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Our team

Sussex Mindfulness Centre leads

  • Clara Strauss

    Clara Strauss

    Clara is the Research Lead for the Sussex Mindfulness Centre. She is a consultant clinical psychologist, mindfulness teacher and clinical researcher. In her research, Clara is particularly interested in developing and evaluating new forms of mindfulness-based intervention (MBI), especially for those people who may not be willing or able to access MBCT. Along with other members of her research team, Clara has been evaluating MBIs for people experiencing depression, for people distressed by hearing voices and for people experiencing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This research has also included research with NHS staff, university students and the wider population.

  • Robert Marx

    Robert Marx

    Robert is the Training and Governance Lead for the Sussex Mindfulness Centre. He is a consultant clinical psychologist and has been involved in running mindfulness groups for staff and patients since 2006. He also trains and supervises others doing mindfulness work. He is interested in relational mindfulness and in adaptations of Mindfulness-based Interventions using compassion practices.

Sussex Partnership Directors

  • Adrian Whittington

    Adrian Whittington

    Adrian Whittington is Joint Director of Psychology and Psychological Therapies and Director of Education and Training at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. A Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Adrian is passionate about delivering evidence-based psychological interventions to more people who can benefit. Adrian has been involved alongside colleagues in establishing the Sussex Mindfulness Centre. Adrian leads on education and Training for the Trust.; In his clinical practice Adrian specialises in trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Mark Hayward

    Mark Hayward

    Mark Hayward is Director of Research at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and supports the research activity of the Sussex Mindfulness Centre. He played a key part in the establishment of the SMC.

SMC Trainers

  • Taravajra


    Taravajra has been teaching MBCT in Sussex since 2005 to community groups, carers, teachers and NHS staff groups.He gained a Masters degree in mindfulness based approaches in 2010 at Bangor University. Since 2011, he has been part of the core training team at Bangor, teaching on the Masters programme and teacher training retreats (TTR1) and offering supervision. He also holds a British Wheel of Yoga teaching diploma and is a Focusing practitioner. He is one of the main trainers on the Foundation training for Sussex Mindfulness Centre.

    Taravajra is interested in mindful movement, which was gained initially through tai ch’i, Alexander Technique and karate. After training with the British Wheel of Yoga, he taught yoga for several years. He has also had a long term practice of aikido and has trained as a Focusing practitioner.

  • Bridgette O'Neill

    Bridgette O'Neill

    Bridgette is a mindfulness teacher and supervisor, and a consultant clinical psychologist. She previously held a leadership position within Sussex Partnership and has been involved in the development and governance of mindfulness interventions in the Trust. Bridgette is the convenor for the Sussex Mindfulness Centre’s Foundation and Adapted MBI training programmes. She also provides supervision and teaching 8-week courses for Sussex Partnership staff and service users.

SMC Researchers

  • Kate Cavanagh

    Kate Cavanagh

    Kate is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Sussex, and Honorary Clinical Psychologist in Sussex Partnership NHS Trust. Her research interests include increasing access to evidence-based psychological therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness-based interventions, in particular via e-mental health and other self-help resources. Kate is the University of Sussex lead for the Sussex Mindfulness Centre, and collaborates with Dr. Clara Strauss on research projects exploring briefer mindfulness-based interventions and mindfulness-based self-help approaches.

  • Helga Dittmar

    Helga Dittmar

    I am an applied social psychologist, working at the University of Sussex. My research focuses on how consumer culture influences people’s well-being and mental health, outlined in my book Consumer Culture, Identity, and Well-being. I am working with Kate Cavanagh and the two SMC Directors, Clara Strauss and Robert Marx, on a research study examining whether mindfulness can help make people more resilient against consumer culture pressures. This mindfulness intervention, a randomised control trial, has received funding from the School of Psychology at Sussex.

  • Fergal Jones

    Fergal Jones

    Fergal Jones is a clinical psychologist and cognitive behavioural therapist who completed mindfulness teacher training at the University of Bangor. He currently works part time in Health in Mind, the primary care well-being service that serves East Sussex. He uses mindfulness in his clinical work, supervises other mindfulness teachers and is involved with a number of research projects concerning mindfulness-based interventions.

SMC Doctoral Students

  • Moitree Banerjee

    Moitree Banerjee

    Moitree successfully completed her PhD student at the University of Sussex in 2016, supervised by Clara Strauss and Kate Cavanagh. Her research interests include the understanding the facets of engagement in mindfulness interventions and how these can be measured. She is also interested in identifying the factors associated with engagement in mindfulness interventions and how these can be improved.

