On 12 June, Chris Cullen, from the Mindfulness in Schools Project and Oxford Mindfulness Centre gave a workshop by the Exeter Mindfulness Network, University on “Adapting mindfulness for different populations”.
I was inspired. Here was a clear way to make mindfulness accessible to those with a range of needs, from young people to those in highly stressful work situations, while maintaining the essential integrity of the programme. The key message: follow the structure of the well-researched, tried and tested Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy programme.
The workshop was designed for those with training and experience in teaching mindfulness, following the Good Practice guidelines for teaching mindfulness-based courses. While MBCT was designed for preventing relapse into depression, with care and consideration, it can be made applicable to a much wider audience, including the general population itself, and maintain its essential integrity.
When considering how to adapt MBCT, the first step is to bring to mind are the core intentions of the programme itself and to ensure that the teaching is orientated towards these throughout. Then, bearing in mind the particular needs of the target group, the theoretical and practical reasons for making the changes are considered. Essentially, the training aims to empower the participants with mindfulness-based skills to better manage “crux” moments in their lives. These are times when mindfulness skills are drawn upon to respond rather than react, to make ‘wise’ choices, rather get drawn into automatic, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.
These steps are key to the process of developing a well-structured mindfulness programme for a range of populations and needs, and it has been tried and tested in the development of the “.b” (dot-b) programme for teens by the Mindfulness in Schools Project and the Peace in a Frantic World course for in the general population wanting to enhance resilience to stress and promote well-being.