Is the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course appropriate for me?

MBSR has been found to be effective in promoting health and wellbeing for individuals facing a wide variety of challenges. However, MBSR may not be an appropriate choice for you at this time, whereas mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) might be.

This may be the case if you are dealing with:

  1. An acute medical condition requiring frequent intervention or treatment

  2. Substance abuse or dependence (currently or within the past year).

  3. Psychological issues including suicidality; psychosis, trauma, severe recurrent clinical depression or other major psychiatric diagnoses.

Is the course religious?

The course is not religious in any way. Whilst mindfulness and the meditation practices taught in the 8 week course are rooted in Buddhist psychology, they have been adapted specifically to be delivered in a secular context. Mindfulness training is open to people of any religious persuasion or none, and offers a rigorous and coherent philosophy of life, through meditative practices that make an actual difference to our lives in the here and now

What is the evidence that mindfulness works?

Over the past few decades, randomised-controlled trials of MBSR have shown that mindfulness-based approaches are effective in managing stress, anxiety and depression, as well as improving people’s relationships, sharpening attention and aiding self-regulation.

Mindfulness-based approaches have also been shown to empower and reduce symptom perception among patients with physical health problems, including chronic pain, heart disease, cancer, gastrointestinal disorders and high blood pressure, as well as improving immune system functioning.

Mindfulness based approaches have also been adapted for use with a wide range of special interest groups.

Mindfulness is widely accepted as a practice that cultivates mental capacity to see clearly the consequences of our thoughts and actions, and to learn which lead to harm and suffering and which do not.

How much work does the course entail?

Participants are encouraged to prepare to do at least 45 minutes practice per day during the 8 weeks of the course.  This can be challenging for a lot of people but regular practice delivers the best results in any new training routine and mindfulness is no different.  Life changing results can be achieved but a degree of commitment and dedication is a great support in this programme.  It might be worth contemplating the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of the MBSR course, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it for the 8 weeks, and then decide whether it is useful or not”

Is there any ongoing support once the course is over?

Yes.  There will be regular refresher sessions to help keep your practice alive.  Plus I will supply a reading list and information on retreat centres etc that can help you deepen your practice if you feel this is right for you.

Useful Web Sites: 

University of Bangor Centre for Mindfulness:

University of Massachusetts Centre for Mindfulness:

Mental Health Foundation:

Clinical Evidence on How MBSR Can Ease Symptoms of Stress & Anxiety