mindfulness training

mindfulness training

Pip and Damien are trained to deliver the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction group programme.

What is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)?

MBSR is a group treatment program that teaches people how to use mindfulness skills to improve how they are feeling and coping with the challenges of daily life. It was first developed at Stanford University in the 1970s, and since then it has been used to help hundreds of thousands of people. Research has shown it to be effective in improving depression, anxiety, stress, and chronic pain, in addition to improving memory, concentration, and quality of relationships. Mindfulness is about learning to pay attention in a particular way “on purpose, to the present moment, and with non-judgemental awareness” (Jon Kabat-Zinn). Learning to do this is a skill that takes practice. The MBSR group teaches people how to develop these skills in a systematic way. People learn how to do the skills in the group sessions, and then practice them regularly at home between sessions.

Why is it helpful to learn mindfulness skills?

Mindfulness skills have been shown to be effective for improving mental health and well-being, and for coping better with physical health problems, including chronic pain. Some of the proven benefits of mindfulness include:

  • Feeling calmer and happier
  • Feeling less depressed and anxious
  • Feeling less irritable
  • Having improved memory, concentration, and mental clarity
  • Having better quality relationships
  • Coping better with pain

What Mindfulness Isn’t

Mindfulness is not a religion. Mindfulness is simply a method of mental and attentional training.

Mindfulness is not something that you have to sit cross-legged on the floor to do. You can simply sit in a chair to meditate.

Meditation is not about learning to stop thinking, nobody can do that! It’s just about getting better at noticing what your mind is up to.

Meditating is not complicated, and there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to do it. Whatever happens is helpful.

What will I have to do in an MBSR group?

The group runs weekly for 8 weeks, and each session is two hours long.

The facilitator will show you how to meditate, and each session will involve practicing a meditation that the facilitator guides you through. Meditations can be anywhere from a few minutes up to about 20 minutes long. Afterwards there is an opportunity to discuss what you noticed during your meditation.

Between sessions you will be asked to make a commitment to practice meditating daily for between 15 - 30 minutes, using the guided meditations provided. It is this regular practice that will help you to create the long-term and beneficial changes in your brain that allow you to feel and cope better.

Between sessions you will also be asked to read one chapter per week of the book that the program is based on.

It is important that you are respectful towards others in the group, and that you respect everyone’s right to privacy and confidentiality. This will be discussed further in the first session.

There will be approximately 8-12 participants in the group. In addition to the clinical psychologist facilitating the group, a support person will also be available for any additional assistance that may be required.

What won’t I have to do in the group?

You won’t have to share anything personal in the group. It is NOT a therapy group, and you will not be expected to say anything about your personal circumstances.

There’s no obligation to say anything at all, if you don’t want to. You are welcome just to sit and listen to others if you prefer.

What happens at a silent retreat session?

Approximately half way through the program (between weeks 5 and 6) there will be an opportunity for you to take part in a half day silent retreat. This will be guided by the clinical psychologist, but participants will spend the time in silence. Having the opportunity to engage in a longer period of silent practice is helpful for deepening your mindfulness practice. Many participants have reported that while they are initially apprehensive about doing the silent retreat it turns out to be one of the most valuable aspects of the course.

What will happen at a taster session?

Regular taster sessions will be offered free of charge. A clinical psychologist will explain more about what MBSR is, how it has developed, the science behind it, and the ways in which it can benefit people. More details will be provided about the MBSR group, and there will be an opportunity to try out some short, simple guided meditation practices.

Following the taster session you can decide whether you would like to sign up for an 8 week MBSR group. If you sign up for the group you will be invited to meet individually with a clinical psychologist for a 20 minute appointment before the group commences.  

What will happen when I meet individually with a clinical psychologist before the group?

You will be invited to attend a 20 minute appointment (either in person or via phone) with a clinical psychologist before the group commences. The aim of this meeting will be for the clinical psychologist to find out a little more about your current difficulties, and your background, to help determine whether the program is appropriate for your circumstances, and whether the timing of it is right for you.

It may not be advisable for you to attend the group in certain circumstances, for example, if you have a significant trauma history, are currently experiencing psychotic symptoms, have a current substance misuse problem, significant difficulties with anger/aggression, or have experienced a recent bereavement. You will be able to talk together with the clinical psychologist to determine the extent to which such difficulties exist, and whether or not it is advisable to attend the group at this time. If following discussion it is deemed that it is not appropriate for you to attend the group efforts will be made to signpost you to appropriate, alternative sources of support.

What will happen when I meet individually with a clinical psychologist after the group?

Following completion of the group you will be invited to attend another 20 minute individual appointment. The purpose of this meeting will be to review the program, what has/hasn’t been helpful, and to assist you to develop and maintain your mindfulness practice going forwards. The meeting will also be an opportunity to signpost you to further additional support, should this be required.

Upcoming Mindfulness Group

Learn how to feel and cope better with life's difficulties.

A program shown by research to improve mental health,wellbeing, chronic pain, memory and concentration, andquality of relationships.

Coming soon.

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