Category Archives: wellbeing

The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs S2E1 on BBC1: how mindfulness can help children with ADHD and their families

Last autumn, I had the fun and privilege of being filmed with Drs Chris van Tulleken (@DoctorChrisVT), Susan Bogels @SusanBogels and Esther De Bruin as part of a documentary “The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs” filmed by Raw TV, an award winning production company, for BBC One.

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(From left to right) Dr Chris van Tulleken (right), me, Susan and Esther after the last session of filming with the parents and children.

I worked with Susan and Esther, the founders of MYmind an intervention that uses mindfulness to help children with ADHD and their families.  My roles was to run the mindful parenting sessions for the parents.  This took place while the children were learning mindfulness with Susan and Esther in another room.  I also created the audio recordings that the parents listened to with their children at home so that they could continue practicing mindfulness during the week, between the sessions.

I am proud and delighted that we were able to help parents use mindfulness to help their children with ADHD develop attention skills, improve emotional regulation and be better able to manage in school.

The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs Series 2 Episode 1 aired on BBC yesterday and if you live in the UK you can still see it on iPlayer here.

It was wonderful to work with the parents of the children and share part of their journey with mindfulness and I hope that their experiences may be shared with others.

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Here I am with the parents who were part of the documentary.

If you are interested in the mindfulness training programme, MyMind for ADHD, you can find out more here.  I was involved because I took part in this training and have experience teaching mindfulness in schools and to children and families.

If you are interested in knowing more about mindfulness, MYmind and ADHD for children and their families, please get in touch with me.

 

Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) training with David Emerson

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David Emerson and Bernadette Carelse at the TCTSY training in Berlin 17 to 20 April 2018.

This month I was in Berlin for the first time, attending the 40-hour training in Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) training with David Emerson.

TCTSY is an evidence based treatment exactly for complex trauma and complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.  It was developed by David Emerson himself, at the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts, since 2003 and has become part of the therapies available at the Justice Resource Institute since 2006.

TCTSY is used with children, young people and adults throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Colombia, Mexico, Israel, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.  I am keen to develop how it is used in the UK, particularly for children and young people.  As a result, following my training in London in TCTSY , I decided to go all the way to Berlin, simply because David Emerson would be there delivering the training himself.

The 40-hour training in TCTSY was held in Berlin from 17 to 20 April 2018.  Berlin is an amazing city with a complex history and it some ways this is exactly what made it such a fitting context for the he training.  It was wonderful to be there with other yoga teachers and therapists learning about TCTSY.

I discovered more about how to integrate TCTSY into my yoga and mindfulness teaching I also gained insight into how this could fit into my work as an educational psychologist (EP).  My casework includes children and young people who have had adverse life experiences (ACEs) and are suffering from trauma as a result.

The training explained how TSTCY can be part of therapeutic work to enable to development of interoception, the ability to notice and be aware of internal body sensations which are often neurologically underdeveloped as a result of the process of surviving ACEs.  Furthermore the traumatic experiences can leave children and young people with limited self-efficacy and the TCTSY approach is empowering in itself and helps to address this.

It is my intention to develop my skills in this area as far as possible due to the research evidence for its efficacy.

Trauma Center Trauma-sensitive Yoga (TCTSY): an empowering, healing and mindful approach to teaching yoga

paperback-book-coverSome of you may have heard of the work of Bessel Van Der Kolk author of “The Body Keeps the Score”.  He explains how children and adults adapt to traumatic experiences and how findings from neuroscience and attachment research can be inform a range of potentially effective treatments for traumatic stress.  Bessel also founded the Trauma Center in Massachusetts, USA where treatments to address complex trauma are developed and tested.

One of the approaches is Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY).  This is an empirically validated, clinical intervention for complex trauma or chronic, treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The TCTSY program is included in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) database.  TCTSY has foundations in Trauma Theory, Attachment Theory, and Neuroscience as well as on central components of the hatha style of yoga, where participants engage in a series of physical forms and movements.

Last month I participated in a 20-hour training in TCTSY run by Alexandra Cat  who is based at the Yoga Clinic, UK.  In this course, I learned how to teach yoga in a way to cultivate a sense of empowerment and a more positive relationship to one’s body, using the TCTSY approach:

  • TCTSY does not use physical hands-on adjustments to influence a participant’s physical form.  Instead, the approach invites participants to be in charge of themselves based on a felt sense of their own body; the participant is empowered.
  • TCTSY enables a focus on the internal experience of a posture, not the external expression or appearance.  There is no ‘right’ way to do a posture, based on external approval or judgment; the participant is empowered to make his or her own choices.

By focusing on the felt sense of the body to inform choice-making, TCTSY allows participants to restore their connection of mind and body and cultivate a sense of agency that is often compromised as a result of trauma.

This training has informed the teaching of yoga that I do and I have started using in it the classes that I teach.  For more information, feel free to contact me.

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What is MBSR? #mindfulness #MBSR

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Practicing mindfulness regularly helps enhance neural pathways in the brain, developing a deeper sense of peacefulness, calm and focus.

