8 week Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course
Mindfulness benefits us in four ways: body awareness, self-awareness, regulation of emotion and regulation of attention.
“One’s life repertoire is made of many experiences.
Despite a few episodes of maybe insecurity, possibly fear, definitely procrastination, I chose meditation.
I’m glad I did it; meditation didn’t teach me to switch off, it taught to switch on, to be aware, to be myself, to allow myself and to let it go.
The group, the practice, the facilitator, the exchange ideas are now part my life repertoire and that was just the best part, now, the rest is up to you…
Rui (Autumn 2015 course participant)
NEXT 8 WEEK COURSE
Time: 7.00 – 9.30pm
Venue: Kennington Park Centre,
40 St Agnes Place SE11 4BE, London
MAP (please note that this is a new building and if you goto street view you will only see an empty building plot!)
Nearest tube: Oval (Northern Line)
A limited number of concessionary places of £200 are available for those in need but priority will be given to students and those on sickness or unemployment benefit.
A deposit of £100 is required to confirm your place on the course as numbers are limited. The remaining amount to be paid two weeks before the start of the course or you can pay the full amount on booking. If it is easier to pay in instalments running up to the start of the course we can also discuss that. Please use the contact form at the bottom of this page to make any enquiries or email firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Throughout the course, Nick provided participants with a series of meditation tools including body scanning, guided meditation and group discussion, all of which are very useful for applying in everyday life. I found Nick’s mindfulness course to be exceptionally beneficial for helping me to manage my anxiety. Given my positive experience, I have been recommending this course to anyone who is looking to slow down, focus and regain balance in their life’ – Ashley (Autumn 2015 course participant)
Over the 8 weeks:
- Learn how self-critical thoughts can sabotage your well-being, and how to alter your relationship to them
- Experience being in the present moment rather than lost in thoughts about the past and future
- Explore how to engage with the things in your life that nourish you and lead to creativity rather than be pulled down by depleting, repetitive and automatic behaviour
- Learn to be at peace with your experience as it is right now rather than the endless struggle to fix oneself or find peace somewhere in the future
We meet over 8 Wednesday evenings in a small group of up to 20 people. Once the course starts no new members will be able to join and this builds up a trust and familiarity within the group that enables exploration of the course themes and sharing of experiences.
Each week starts with a guided meditation and we then have time to share in pairs, to discuss within the whole group and to engage with various topics and guided exercises that take you deeper into your experience of mindfulness and seeing how your mind creates how you see the world – and how changing your mind and perceptions of events can in fact change your world.
Think of it as a detox for your mind and heart! Recent research has found that a regular practice of at least 10 minutes a day helps in many ways to counteract the ill effects of our hectic modern world:
- reducing stress,
- creating a stronger immune system,
- lowering blood pressure naturally,
- improved sleep quality,
- reducing the effects of ageing on the brain
- peace of mind.
More details of the course and an overview of each week are at the bottom of this page. .
Here’s what previous course members are saying about their experience:
“I found Nick to be excellent, informative and easy to understand and listen to. It was a real eye opener for me to sit within a group and listen to people that have shared similar experiences. I feel less alone in my ruminative tendencies and am happy that I have been exposed to ways to deal with this.”
N.S. Place of work: Music agency
“Anxiety was blighting my life. The course quickly showed me ways to relax, to gain clarity and to find peace. As it did for all participants.
Three years on I am still reaping benefits; less anxious, more calm, more focused and better able to deal with the ups and downs of life.
I look forward to my daily meditation and feel thankful to have participated in the course.”
“Nick was open warm and extremely effective at putting us at ease and changing the way we think for the better.
I could not have asked for a better teacher. I continue to use the things I have learnt today.
I am more relaxed yet more effective in all aspects of my life (strange but true).”
“Since completing Nick’s mindfulness course I have found myself reacting and dealing with the world in different and much more useful ways.
After years of procrastination am so glad I did this.”
