Mindfulness for Stress Reduction
I am fully qualified and in 2015 graduated from Bangor University with an MSc, with distinction, in Teaching Mindfulness. This is the highest teaching qualification. I adhere to the Good Practice Guidelines. Sadly, with the ‘mindfulness explosion’ in the press, the rush to offer this wonderful approach has sucked a great deal of people into the teaching ‘market’. Please be aware, when looking for a teacher for yourself, that you consider whether the teacher has their own extensive meditation practice, and has more than a 7 day or on-line teacher training.
Often we spend time pushing away things we don’t want and trying to get hold of what we want: this can take a lot of energy and can be the cause of some of the distress we are stuffering from. In the meantime we may be too distracted to notice the joyful moments of our lives.
Mindfulness meditation is paying attention to our experience moment to moment, in a kindly, open hearted way.
Becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations may not sound like an obviously helpful thing to do however, it has surprising results: many people report finding new strength to help make wise decisions about their health and life.
Mindfulness is also known as ‘insight meditation’ and recently it has been extensively researched* and been proven to be of benefit in improving quality of life for many different groups of people.
This course is based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn. Since its inception in the 1970s it has been run across Europe and America. It has benefitted people with depression, cancer, chronic fatigue, anxiety, ME, MS, eating disorders, stress, addiction and specific groups such as pregnant women, victims of violence and prisoners. It is now prescribed by the NHS to prevent relapse after depression.
Mindfulness has been being practiced for more than 2500 years; in the 1970’s Jon Kabat-Zinn from the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, developed the 8-week course known as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). This course been evolving over the last 30 years and uses traditional techniques in a non-religious, and easily usable format. During this time MBSR has been widely researched and a huge evidence base now exists to support its validity in helping people over come the effects of stress, chronic pain, anxiety, and many other conditions. Kabat-Zinn says:
Jon Kabat-Zinn. Full Catastrophe Living . Piatkus. 1990. p 6.
ONE TO ONE
At times for all of us special circumstances arise – an injury, an especially challenging phase of life, a special interest in some specific aspect of the practice. One to one sessions offer an opportunity to explore these specific issues at your own speed, in privacy, with my support.
Drawing on my life long meditation practice and more than 15 years as a yoga teacher I will listen to what you bring and tailor the session to meet your needs.
In yoga you may want to learn how to work in a specific pose, or develop a home practice routine, learn which poses you can adapt to work around a vulnerable area of your body. You may wish to take this information back to your lessons so you can wisely and safely work with your body. It is really fine if you attend weekly classes with a different teacher.
In meditation we all get stuck sometimes – a doubting mind, or a repeating experience can wrong foot us and start to undermine our confidence and may ultimately reduce our discipline to practice.
It may be that you are struggling to get your practice into a routine and need support and encouragement.
You may have had an unusual experience which has interested or scared you.
Or maybe you would just like to treat your self to some time to relax and be cared for in a wonderfully peaceful and tranquil environment.
Whatever your motivation for coming, I promise to create an hour which will meet your needs. I very much look forward to working with you.
One to one sessions last for 1 hour and give you the opportunity to go deeper into your own practice of meditation, yoga or both. They are helded in the beautiful and tranquil environment of my purpose build studio in my garden, which has underfloor heating and a wonderful view.
You will be part of a group of between 10 and 16 people. We will meet for 2 ¼ hours each week to learn various mindfulness techniques and skills to help you manage the effects of stress which may have been undermining your quality of life.
You will be supplied with CDs to lead your home practice.
By the end of the course you will have :
- established a daily meditation practice
- discovered that having a busy mind and a million thoughts does not mean you can’t meditate!
- learnt tools to use in everyday life to be with the precious moments life offers
- learnt tools to prevent the difficulties and unpleasant events life brings from taking over and determining negative experiences
- leant about the way stress impacts on the body and how this can be worked with.
This list is not exhaustive; as individuals we will all have our own experience of stress and our own experience of overcoming its effects. This course embraces the notion of our own uniqueness.
It may be helpful to think of this course as eight weeks of daily meditation practice with a weekly support session. The benefits of mindfulness will only be experienced if you fully commit to the home practices of 45 minutes a day. Please think carefully about whether this is possible for you at the moment.
If you feel that this course might be of benefit to you, please contact me. A telephone consultation is conducted to help you ascertain if this course will meet your specific situation and needs.
You have a real gift as a teacher and ability to enrich lives with what you teach. BP
I’ve found the course to be amazingly useful in very many different ways.
Prior to attending I wasn’t 100% sure what the course entailed but I’m now constantly aware of the benefits it’s brought about. The one thing I found most useful was the group discussions; the sharing of thoughts relating to the meditation, possibly more than the practise itself. It was sharing of a group forum with a heightened sense of listening, sharing and patience.
It’s relatively easy ( I find ) to manage one’s own personal meditation but much harder to find / create a group with the characteristics of the one you brought us all into. I found this more ‘special’ because of it’s rarity. JF.
