Mindfulness-based teaching & supervision
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Science & Theory of Mindfulness

When humans are distressed we tend to try to solve both the problem that triggered the distress and get rid of the uncomfortable thoughts, physical feelings and emotions that make up the distress.

If this doesn't resolve the distress quite quickly, we end up ruminating on the problem and distress, blending in past memories, future negative consequences, usually with a strong flavour of self criticism. This exacerbates our distress. We may engage in unhelpful coping strategies (for example, substance misuse, over/under eating, promiscuity, avoidance, disconnection from pleasures and supportive people) to numb and cope with the distress.

These thought and behavioural coping strategies can become quite automatic and habitual, eroding the quality of our lives over time.

With regular mindfulness-based meditation and reflection we learn to be more aware of our unhelpful habits (we all have them!) and therefore more able to respond to these thoughts and feelings with friendliness and helpful actions, rather than falling back on unhelpful, habitual coping strategies.

On the flipside of this, we may gradually learn that blocking, denying or avoiding our distress can also accidentally lead to the blocking of other, positive emotional states, such as joy, contentment, optimism and creativity. Rebalancing our limited attentional resources through mindfulness-based meditation allows us to more deeply savour and appreciate our positive experiences.

Academic References

On the role of rumination

Perestelo-Perez, L., Barraca, J., Penate, W., Rivero-Santana, A., & Alvarez-Perez, Y. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of depressive rumination: Systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 17(3), 282-295.

The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, Jon Kabat- Zinn

On the role of compassion

Kuyken, W., Watkins, E., Holden, E., White, K., Taylor, R. S., Byford, S., Evans, A., Radford, S., Teasdale, J.D., & Dalgleish, T. (2010). How does mindfulness-based cognitive therapy work?. Behaviour research and therapy, 48(11), 1105-1112.

Gilbert, P. (2014). The origins and nature of compassion focused therapy. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 53(1), 6-41.

Neff, K. (2017). Self Compassion (website). Retrieved March 2018, from https://self-compassion.org

Gilbert, P. (2010). The compassionate mind: A new approach to life's challenges. New Harbinger Publications.

Van den Brink, E., & Koster, F. (2015). Mindfulness-based compassionate living: a new training programme to deepen mindfulness with heartfulness. Routledge.

On the role of positive emotions

Garland, E. L., Farb, N. A., R. Goldin, P., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2015). Mindfulness broadens awareness and builds eudaimonic meaning: A process model of mindful positive emotion regulation. Psychological inquiry, 26(4), 293-314.

General

Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis. Journal of psychosomatic research, 57(1), 35-43.

Acknowledgements

As Isaac Newton wrote in his 1675 letter to fellow scientist Robert Hooke 'If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants....' This sentiment is relevant to the list below of literature, research and training that has shaped my own mindfulness-based teaching and practice. I have drawn on these texts throughout the content of this website. I am very thankful to everyone involved in the development and distribution of these works.

Oxford Mindfulness Foundation (OMF), in particular my Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT-L) for Life trainers Paul Bernard and Jo Cromarty.

OMC's MBCT-L Teacher manual and participant course handbooks.

Crane, R. (2017). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: Distinctive features. Routledge.

Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2013). Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression. Second Edition. Guilford Press: New York.

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world. Hachette UK.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2013). Full Catastrophe Living. London: Piatkus. (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for depression was based on this. This book is more focused on managing chronic pain and illnesses)

McCown, D. (2013). The Ethical Space of Mindfulness in Clinical Practice. An Exploratory Essay. Jessica Kingsley Publishers: London.

Vidyamala Burch and her colleagues at Breathworks https://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk

Bargh, J. A., & Chartrand, T. L. (1999). The unbearable automaticity of being. American psychologist, 54(7), 462.

wiemken, m. (2012) Fading Self into Path: Behaviorism, Mindfulness, Zen, and Happiness.

Finally, I would like to thank all my tutors at the University of Bangor for their commitment and support to my learning, that of others and the cause of mindfulness-based work.