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Mindfulness for Wellbeing (Mindfulness-Based CognitiveTherapy)

Tutor: Annie Akasati McAuley
Location: Evolution Arts, 2 Sillwood Terrace, Brighton BN1 2LR
Next start date: Friday 3 May 2019
  • Discover valuable tools to reduce stress and improve your quality of life
  • A life-enhancing exploration of our individual, direct experience
  • Supportive group atmosphere and trainers
  • The original mindfulness course, developed by Jon Kabat Zinn; open to all

What does this course cover?

On this course we learn to cultivate present-moment awareness with the help of guided meditation practices, practical exercises on relevant themes, inquiry and discussion. Participants explore their responses to both the joys and the challenges of life; finding new strategies for dealing with difficulties. A valuable opportunity to train the mind, cultivating greater focus, clarity and calm both within the sessions and in our everyday lives, with the help of guided audio recordings for home practice.

We all know the benefits of physical exercise on our wellbeing, however our states of mind often have just as much impact on how we feel as our physical health. Coming on a mindfulness course is a valuable opportunity to train the mind, cultivating greater focus, clarity and calm both within the sessions and in our everyday lives, with the help of guided audio recordings for home practice.

If you're interested in this 8-week course then do check out our FREE Mindfulness for Wellbeing Taster Workshop which could help you decide if this course is for you.

Information Sheet - please click here and read before booking on the course.

Information for people thinking about booking on the course

This course is suitable for anyone who has suffered low moods or stress and anxiety, although not for people who are currently clinically depressed. It is a course to help people develop practical skills that can help them stay well and be part of their strategy to prevent future relapse into low moods. The course is not ‘therapy’in the usual sense. Meditation specialists rather than medical professionals run the course. So, it will not provide ongoing general or professional support and should not be related to as an alternative to seeking professional medical help or advice. The following notes are designed to help you get a sense of the approach that the course will take. Please read them carefully if you are intending to book on it. Please note there is a special introduction (orientation) session before the course starts at which you will be able to ask for further information, ask questions or raise concerns.

Some reasons for not doing an MBCT course just now
Mindfulness-based approaches to depression, anxiety or stress are not always suitable for everyone. The points below are intended to offer you guidance about this but please feel free to discuss any particular issues raised by them with the tutor directly:

• Generally, someone experiencing strong current depression may find it difficult to find the motivation to attend the sessions and/or do the home practice which is such an important part of the process. In addition, MBCT is not suitable for those with more complex psychological conditions such as psychosis or borderline personality disorders.

• This course is also best done when you have no particular extra stresses in your life. Making the time to practise mindfulness at home for 8 weeks can in itself be stressful! It is important to be realistic about this and to consider any other sources of stress eg starting a new job or a family, commuting, moving house, planned health procedures.

• Turning our attention inwards can be soothing and rewarding but at times, it can also be challenging; contacting aspects of ourselves that we may have avoided or pushed away may be difficult. If there has been a recent or unprocessed loss or trauma (eg bereavement or divorce), it is advisable to explore this with the tutor before or at the first orientation session.

• Also, a dependence on alcohol or recreational drugs may make the course too challenging or much less effective (if in doubt about his please make sure you speak with the tutor)

• Lastly, It is also good to check that you will be able to attend the 8 sessions. Please discuss with the tutor if work commitments or holidays are likely to prevent attendance.

Prevention of future states of low mood
The purpose of the course is to improve your chance of preventing further states of low mood or anxiety. In the 8 sessions, you will learn skills to help you handle your thoughts and feelings differently. You will learn these skills in a class with others (there will be a team of two facilitators). In eight sessions, the classes will meet to learn new ways of dealing with what goes on in our minds, and to share and review experiences with other class members. Each group will have a maximum of 16 students.

The Importance of Practice
Together we will be working to change patterns of mind that often have been around for a long time. These patterns may have become a habit. We can only expect to succeed in making changes if we put time and effort into learning and practising skills. There will therefore be some home practice for you to do between class meetings. This practice will take up to an hour a day, six days a week for eight weeks, and involves tasks such as listening to CDs, performing brief exercises, and so on. We appreciate that it is often very difficult to find that amount of time for something new in lives that may be already very busy and crowded. However, the commitment to spend time on home practice is an important part of the class if you wish to gain the maximum benefits from the course.

Facing Difficulties
The classes and the home assignments can teach you how to be more fully aware and present in each moment of life. The good news is that this makes life more interesting, vivid and fulfilling. On the other hand, this means facing what is present, even when it is unpleasant and difficult. In practice you will find that turning to face and acknowledge difficulties is the most effective way, in the long run, to reduce unhappiness. It is also central to preventing further experiences of low mood. Seeing unpleasant feelings, thoughts, or experiences clearly, as they arise, means that you will be in much better shape to ‘nip them in the bud’, before they progress to becoming more intense or persistent. In the classes you will learn gentle ways to face difficulties, and will be supported by the facilitators and other class members.

Patience and Persistence
Because we will be working to change well established habits of mind, you will be putting in a lot of time and effort. The effects of this effort may only become apparent later. In many ways, it is like gardening - we have to prepare the ground, plant the seeds, ensure that they are adequately watered and nourished, and then wait patiently for results. In the same way, we ask you to approach the classes in this course and the home practice with a spirit of patience and persistence, committing yourself to putting in time and effort into the course, while accepting that the fruits of your efforts may not show straight away.

The Therapy issue
Although the course has therapeutic benefits, the facilitators are meditation teachers and not therapists. You may however wish to talk through the idea of doing this course with medical or social work professionals with whom you are already in contact. If in any doubt, we recommend that you talk it through with your GP.

Annie Akasati McAuley

Annie Akasati McAuley has been practicing mindfulness for over three decades and has taught mindfulness and meditation since the late '90s in a variety of contexts including courses, retreats and schools. Annie has a background in Buddhist meditation and philosophy, but has enjoyed training more recently to pass on the ancient skills of mindfulness practice in a contemporary, secular context. 

For more details about Annie and her colleague Carolyn Drake, please see https://www.lovemindfulness.co.uk/ or follow them on https://www.facebook.com/lovemindfullness/ for regular mindfulness tips, updates and events.