  • Hannah Droscher

    Hannah Droscher

    Hannah has completed her clinical psychology training at Canterbury Christ Church University (Salmons), supervised by Clara Strauss, Fergal Jones and Kate Cavanagh. For her major research project Hannah evaluated a feasibility randomised controlled trial of a brief mindfulness course in adult secondary care mental health services.

  • Jenny Gu

    Jenny Gu

    Jenny is a final year PhD student at the University of Sussex, supervised by Clara Strauss and Kate Cavanagh. Her research interests include understanding how mindfulness-based interventions improve mental health and wellbeing. She is currently working on developing a new questionnaire measure of compassion (towards other and the self).

  • Emily Ironmonger

    Emily Ironmonger

    Emily is a trainee clinical psychologist at Canterbury Christ Church University (Salmons), supervised by Clara Strauss, Fergal Jones and Kate Cavanagh. For her major research project Emily is running a randomised controlled trial of a self-help MBCT course for NHS staff.

  • Tamara Leeuwerik

    Tamara Leeuwerik

    Tamara is a second year PhD student at the University of Sussex, supervised by Clara Strauss and Kate Cavanagh. Tamara is exploring the potential of mindfulness courses for people experiencing obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

  • Heather Taylor

    Heather Taylor

    Heather is a final year PhD student at the University of Sussex, supervised by Clara Strauss and Kate Cavanagh. Heather’s research is focusing on evaluating mindfulness-based self-help resources.

Sussex Partnership-employed MBCT teachers

  • Heather Ball

    Heather Ball

    Heather is a Psychiatric Nurse and Cognitive-Behavioural Therapist working in secondary care mental health with people who experience severe and enduring difficulties. Alongside running formal 8-week Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy groups for SPFT clients, she has been involved in Mindfulness for Voices Groups and the Brief Mindfulness Interventions trial. Heather was also involved in the Mindfulness for Life research trial for Sussex Partnership staff, through Oxford Mindfulness Centre. She regularly runs MBCT drop-in sessions at the Sussex Education Centre, Brighton Buddhist Centre, and a mindfulness drop-in for SPFT staff at East Brighton Mental Health Centre. She is also a supervisor of mindfulness teachers. She also gains inspiration from poetry and nature.

  • Catherine Cameron

    Catherine Cameron

    Catherine is a clinical psychologist working in the department of pain medicine at Hove Polyclinic, where she runs mindfulness for pain groups. She has a particular interest in mindfulness and self compassion in pain. She is a member of the mindfulness practice network, and is involved in the all days run for those who have attended the 8 week courses within the trust. She presented on mindfulness in pain at the 2013 SMC conference and will be offering a master class on mindfulness and pain in the autumn.

  • Lucy Edwards

    Lucy Edwards

    Lucy is a Clinical Psychologist working in secondary care adult mental health services within the Trust since 2003. Lucy’s relationship with mindfulness developed from experiencing its benefits firsthand. She integrates mindfulness into her clinical work and in 2015 completed her mindfulnes teacher training at the Sussex Mindfulness Centre. She teaches 8 week mindfulness courses, as well as being involved in the all day and drop in events at the Sussex Education Centre.

  • Lana Jackson

    Lana Jackson

    Lana is a Clinical Psychologist, Mindfulness Teacher, and Yoga Therapist for Mental Health specialising in Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH) and Paediatric Clinical Psychology in Brighton. Over the last three years she has co-developed, co-facilitated and evaluated an eight-week adapted MBCT programme for young people (14-19 years) with stress, anxiety and low mood within CAMHS. Lana is currently taking this work into the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital where she is developing and delivering mindfulness and yoga workshops and groups for young people with chronic pain and long-term physical health challenges. Lana also runs staff MBCT courses, mindfulness workshops, and training for professionals working with children, young people and families.

  • Lynn Ley

    Lynn Ley

    Lynn has been facilitating Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Groups (MBCT) within Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust since 2008. Within Health in Mind, there is a rolling eight week MBCT program, and Lynn holds groups in Lewes, Hastings, and Eastbourne/ Hailsham. As with all teachers of MBCT within Sussex Partnership Trust, Lynn has a personal meditation practice which she has found life-enhancing. She also contributes to the mindfulness-based interventions practice network group.