Finding the venue:
Nick has over 25 year’s experience of mindfulness practice. Initially learning to meditate when he was 20 by attending the Cambridge Buddhist Centre he then set up the University of Hull meditation society whilst an undergraduate. On graduating Nick moved into a Buddhist community in Cambridge. After three years of urban community life Nick ordained at a UK based Buddhist monastery and lived there for 6 years as a Buddhist monk.
After leaving the monastery and moving to London in 2004 Nick set up a weekly meditation group in 2009 that now attracts up to 40 member every Monday, and in 2012 completed the teacher training course for MBCT.
Apart from week 1 each evening starts with a guided mindfulness of breathing meditation. The summary below shows what additional meditations are taught each week. This format is subject to slight changes and alterations
Meditation:Body scan meditation – learning to place our attention in the body.
Theme: Auto pilot. The mind often follows habitual routes of thinking. Through practicing mindful breathing we can start to notice thoughts and learn to disengage our attention from those that are repetitive and lead to negative moods.
Meditation: Body scan and Mindfulness of Breathing
Theme: What is mindfulness? A discussion drawing on your experience form the previous week.
Meditation 1: Meditating on sounds – rather than letting noises be a distraction in this meditation they are made the focus of your attention, observing them as volume, pitch and duration rather than allowing the mind to label them as pleasant or unpleasant.
Meditation 2: Mindful movement. Gentle movement exercises that allow you to practice bringing mindfulness to your experience as you move. This is important as it allows you to learn how to bring mindfulness in to an activity rather than see it as something you only do sitting with your eyes closed.
Theme: approach system versus avoidance system. We can approach a task in one of two ways and how we approach it has been found to have an effect on our creative abilities and sense of well being within the task and after it. An approach based attitude leads to more energy and problem solving abilities, whereas the avoidance mode shuts down creativity and even if the task is completed leaves you feeling depleted. The discussion this week looks at these two modes and how to use mindfulness to cultivate the more creative approach.
Meditation 1: sounds and thought. Just as sounds arise and fade away in the same way thoughts can be allowed to arise and pass away. This meditation reminds you to hold lightly to thoughts rather than allow them to dominate in the meditation.
Meditation 2: breathing space meditation. This is a short meditation which may be no more than 3 minutes long. It is often one that participants find most useful as it can be used at any point in the day as a a way of stopping and punctuating the flow of experience.
Theme: Fight, flight or freeze – a short discussion about the ancient mechanism that evolved to keep us safe at times of danger but that left unchecked can lead to ill health anddisease. Mindfulness is the means of turning this fear based survival instinct off when it is not needed and instead initiating the rest and recover mode which supports good health and recovery.
Meditation: Exploring difficulty meditation. Previously in the mindful breathing meditation the instruction was to gently guide attention back to the breath whenever you noticed it was caught up in thinking. This week we look at what to do when we notice we are caught up in difficult or fearful emotions or thoughts. Rather than analyzing or trying to find a solution, this approach encourages simply noticing what you are feeling in your body associated with the difficult thought or emotion. You can then imagine breathing into this sensation and allow the breath to hold it. This allows you to change your attitude to a difficult experience from wanting it to go to being willing to simply witness it.
Theme: Acceptance: being with difficulty rather than running from it or fighting it.
Meditation: Loving Kindness. This powerful practice enables us to explore relating to ourselves and others with an attitude of patient and loving attention.
Theme: Thoughts are not facts – seeing how thoughts can be like rumors: repeated often enough we may believe them even if they hold no truth!
Meditation: Walking meditation. Learning how to bring mindfulness in to a daily activity.
Theme: The exhaustion funnel. How negative thinking leads to a downward spiral and a discussion of CBT methods for engaging with thought so that you can regain control.
This week there is no new meditation or set theme. The time is used to meditate and discuss anything arising from participants experience of the course. The last part of the evening focuses on how to maintain practice after the course. Participant discuss in pairs what practices they found most helpful and how they intend to create a meditation routine away from the support of the 8 week course.