Courses postponed but will recommence in the not too distant future
The Bath, Bristol and Wells 8-week Mindfulness Meditation Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) courses
For the prevention of low mood, depression, anxiety stress and related conditions. This is a course that everyone can benefit from, a course that has the potential to enhance most peoples' quality of life.
Enhanced mindfulness meditation course
Following extensive feedback, we've developed a new course which builds on the classic 8-week Mindfulness course for anxiety, stress & depression and includes elements of a very successful Happiness course.
By learning how to meditate, Mindfulness teaches you new ways to handle negative thoughts, low moods and emotions. The Happiness course helps you to understand the causes of unhappiness better and includes exercises specifically designed to motivate you and improve your mood. Combining the most effective elements of both courses can, with a little practice, lift your mood quickly, prevent it from slipping down again and lessen stressed and anxious states.
ANote of Caution
Mindfulness meditation can be very powerful because it involves paying careful attention to experiences – thoughts, feelings, sensations – that often we try to ignore. Whilst this can be extremely helpful, we need to be able to deal with what might arise in meditation. Before starting to meditate it’s sensible to be reasonably self-aware and then to learn from an experienced practitioner in a safe environment.
Some recent (2016) press articles have rightly pointed out that meditation can lead to disturbing experiences. Mindfulness is not the same as relaxation – it’s about being awake to your experiences, not putting them aside. As an experienced UKCP registered psychotherapist as well as mindfulness practitioner, I help you decide whether or not the 8-week course is right for you at this time. This is why I ask you to make time for a detailed conversation before you’re accepted on the course. If I don’t think that Mindfulness is right for you, I can suggest alternative ways of managing the difficulties that led you to apply - such as individual therapy, perhaps with me or a trusted colleague. Many people subsequently find a Mindfulness practice invaluable in maintaining the work they’ve done in therapy.
The courses I run in Bath and Bristol are the full MBCT courses; delivered in the same way as the course in the MBCT trials but with the addition of some key mood enhancing elements from the happiness course.
Although mindfulness meditation has its origins in Buddhism the founders of the courses intended the courses to be run in a secular way. I support this stance which encourages participation by those of other or no religious beliefs. However, this doesn't preclude those adhering to Buddhism benefitting from participating in the course. Indeed, some Buddhists and others experienced in meditation have benefitted greatly from the clear and coherent meditation instruction and rationale used in the course (There is a lot of misunderstanding about how to meditate which often culminates in people giving it up and feeling they are just not very good at it. This need not be so).
By following the course, and with some persistence and patience, participants often find significant changes take place in how they experience themselves, others and the world.
Results from trials have shown that the MBCT course reduces relapse in depression by 50% in those who have had three or more previous episodes of depression. The course has the approval of NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) as an efficacious treatment for the prevention of depression.
The majority of people completing a MBCT course report lasting physical and psychological benefits including:
Those living with or close to someone who has completed the course may also feel the benefits!
What does the MBCT course entail?
Mindfulness meditation is learnt in 8-weekly 2 hour 15 minute sessions and by practicing with instruction CDs each day for approximately 45minutes through out the week. Breathing meditations and yoga practices help us become more aware of the present moment, and of subtle changes in our bodies and minds. We learn a basic understanding of what causes and maintains our low moods, depression, stress and anxiety and how to spot the warning signals and what to do to look after ourselves before distress take's hold.
Through enhanced awareness we begin to see the signs of potential crisis, upset and onset of low mood much sooner than we normally would. This enables us to respond in a calm, clear headed way to regain balance and perspective.
During the sessions we spend half the time doing guided meditation and the other half on reflection, questions, discussion and some theme related exercises.
You get out of the course what you put in. The benefits of meditation are cumulative and therefore regular practice is needed to get the best out of the course. Very early on you may feel some important benefits but there may be times when it doesn't feel like anything is happening, times when it becomes a bit stressful (which is ironic and paradoxical of course) and demanding of your time. There are times when we feel it's just not working and at this point we need to continue with the correct attitude till the end of the programme. By the end, the benefits will have started to accrue and become apparent and the process will have started to make sense. Recommended reading is an important part of the course though not as important as doing the practices. It is recommended that you do some reading before the start of the course to orientate yourself regarding mindfulness meditation.
During the course I can be emailed about any concerns or questions regarding the practice that can't wait till the next session. Personal psychological issues can't be dealt with in this way. I recommend having a friend, counsellor or psychotherapist who can be contacted for personal support during the course.
Should the need arise I can recommend a therapist who is a mindfulness practitioner or if my schedule permits, I can be available for one to one therapy/instruction/missed sessions. This is paid for separately from the course fee (at a much reduced session rate during the course).
Joining the course
To join the course please contact me by email or telephone to briefly discuss the course. If you remain interested in joining the course I will then send you further details and information for your reference. If you then would like to join the course you are requested to fill in an attached booking application form (it's very brief and short) and send it back to me by email. I will then make contact with you for further discussion (10 to 20 minutes) before you commit to the course. There is no charge for this discussion.
The total cost of the programme is £235 this includes:
One to one session during the course
During the course I'm usually able to offer one to one 50 minute sessions to help course participants with their mindfulness practice or individual issues. The one to one sessions cost £27.50
Distance learning option
A distance learning option is available for those who can't find a course local to them. Participants are guided throughout the 8-week course by a work-book and nine 45-minute, individual, telephone sessions. They then undertake about 45 minutes of home practice six days a week which entails listening to accompanying CDs which guide various sitting, walking and movement meditations. There are also some simple homework tasks and recommended reading. Due to the one-on-one nature of the distance learning option the costs are £ 450. Please contact me for more information on this option.
Mindfulness Meditation Day retreats atThe Ammerdown Centre
Day retreats are a good opportunity to renew and deepen meditation practice, to reconnect with members of the course group, meet members of other groups and share their experiences of mindfulness in everyday life. Retreat days are open to others who have completed similar courses or have experience of mindfulness meditation. (see links page for directions/description Ammerdown)
Outline of the day retreats
The days begin at 9.30am informally with tea/coffee and orientation. At 10.00am we begin the formal day retreat with brief introductions followed by a meditation practice. This will be followed by some time for participants to talk about the practices and any benefits or difficulties that have arisen since their course ended. The morning will move on to revisiting and deepening our exploration of particular themes of the mindfulness approach. The rest of the day, beginning as we sit to eat lunch, will be spent in silence. Various meditation practices will be practiced until 4.30pm when silence is lifted and open discussion takes place until 5.00pm, the end of the retreat.More detail about Mindfulness and the courses can be found on my mindfulness designated website by clicking here.
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© John Waller For the mindfulness courses website click on: www.mindfulnesscoursesbath-bristol.co.uk