  • Warren Matofsky

    Warren Matofsky

    Warren has a long term practice and research interest in group process that enriched his experience of training as a mindfulness teacher with the SMC.  His current focus is in facilitating MBCT groups for parents & carers of families using CAMH services and engaging CAMHS staff with the possibilities of mindfulness based interventions.

  • Carolyn Pollak

    Carolyn Pollak

    Carolyn trained to be a mindfulness teacher at the University of Bangor in 2009. She has worked in Sussex Partnership for over 11 years - in that time she has initiated a drop-in Mindfulness weekly mindfulness session in the women’s acute ward at Mill View Hospital, and in addition she works with Lynn Ley as a Mindfulness Practitioner for Health in Mind, co-facilitating the 8-week MBCT course in East Brighton and offering groups in Lewes and Hailsham.

  • Jo Rockwood

    Jo Rockwood

    Jo is a cognitive behavioural therapist working for Brighton and Hove Wellbeing Service. As part of her role within this service she regularly co facilitates mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) courses.

  • Susan Whiting

    Susan Whiting

    Susan has been facilitating Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy groups since training as a mindfulness teacher with the Sussex Mindfulness Centre in 2011, and supports the drop-in mindfulness sessions and silent all days for SMC.  Her clinical work is mainly in the specialist older adult mental health services in Brighton & Hove, and Susan has been involved in researching the benefits of MBCT for older people and has also been delivering adapted group based mindfulness interventions for people experiencing dementia and their family and carers. Susan is Consultant Clinical Psychologist and has a lead role within Psychology and Psychological Therapy community adult mental health services.

  • Sue Huggett

    Sue Huggett

    Sue is a Senior Counselling Psychologist who has been working in  Secondary Care Adult Mental Health Services within the Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust since 1998. She was introduced to Mindfulness six years ago joining an eight-week Staff MBCT course. Experiencing great benefits from this, in 2015 she completed the one-year MBCT Teacher Training Programme provided by the Sussex Mindfulness Centre. She now facilitates eight-week MBCT Courses within the North West Sussex Secondary Care Service.

  • Brenda Davis

    Brenda Davis

    Brenda is a consultant clinical psychologist and lead for mindfulness in Sussex Partnership CAMHS services.  She has developed a new adaptation of MBCT for young people and plays a national role convening mindfulness teachers working with young people. 

  • Hannah Denton

    Hannah Denton

    Hannah Denton is a Counselling Psychologist working within Adult Mental Health in Sussex Partnership.  Following a personal interest in mindfulness and yoga she trained as an MBCT teacher with the Sussex Mindfulness Centre in 2011.  She has been teaching MBCT courses since as well as regularly facilitating drop in sessions for staff. 

  • Sarah Pratap

    Sarah Pratap

    Sarah is a Clinical Psychologist who works within Adult Mental Health in Brighton and Hove. Sarah trained as a mindfulness teacher with the Sussex Mindfulness Centre in 2011 and since then has facilitated mindfulness for voices and MBCT groups. Sarah uses variety of approaches in her individual clinical work and enjoys integrating aspects of mindfulness into this work where it is helpful.

  • Hazel Ragoonanan

    Hazel Ragoonanan

    Hazel is a nurse by background and now works as a mindfulness teacher in the Group Treatment Services in Brighton.

  • Miranda Rose

    Miranda is a clinical nurse specialist and team leader in CAMHS, East Susssex. She has a long standing interest in mindfulness and personal meditation practice over the past 30 years. Miranda completed her MBCT teacher training in 2015 and now facilitates mindfulness courses for adolescents experiencing clinically significant episodes of anxiety and low mood within the CAMHS service.

  • Ruth Sequeira

    Ruth Sequeira

    Ruth is a Mindfulness Teacher and Primary Mental Health Worker at the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in East Sussex. Ruth has a longstanding interest in mindfulness and meditation and is passionate about increasing access to mindfulness courses in different populations. Ruth facilitates adapted Mindfulness courses for adolescents and parents/carers of CAMHS service users. Ruth also facilitates Mindfulness courses for professionals working with young people in the education, voluntary and health sectors and for Sussex Partnership staff.

