In a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy course, participants meet together as a class with an instructor for 8 weekly 2 – 2 1/2 hour classes, plus one all-day session on Sunday 12th November (Dominican Retreat Centre, Tallaght Village, Dublin 24). Courses of less than 8 weeks duration and 2 hours per class are not recognised as MBSR or MBCT.
The emphasis in these courses is educational. There is ample time for discussion, but, while the course can be very therapeutic, it is not group therapy. Participants learn a different way of being with experience, bringing attention to what is happening here and now, rather than to what may or may not have happened in the past.
The skill of mindfulness is taught through formal and informal mindfulness practices. Formal mindfulness meditation practices include the body scan meditation, mindful movement, sitting meditation and the 3-minute breathing space. Informal mindfulness meditation practice involves integrating mindfulness into every day life.
In each class, participants have an opportunity to talk about their experience of the home practices, the obstacles that inevitably arise, and how to deal with them skillfully. Each class is organized around a theme that is explored through mindfulness practice, group inquiry and other relevant exercises.
As mindfulness training is primarily experiential in nature, the main ‘work’ of the course is done at home between classes, using CDs with guided meditations that support participants developing practice outside of class. This requires devoting approximately 40 minutes per day to home practice. In many ways this commitment to daily practice is the most important aspect of the course. It is through personal experiencingof mindfulness that we come to understand the possibilities it opens for us in our daily lives.
Over the eight weeks of the program, the practices help you to:
become familiar with the workings of your mind, including the ways we avoid or get caught up in difficulties.
notice the times when you are at risk of getting caught in old habits of mind that re-activate downward mood spirals or rachet up anxiety levels.
explore ways of releasing yourself from those old habits and enter a different way of being.
get in touch with a different way of knowing yourself and the world.
notice small beauties and pleasures in the world around you instead of living in your head.
be kind to yourself instead of wishing things were different all the time, or driving yourself to meet impossible goals.
find a way so you don’t have to battle with yourself all the time.
accept yourself as you are, rather than judging yourself all the time.
be able to exercise greater choice in life.
Effects of developing mindfulness include;
Lasting decreases in physical and psychological symptoms
An increased ability to relax
Reductions in pain levels and an enhanced ability to cope with pain that may not go away
Greater energy and enthusiasm for life
An ability to cope more effectively with both short and long-term stressful situations.
Enhanced interpersonal relationships
Increased ability to manage anxiety and depression and/or low mood
Greater sense of meaning and purpose in life
Helen Byrne M.A. Mindfulness-based Approaches, H.Dip.Ed., Post-Grad. Dip.Psych., has a background in education, psychology, family therapy and the community and voluntary sector.
She has worked in education and in community organisations in Ireland, England and Australia. She has been practicing meditation and yoga since 1997 and teaching them since 2004.Helen is teaching on the new M.Sc. in Mindfulness-based Interventions which started in UCD in September 2014.Helen has also completed all trainings with the Center for Mindfulness (CFM) at The University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
She has also trained in supervising mindfulness teachers with Bangor University and now offers this service.Helen continues to develop her practice with regular attendance at retreats and trainings led by world-renowned teachers including Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, Sharon Salzberg, Christina Feldman, John Teasdale, John Peacock and Akincano Mark Weber, among others. She recently participated in a 14-month course in Buddhist Psychology with Gaia House.
Helen teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction / Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation. She teaches introductory mindfulness programmes to people in recovery from addiction and their families, to teenagers and their parents and to teen parents. She teaches workshops to whole school communities and businesses.