Susanna is a very caring person and this comes across in her presentation. She is very inspiring as she directs you carefully through the practices. PF.
It has enriched my life immeasurably because I have regained contact with my SELF. I now feel less afraid of everything because meditating has given me the certain knowledge that ‘the centre will hold’. That if everything else were to be taken away from me, the inner me is indestructible. RH.
I wish the course could continue; I will miss it. Chloe
What a wonderful course, made especially so by Susanna – Thank You. BP.
The course has helped me:
…to accept myself as I am. To let it be. Paul
…to learn to have self compassion and be able to calm the nervous system. Anonymous.
…learning that I am not alone with life’s difficulties! Jill
…to be more aware, present. Bella
I came to your Mindfulness sessions in September 2012…
I came to your Mindfulness sessions in September 2012 as a result of a recommendation from Dr Bal Chander at Holt Medical Practice, who had been treating me for depression for a number of months. In fact, I’ve suffered from depression for years and have been prescribed anti-depressants continuously since 1985.
In April 2012 Dr Chander advised me that it could be beneficial to change my prescription as I’d been taking the current anti-depressant for almost 20 years. The change was not straight forward and we had to try several alternatives before we found one that suited me, during which time my mood went seriously down hill.
It was in this context that Dr Chander recommended your course. I was initially reluctant to commit myself because of the daily practice requirement, but allowed myself to be persuaded!
From the very first session that I attended I felt at ease. The gentle, accepting way in which you led each session ensured that I always felt I was among friends and that my contribution was valued. On the few occasions when I felt uncomfortable with a particular practice even then I was still conscious of being in a safe place where it was OK to say what I felt.
The content of the course was a mixture of stuff that I thought I knew already and some things that were unfamiliar; but what was completely new was the context in which they were presented. The course quite simply opened my eyes to a whole new way of being, a new perspective on life, a new way of relating to events, thoughts, feelings etc.
For me the eight week course has been life changing. I’ve struggled with depression for many years and tried many different ways of dealing with it (counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy, etc.); and although each was helpful at the time, their effect has never seemed to be long lasting. I felt in some ways this course was my last chance as nothing else had “worked”.
I found that Mindfulness offers a different approach, one which I feel naturally attuned to. It doesn’t claim to provide answers; it provides a way of being. It doesn’t take away my depression but it allows me to acknowledge it and live with its ups and downs, giving me strategies for getting through the bad times. As a Christian it can also support my spiritual life, since its methodology is so close to contemplative prayer.
In conclusion, I fully intend continuing to practise!
I have recently completed my second Mindfulness Meditation course with Susanna Scamell…
Since having been diagnosed with Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis several years ago – for which there is effectively no allopathic treatment – I have decided to follow a number of different courses of action. Meditation in general, and Mindfulness in particular, is highly recommended by many as a way of strengthening mind and spirit – essential if one is to maintain the positive attitude necessary for optimum health.
As it is not possible to be one’s own ‘control’ in any form of medical experimentation, I can only assume that by following a number of complementary therapies, I am at the very least slowing the (expected) progress of my condition. And I have no hesitation in asserting that MM has helped – and is helping – me to come to terms with my life.
From my position as an ex-teacher and trainer, I am delighted to confirm that Susanna Scamell has demonstrated incomparable skill as the facilitator of both the MM courses I have taken. She is an excellent leader and an endlessly sympathetic listener, who also possesses the happy knack of being able to summarise the occasionally rambling observations of all her students!
Susanna’s teaching has helped me accept feelings of fear and anxiety…
When I first came to Susanna’s course I had been living with feelings of anxiety since childhood. It was normal for me. Although I managed to hide it well on a day-to-day level, this drained my energy and sometimes the anxiety would build up and exhaust me. Over the years, I’ve had counselling to understand the root causes and I’ve learned relaxation techniques and occasionally taken medication to alleviate the physical symptoms. However, since following the course I understand how my anxiety works. I’ve learned how to identify my habitual ways of thinking and to question how I react. Susanna’s teaching has helped me accept feelings of fear and anxiety, and explore new ways of dealing with difficult situations when they arise. I have developed a daily mindfulness practice and now I couldn’t imagine life without this incredible inner resource to cope. Letting go of my anxiety soundtrack has given me new energy and confidence. All the way through the course, Susanna’s gentle and open approach created a very trusting atmosphere in the group. Susanna is a caring and compassionate teacher who values everyone’s contribution and encouraged us at all times to look within ourselves to find our own answers. I would highly recommend both Susanna as a teacher and the 8-week MBSR course. Ms B.
I am very grateful to you in many ways and for encouraging me to do Mindfulness in a group. …
I have always been a shy person but my depression has accentuated and made me more withdrawn and even less likely to engage in anything, let alone group discussions. Despite my initial concerns and trepidation, I am very grateful to you in many ways and for encouraging me to do Mindfulness in a group. Although I found it hard at the beginning to participate, all the people were very friendly and encouraging, by the end I felt more able to join in. I have benefited by hearing from the others what they were experiencing then and there, this gave me the confidence to play a bigger part. Mr J.
