Mindfulness Eight Week Course
During the 8-week group course we meet once a week for 2 hours. Each session consists of mindfulness practices followed by discussion and space for exploration, with related exercises from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), both with me and in pairs or small groups. All the practices and discussion are invitational; there is no pressure on anyone to say any more than you want to. Between the sessions there is home practice to do with guided meditation CDs or downloads from this website; this is how you can develop the skills and attitudes of mindfulness that are so useful to manage and reduce stress and anxiety. The home practice includes both formal, guided mindfulness practices and informal practices that are easy to incorporate into everyday life, such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower mindfully. With ongoing mindfulness practice, you can develop your ability to be present in the moment, improve your sense of wellbeing and learn tools for both reducing and managing stress or anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Each week of the 8-week course has a theme that we explore with the guided practices, in group discussion and often in pairs or smaller groups. The mindfulness course also includes some exercises from CBT, designed to help you see more clearly how thoughts are not always helpful and how we can easily misinterpret events, leading to increased stress or low mood.
Key Skills in Awareness
During an 8-week course, you will have the opportunity to learn some key skills that show you how to increase awareness of what is going on for you. With that increased awareness, you can then learn to nip problems in the bud and thus manage stress or anxiety, and learn to get less caught up in internal dramas.
Becoming Aware of Your Mental Patterns
During the course I will help you learn to see your mental patterns, how to free yourself from unhelpful habits and make a freer choice for yourself rather than a knee-jerk reaction. Sometimes we can feel dragged around by habitual spiralling thought or catastrophic thinking; this can lead to stress, anxiety, low mood and a general feeling of being overwhelmed. Through the mindfulness meditation practices, you can learn to manage your stress, anxiety or low mood by standing back and observing the process and not being so sucked in or carried away - a process known as 'de-centring'. With this comes a greater feeling of freedom in life and enhanced wellbeing, feeling less trapped in moods and habitual negative thinking and learning that although 'you can't stop the waves, you can learn to surf'.
Learning to be kinder to yourself
An important feature of mindfulness practice is learning to be kind to yourself - both what you do and in your attitude to yourself. Self-critical thougths are very common and can be very damaging to wellbeing and happiness; through mindfulness practices we learn to not be so bossed around by thoughts like that and to develop a more kindly attitude to ourselves.
It is only through the direct and personal experience of mindfulness practices that you can understand what it can do for you: the home practices, which take around ideally 45 minutes a day, are an essential part of the course. You will receive CDs (or downloads) of guided meditations to support your home practice, and we spend time in class discussing ways of finding time for the formal practices and integrating the informal practices into our daily lives. Many people who have done this course are still doing the mindfulness practices years after the end of the course.
We are not alone with our difficulties
The group setting can in itself be a powerful place for learning as we learn that we are not alone in our difficulties, and learn a lot from each other. However, if the group times or dates, or just the idea of being in a group, does not suit you then I am also available for one-to-one teaching; please contact me to discuss.