  • Liz Stapleton

    Liz Stapleton

    Liz is a Psychiatric Nurse and has trained as a CBT therapist. She currently works in the Secondary Care Mental Health service with people who experience severe and enduring difficulties. In 2015 she completed a Mindfulness Teacher Training Course at Sussex Mindfulness Centre. She teaches eight-week Mindfulness courses and is involved in the All Day and Drop In events at Sussex Educational Centre.

  • Michael Swan

    Michael Swan

    Michael Swan has practiced mindfulness since the mid 1990’s and has been a mindfulness teacher since 2007. He is a practicing clinical psychologist in Sussex Partnership’s Assessment and Treatment Service and he also facilitates the weekly staff mindfulness drop-ins at Mill View Hospital. Michael enjoys nature and walking outdoors and has a keen interest in ecotherapy.

  • Claire Deaves

    Claire Deaves

    Claire Deaves has worked as a CBT therapist at Health in Mind in East Sussex since 2008. She trained as a mindfulness teacher in 2017 and runs courses for clients at Health in Mind in Eastbourne. Claire has been practicing meditation since 2006. Claire is interested in cooking, reading and walking in the countryside.

  • Jo Chittenden

    Jo Chittenden

    Jo works as an Occupational Therapist in the Sussex Partnership’s low secure forensic inpatient service in Chichester.  She is a passionate advocate for developing new models of patient care and trained as an occupational therapist in part so she could offer Mindfulness within the health service.  Jo has a committed practice of 25 years and has trained with a number of teachers worldwide.  Jo offers drop in Mindfulness sessions to staff and patients in the secure service and is working towards a model that better suits forensic inpatients.  Jo also offers regular MBSR/CT courses to staff at the Office of National Statistics and supports individuals in their practice.

  • Andy Cable

    Andy Cable

    I trained as a Mindfulness instructor with the Sussex Mindfulness Centre and Sussex Partnership in 2017. I am employed as a Psychological Therapist with the High Weald Lewes and Havens Assessment and Treatment Service, at Uckfield Hospital, and my clinical background is that of an Art Therapist, and also an RMN. I am greatly influenced by creativity in therapy and its uses for facilitating change and healing, My other interests include homemade wine making, herbal remedies, and studying Biblical Hebrew along with Spanish as a language. I also love science fiction, particularly Star Trek, and the amazing use of the genre for social commentary.

  • Ruth Kendall

    Ruth Kendall

    Ruth trained at the Sussex Mindfulness Centre in 2017 after recognising the benefits of mindfulness on a personal level, as well as for the young people, parents, and staff she worked with. Ruth is keen to develop mindfulness workshops and groups for parents in Paediatrics and has a growing interest in trauma and the body.

The following are Sussex Partnership employed Mindfulness-based Interventions practitioners

  • Mandy Nicholson

  • Mary Bond

  • Erika Langen

  • Gemma Davies

  • Hilary Whitehall

  • Kate Axford

  • Martin Stent

  • Tamara Leeuwerick

  • Fliss Boulton

  • Stuart Clark

SMC Mindfulness teacher associates

  • Claire Cole

    Claire Cole

    I have a background in Social Work and Counselling and continue to work in both these fields on an independent basis. I developed an interest in Mindfulness approximately 10 years ago and trained to teach MBCT through Sussex Mindfulness Centre in 2011. Mindfulness meditation supports me in my daily life and I have a particular interest in running groups with teachers, NHS staff and foster carers. 

  • Kate Gooch

    Kate Gooch

    Kate Gooch holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Mindfulness Based Approaches from Bangor University (2012) and has taught Mindfulness since 2007. She teaches the general population, clinical populations, and carers, as well as delivering courses in educational settings and the workplace. She’s trained in .b, .b Foundations, and MYRIAD, in addition to being a Mindfulness supervisor for the Mindfulness Network. She also has a Speech and Language Therapy background.

  • Ed Halliwell

    Ed Halliwell

    Ed leads public mindfulness courses, workshops and retreats in Sussex, London and Surrey, and has introduced and taught mindfulness in many organisations. He is the author of Into The Heart of Mindfulness, and Mindfulness: How To Live Well By Paying Attention, and co-author of The Mindful Manifesto. He is also an advisor to and former co-director of The Mindfulness Initiative, which is supporting the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mindfulness (MAPPG) to develop mindfulness-based policies for the UK. His website is

  • Jiva Mashader

    Jiva Mashader

    Jiva has an MSc in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapies from Exeter University and has gone through the strict assessment involved in gaining her Certificate of Competence in Teaching Mindfulness Based Approaches from the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University. She has taught the 8-week mindfulness course over 80 times both to groups and 1-1 and worked with a wide variety of people from all ages and backgrounds. 
    Jiva is also a mindfulness supervisor, both on Exeter University’s MSc programme in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapies, through the Mindfulness Network CIC and privately. She recently taught for a research trial at Sussex University and is part of the MYRIAD trial at Oxford Centre for Mindfulness, as well as mentoring for Bangor University’s Teacher Training Pathway.
    She has been practising mindfulness since 1997 and has seen herself becoming calmer, happier and more emotionally stable over that time.