Doing your course has helped me to enjoy today better…
Thank you for such a lovely course, I am so glad I finally took the time for myself. I feel now I am able to practice mindfulness and understand it is not about achieving a certain state of mind but being present in the moment you are in . Doing your course has helped me to enjoy today better by not dwelling on yesterday or worrying about tomorrow. Karen
Meditation brought calmness and focus into my day; I found my concentration increased, I slept better and generally I found my self an easier person to be living inside of! Meditation helped me through my first labour allowing me to stay calm and focus on the sensations and moment and not get stuck in difficult thoughts about what was coming next or imagining that the pain was going to get too much to deal with.
Life as a first time mum meant sticking to my previous regime was impossible. At that time I did not understand about the many ways that meditation can be moulded to fit into one’s life and thought my life had to fit meditation. My practice declined. My second labour was very different and served to show me how far my life had drifted from its previously anchored state. I set about resurrecting a meditation practice. I took up TM again but with a less rigid approach and started to explore other forms of spiritual practices: colour therapy, Reiki, crystal healing, channelling to name a few. I also took up yoga (for the full story on that journey, please visit my yoga pages).
In 2000 I started to attend classes with Lita de Alberdi at The School of the Living Light. I went on to become a Light Body graduate and completed a year long Meditation Teacher Training Course. At the same time I moved to Norfolk and started to teach both Iyengar Yoga and Meditation.
My daily meditation practice has now been in place for 25 years (I shudder at that number); during that time I have deepened my practice mainly through the exploration of my own personal experiences in practice and drawn on the wisdom of the many books I have read. One of these was Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I was inspired! One of the issues I have had with teaching meditation is the difficulty that my students have had in establishing and maintaining a daily practice. Jon’s 8 week course aimed at those in distress seemed to hold some clues as to a way to help. In order to teach the 8 week course I attended one myself and here a whole new journey began; one which has been more joyful and rewarding than I could possibly have envisioned.
Mindfulness meditation differs from concentration meditation; it incorporates the ability to find calmness with the skill of becoming aware of what drives behaviour; of being able to sit with the difficulties that life brings, and embodies self compassion. The skills carry over into everyday life and this changes everything!
This 8 week course has the tools within it to bring mindfulness (a specific type of meditation) into daily life in a very accessible way. The course moves meditation from the domain of the spiritual into the realms of the ordinary. It is totally balanced and grounded whereas some schools of meditation can seem a bit ‘way out’ or ‘flaky’.
As a long term meditator I was accepted on to the intensive teacher training programme at Bangor University (the only place in the UK to offer such training). For me, sharing my teaching and my practice with other practitioners has been fantastic. So much so that I went on to study the Master of Science five year part time in Teaching Mindfulness at Bangor University.
Recently I have been practicing Loving Kindness Meditation and bringing this element of compassion into my life has been heart warmingly wonderful. Sharing a sense of one-ness with my family, those close to me and the wider community makes me feel as though I am in the right place doing the right thing – even on the days when things would, to the naked eye, look pretty bleak.
There is now a dedicated publication of Mindfulness Research called : Mindfulness Journal which is published on line.
More than 200 research papers on mindfulness and specific applications are being generated every year . Links to these can be found via Google Scholar, by searching ‘mindfulness’ or ‘mindfulness and your field of interest’.
Recent published research on mindfulness; it may yield information for you relevant to your particular area of interest.
The Mental Health Foundation published a report entitled “The Mindfulness Report” in January 2010. It outlines the supporting evidence for the use of mindfulness in the NHS.
To read about mindfulness:
To order the report (£15):
For further information please visit: http://www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/index.php.en?menu=0&catid=0
Crane, R. (2009). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. East Sussex: Routledge.
Germer, C, K. (2009). The mindful path to self-compassion. New York: Guilford.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2004). Full Catastrophe Living. London: Piatkus. Santorelli, S. (1999). Heal Thy Self. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Segal, Z,V., Williams, J.K.G., Teasdale, J.D. (2002). New York: Guilford.
Kornfield, J. (2002). A Path With Heart. Rider Books.
Williams, M., Teasdale, J., Segal,Z., Kabat-Zinn, J. (2007). The Mindful Way through Depression. New York: Guilford.
Prof Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman. Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world
This link shows Kabat-Zinn Speaking at the UCSD Medical Centre:
and in this one he speaks beautifully on how to find meaning within a life which seems to be hopeless or beyond joy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fpLGpeeW5c&feature=related
This link gives information on Kabat-Zinn:
MBSR has been adapted by Mark Williams (University of Oxford Department of Psychiatry), and others, to work specifically with those suffering from recurrent depression. Mindfulness is integrated with CBT and is called MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy). Mark Williams speaks in a short video clip in this link about MBCT:
In this clip Andrew McCulloch, CEO of the Mental Health Foundation,speaks of the the value of MBCT, and research done into GP’s attitudes towards MBCT:
MINDFULNESS IN THE WORKPLACE