What is Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, aka MBSR?  This is the topic of tomorrow night’s Mindfulness Meetup – a taster session being run by Holistic Education CIC.

Substantial research shows that practicing mindfulness regularly can help reduce stress and enhance well-being, confidence and positivity.  Mindfulness is essentially a particular way of paying attention, on purpose and non-judgementally that can enhance the awareness of our experiences, moment by moment.  One of the best ways to learn to practice mindfulness regularly is to attend an MBSR course.

MBSR was originally developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre (USA) in the 1980s. It is a well-researched and evidence-based mindfulness programme that aims to help participants to develop confidence and skills in practicing mindfulness.  It consists of eight sessions (each between 2 and 3 hours long) and an additional all-day of practice.  It includes theory on how mindfulness works and opportunities to practice.  Home practice is an important part of the course and audio files are available to help with this.

Holistic Education runs regular MBSR courses following training by the University of Bangor’s Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice and the UK Network of Mindfulness Teachers Good Practice Guidelines.  The next MBSR course will be on Monday evenings from 6:30pm to 9pm from 18 Jan to 14 Mar 2016 (no session on 15 Feb). Included in the course is an Introduction and Orientation session (11 Jan 2016) and a Mindfulness Practice Day, Saturday 6 March 2016, 9am to 3pm.

Eventbrite - Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in Walthamstow Jan to Mar 2016

My new children’s book: My Mindful Little One – Bedtime

Mindful Little one - coverMy first book on mindfulness is now available for pre-order on Amazon UK   It is called My Mindful Little One: Bedtime and is being  published by Scholastic and will be available in May 2016.  This  children’s picture book is for 3 to 6 years olds – and includes mindfulness practices for them and their parents and carers.  I enjoyed writing it and hope you enjoy reading it to your little loved ones. It has been beautifully illustrated by Paula Bowles too.

This is essentially a delightful way to peacefully connect to the breath and each other, savour the precious moments of the day and before hugging goodnight and gently fall asleep. Click to pre-order a copy.  Please spread the word.

Mindfulness Meetup 13 April 2015: Participant Feedback

Practicing mindfulness regularly helps enhance neural pathways in the brain, developing a deeper sense of peacefulness, clam and focus.

Practicing mindfulness regularly helps enhance neural pathways in the brain, developing a deeper sense of peacefulness, clam and focus.

On Monday 13 April, I ran another Mindfulness Meetup session in Walthamstow.  Here is some of the feedback:

[I gained] “sense of peace”, “understanding of the rapidity and quality of thoughts”.

[what went well was] “being aware of every part of my body – appreciation”. “Mind slowed down – relaxation”.

“I liked how it flowed and clock time seemed to be irrelevant for the whole evening. Useful and relaxing approach to body and mind feel more accepting of my mind!”

“Easy atmosphere”. “I would like to do the eight-week course”.

[What I’ve found useful was] “the introduction of movement to keep the mind focused.”

“It was good to concentrate on the breathing.”

One of the quotes appear to be from someone who had done some mindfulness training before:”All good. Good “revisit” of body/ breath/ sound scan.will attend two emails for more “boosters” to my rudimentary daily practice.”

Would you like to come to one of the Mindfulness Meet ups?  For more information see the mindfulness meet up page.  For more information and to book on the next Mindfulness Meetup please go to the Eventbrite booking page.   Remember that there are discounts for those working in educational settings, students and those on low incomes. for more information about mindfulness meet ups and the promotional codes, please contact me.

Mindfulness Meet Up 23/3/15: Your feedback

Mindfulness Meet Up in Walthamstow are happening nearly every month.

Mindfulness Meet Up in Walthamstow are happening nearly every month.

Mindfulness Meetups started in Walthamstow in 2014.  Thank you to those who have attended so far and thanks to those who came last Monday.  These sessions are designed to get people practicing mindfulness together, whether they are beginners or experienced practitioners.

Last Monday, ten people attended, including myself: five beginners  and five who had done some training such as a Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Course or similar.

We started with a 3-minute Breathing Space, a short time sitting in silence focusing on being here, ‘arriving’ into the present moment more fully as it were.  After the introductions we did a short sitting practice, some Mindful Movement and then a longer sitting practice. Here is some of the feedback:

It was a nice introduction to a variety of mindfulness techniques.

The 20 minutes at the end was good and gave me time to relax, let go.

I really focused on the ‘bringing wellness’ to particular body parts in today’s practice.  It was useful bringing that to specific body parts.

I was good listening to others and observing the difference between those new to the practice and those more experienced.

I enjoyed mindfulness in a group.

I gained a sense of “trust” – effortless effort in bringing our attention to loving ourselves, just focusing on ourselves.

I gained a feeling of calm and relaxation.

I enjoyed feeling more relaxed and felt an understanding of my body.

I learned new ways of practicing – every teacher is different.

I enjoyed the practices.  I feel I’m improving and concentrating on them.

I hope that this feedback inspires you to come along to a Mindfulness Meetup in Walthamstow, a brilliant opportunity to practice mindfulness with others.

Warm wishes,  Bernadette