find that taking the program and learning these skills helps to significantly reduce their chances that depression will return. The evidence from two randomised clinical trials of MBCT indicates that it reduces rates of relapse by 50% among patients who suffer from recurrent depression.

This program is most beneficial for those who have experienced recurring depression, however in the last 20 years MBCT has also shown to be helpful for a broader population and is suitable for anyone interested in an opportunity to learn a new way of relating to unwanted thoughts and feelings and to improve skills for responding to them in an intentional and skilful manner. MBCT is supportive in terms of learning ways to deal the ordinary stresses of everyday life, relationships and family, anxiety, low self esteem/confidence, poor sleep etc.

The MBCT runs over 8 consecutive weeks, with classes running for 2.5 hours long. Participants will be guided to learn various mindfulness practices, with an emphasis on gradually learning how to relate differently to negative thoughts that may typically lead to spells of low mood. Along with mindful meditations, the class also involves some educational materials, group discussions and exercises.

A commitment to all sessions, and daily home practice of 45 minutes per day is required. There will also be a full day of practice-as per MBSR-where participants will be able to engage with an extended period of mindfulness practice.