Mindfulness based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for coping better with low mood, stress and anxiety
Tutors: Kate Gooch, and Taravajra
Location: Evolution Arts, 2 Sillwood Terrace, Brighton & Hove BN1 2LR
Next start dates:
Thursday evening 27 April 2017
Thursday afternoon 04 May 2017
- Discover how Mindfulness can enrich and enhance your life on a daily basis.
- Using Mindfulness combined with some exercises from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), you can equip yourself with valuable tools to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
- No experience necessary, this course is supportive, rewarding and suitable for all levels.
What does this course cover?
Over the course of 9 weeks, you'll learn to work more effectively with low moods such as depression, anxiety or stress as well as discovering how to be more 'present' in the moment.
Using MBCT (explained fully below), you'll be taught how to approach any issues life throws at you, as well as helping to prevent negative thought cycles and reduce stress.
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention, of being deeply attuned to ourselves, the environment, and those around us. It’s a natural state of mind, and being mindful can enrich our lives by making us more alive in each moment. Rooted in the ancient art of meditation, mindfulness can be learned and practiced by anyone, regardless of experience.
M.B.C.T. (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) is an approach developed in the 1990s by three cognitive therapy specialists in an internationally linked programme of research into the prevention of depression. It is also applicable for people who experience anxiety, or anyone who wishes to learn how to meditate and be more present in life.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the pioneers of mindfulness in modern health care settings, comments:
"If you learn how to open to thoughts and feelings and not try to shut them off or change them, you can then taste a degree of freedom where you are not necessarily plagued by obsessive or difficult thoughts because you know they are just bubbles in the stream of thought and they are not the reality."
Before booking it's important you have a look at the information sheet. Please scroll down this page and click on the pink link just before Testimonials.
It is also recommended that you join the all day session:
Eight week mindfulness courses such as MBCT often include an all day session of practice after week 5 or 6. This helps participants to gain a deeper understanding of mindfulness. Evolution will now be offering students the opportunity to attend one of these “all day” sessions - details will be available nearer the time.
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.
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.
Taravajra has been teaching mindfulness meditation courses for many years and holds a Masters degree in Mindfulness-based Approached in Healthcare from Bangor University. He is on the teaching staff at the university's CMRP (Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice) as a supervisor and trainer of Mindfulness teachers. Since 2011 he has been training NHS clinicians and other teachers in Sussex. Find out more at www.mindfulhealth.co.uk.
Kate has been teaching Mindfulness for seven years and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Mindfulness from Bangor University. She is also a Speech and Language Therapist and has taught Mindfulness to carers, school children, teachers, Speech and Language Therapists, adults who stammer, and adults with acquired brain injury, as well as to the general public. She has been meditating for over 20 years. Find out more at mindfulness4life.co.uk
A few years ago I came across this saying: "if you don't change direction, you'll end up where you're going"
That really struck a chord because I was feeling stuck in some areas of my life, doing the same old, same old, too many times. Same people, same pubs, same drinking too much too often, same dysfunctional relationships, same stupid arguments with family members and so on.
But what was changing was that deep down I was noticing. I was noticing that I'd stopped feeling comfortable doing the same old and that I was looking to change. But how? Leaving the old behind and opening up and moving towards the new is easier said than done. It's a sticky path and many, many times I found myself going back to the old and familiar, no matter how rubbish it made me feel. And then I came across Mindfulness and took the MBCT course. Without a doubt the tools and techniques I learned on this course have helped me along the way and continue to help me in my everyday life in many ways, for I feel better equipped to respond more intelligently to the inevitable challenges that life presents.
I am more relaxed, less anxious. I drink less, a lot less in fact and I am more discerning about how I spend my time and who I spend it with. If I'm in a situation where I feel uncomfortable I now do something about it, whereas previously I might have forgotten that I even had a choice. I'm less inclined to worry about what other people may think and a lot less likely to 'imagine the worst'. Both simply and profoundly, Mindfulness has helped me to begin to turn away from that which no longer serves me and to open up to that which feels more nourishing, more 'me'. And whilst I still get it wrong some of the time, I'm less likely to beat myself up when I do. Jenny
The whole course was excellent, well structured. Resources (CDs and workbook) very good. I can't praise the delivery highly enough. Katherine
I’m able to deal with stress in my daily life more effectively. I have learnt practicial tools which will be helpful over a lifetime for living more effectively. David
The course was better than I could ever have imagined, and I really appreciated being helped to hear the teacher, as I am deaf. Anonymous