MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) 8-Week Course
The MBSR 8-week course is a really good place to start if you are interested in bringing Mindfulness into your life. It will provide a solid foundation on which you can continue to develop your ongoing personal practice. Being Mindful is something we learn to do with practice and by experiencing the meditations and mindful activities for ourselves. We can purchase the books and CD's but they will not help unless we do the practice for ourselves - just like holding a map is not the same as doing the walk. Mindfulness is not difficult to learn, but it does take practice and some commitment to stick with it. At the beginning our minds can wander endlessly, but with compassion, patience and perseverance it is possible to learn to maintain our attention, which in turn can help us feel more at ease with ourselves and our lives. Learning something new from a book can sometimes be difficult, attending a course with a group of otherpeople, all learning together and supporting each other, can make progress a little easier.
What would I expect from the course?
The course consists of eight weekly group sessions, each two hours long, with up to 10 people in a group. From the very first session, you will be guided and supported to develop the building blocks of mindfulness practice, starting with awareness of the breath and the body, and later including gentle stretching and movement, walking and sitting meditations. You will also be encouraged to introduce mindfulness into your daily life, slowly and gradually, by learning to bring mindful attention to the ordinary activities that make up your day. Each week, there will be the opportunity to reflect on your practice with others in the group, and participants often describe this as a very helpful and supportive part of the learning process.
Would I be expected to do practice and coursework at home?
Home practice is an essential part of learning mindfulness. It is your commitment to daily practice that will really establish the skills you will be learning, and offer the greatest potential for personal growth.
Home practice is purely practical. You will be asked to follow a guided meditation every day (and provided with the guidance on CD) and also to undertake some simple tasks, such as bringing mindful attention to a routine activity. You may choose to jot down a few words to remind you of anything you want to talk about in the next session.
There are no written assignments and no course books to read. You will be given a hand-book to help you along and to work as a reminder of the material we have covered each week. This will include helpful readings and references we have shared.
During the 8-week course you will be taught a number of simple practices which, if done regularly, will help you respond to the challenges of life with greater confidence. It involves quite a lot of commitment and practice but the benefits can be enormous.
Is Mindfulness right for everyone?
Mindfulness is suitable for most people and can be life-changing for some. However, as with anything in life that we are learning, there are good times to be learning and not such good times, depending on what is happening for you at that time in your life.
Whilst Mindfulness is a helpful response to many difficulties, the course can be challenging. If you have had a bereavement, major trauma or transition in the past 12 months I would usually advise you to wait a little longer, as part of the course encourages "turning towards" difficulty and this may interfere with the healthy processing of loss or grief.
Experience has shown that meditation practice is difficult to sustain for people who are currently dependent on substance, including alcohol, although it can be a helpful approach to support those who have experienced dependency in the past.
Although mindfulness is being researched as a response to specific mental illnesses and conditions, my training and experience does not cover all of these, so the courses I offer are more general and may not always be suitable. Due to these limitations, I would not usually offer places to anyone currently experiencing dissociative disorders, psychosis, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe self-harm, suicidal intent or actions. I also recommend that anyone currently experiencing acute depression may be best to wait until this has settled or is being successfully managed with medication.
What is included in the fee?
The initial orientation session, the full 8-week course, CD's for home practice, the workbook, individual support and a silent retreat towards the end of the course.
How do I get on a course?
Please contact me via the contact page and I will then forward you an application form. Once I have received this I will contact you by phone to discuss your application and to talk through the course with you.
Do I need special equipment and clothing?
Most of the course can be done sat on a normal chair, I will provide some meditation stools and cushions for people to try, or you are welcome to bring along your own. We will be doing some practices lying down and so yoga mats will be provided, again feel free to bring your own. You might like to bring along a blanket as sometimes it can feel cold when you have been still for a while. Wear something comfortable, something that allows you to sit, breath and move comfortably. We practice breathing meditation, sitting, walking mindfully, body-scan's (which are usually done lying down) and some gentle movement.