for physical and psychological well-being
I offer 8-week Mindfulness courses in MBSR - Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction - and MBCT – Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy – in both group and one-to-one formats.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a way of being that is developed by purposefully paying attention in a non-judgmental way to our experience (body, emotions, mind) as it unfolds moment by moment. Mindfulness training is a process of cultivating in ourselves a place of clarity, openness and compassion, in which we can meet our life just as it is, be fully present to its beauty and richness and, when challenges arise – stress, relational difficulties, illness, life-issues, etc. - be able to respond wisely, skillfully and creatively rather than react with our usual unconscious automatic patterns. Mindfulness practice is a path of more deliberate, conscious living through which we develop a new relationship with ourselves, with our life-circumstances and with others – a relationship that is aware, supportive, creative and appeased.
Most participants in the programme report lasting physical and psychological benefits, including:
- Greater confidence and balance, a renewed sense of agency
- An increased ability to relax and experience calm
- More self-awareness and a greater capacity for emotional regulation
- More energy, enthusiasm and appreciation for life
- An increased ability to cope effectively with stressful situations and difficult life-circumstances – replacing reactivity with responsiveness
The origins of the programme
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was developed in the 1970s by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachussets Medical Centre to address the needs of patients suffering from chronic pain or stress-induced conditions who couldn’t find relief from medical treatment. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a molecular biologist working at the hospital, a scientist by training as well as a meditator and yoga practitioner, designed an 8-week programme of stress reduction borrowing from Buddhist teachings, yoga, psychological theories and scientific knowledge, that has proved so impactful that it is now used in a growing number of contexts all over the world including mental health, education, business and politics and has been endorsed by a recent UK parliamentary report.
Later, in the 1990s, a team of psychologists developed the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programme which contains a higher proportion of cognitive therapy. This programme is usually applied to specific conditions or issues such as the prevention of depressive relapse (recommended by NICE – the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), addiction, various personality disorders, etc. MBCT is available on the NHS.
MBSR and MBCT share a 95% common trunk. I teach a combination of both.
Extensive scientific research has been carried out to examine the efficacy of these programmes and it has yielded a very positive endorsement. Please see Brief summary of Mindfulness research for more information. It has been observed that the practice of Mindfulness can modify the structure and neural pathways in the brain. There is evidence of increased attentional capacity, emotional regulation, empathic awareness and general relationship satisfaction. Studies have shown that mindfulness practice activates the left side of the pre-frontal cortex which is related to positive emotions. It also been shown to impact the immune system beneficially and lead to a more robust production of antibodies.
Jon Kabat-Zinn – Wherever you go, there you are
Jon Kabat-Zinn – Coming to our senses
Jon Kabat-Zinn – Full catastrophe living
Mark Williams and Danny Penman – Mindfulness – finding peace in a frantic world
Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal – The mindful way through depression
Michael Chakalson – Mindfulness in eight weeks
Daniel Siegel – The mindful brain