  • Nicky Mouat

    Nicky Mouat

    Nicky is a Mental Health Nurse and Mindfulness teacher. She works in the NHS at Pavilions Drug and Alcohol Service, where she has been facilitating Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention courses, and holding a weekly drop in for Service. Users and Staff. She has been teaching MBCT for the Wellbeing Service, and Recovery College in Brighton. She is also part of the Myriad Mindfulness in Schools Research Project, and will be involved in teaching Mindfulness for Life to teachers in Sussex Schools in 2017. She has a particular interest in working with Service Users with ‘Dual Diagnosis’ (Substance Misuse and Mental Health Issues), and the way that Mindfulness can be helpful to this client group.

  • Ann Pelling

    Ann Pelling

    Ann is a mindfulness teacher and supervisor and a chartered counselling psychologist. She has been involved in both supporting and facilitating MBCT courses for clients within SPFT since 2006. Ann now works as a associate of the Sussex Mindfulness Centre, providing supervision and teaching 8 week courses for staff and clients.

  • Bethan Roberts

    Bethan Roberts

    Bethan is one of the Core Trainers at Bangor University’s Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice (CMRP) teaching teacher training retreats and offering supervision. She has been teaching 8-week ‘Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction’ (MBSR) courses since 2008 and has taught Mindfulness in a variety of organisations including the NHS, the Welsh Assembly, Families First Projects and the Office for National Statistics. She has also been teaching Mindfulness to distance learners since 2010. Bethan is also a Mental Health First Aid Instructor (approved in 2008) and teaches courses on mental health at Cardiff University as well running training on mental health and unconscious bias for the Civil Service.

Mindfulness Advocates

  • Helga Dittmar

    Helga Dittmar

    I see the way I am now, and the way my life is now, as a testament to the transformative and healing power of mindfulness. It is not a path for the faint-hearted if, like me, you come from a particularly dark place. Like the panther in Rilke’s poem, I existed in a cage for many years, behind bars of emotional distress, loneliness, and livelessness. What I learnt in the MBCT courses, the way mindfulness was embodied by the teachers, and my own daily mindfulness practice combined to give me the strength, clarity, and courage, to free myself into a new existence, where there is joy, connectedness with others, and emotional expressiveness. Life will always have its challenges, but I have never felt more alive; in my work, in my relationships, and - maybe above all - in re-finding, sharing, and living, music.

  • Mike Hales

    Mike Hales

    Diagnosed with recurrent depression, Mike participated in the Trust’s 8-week programme of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in 2009 and is delighted by the contribution that it made to his ability to establish and maintain wellbeing. This has also led him to explore approaches to the cultivation of compassion and self-compassion. He is very impressed by mindfulness based interventions in contrast with CBT and antidepressant medication, especially the way that they may enable a person to deal with things in-the-body rather than in-the-head, as a form of self-care, without ongoing dependence on medical expertise and medicines. The MBCT induction into mindfulness practice has been a life-changer. Mike is also impressed by the way that the Sussex Mindfulness Centre has developed, with many trained practitioners now, a regime of professional supervision, an annual conference, an expanding body of research in-progress and professional-development master-classes. Well done you guys in the Practice Network!

  • Helen Leigh-Phippard

    Helen is a former long-term user of SPFT services. She took the Trust’s MBCT course several years ago and mindfulness has continued to be an essential and valued part her daily life ever since. Helen currently represents the interests of service users on SPFT’s Mindfulness Practice Network.

  • Julia Racster-Szostak

SMC administration

  • Caroline Windley

    Caroline Windley

    Caroline oversees administration for various professional education courses, including the Mindfulness Masterclasses and staff groups. Her role involves managing application forms, tracking bookings, booking venues and  extracting data for reports for Mindfulness events.

  • Paula Bellers

    Paula Bellers

    Paula is Business and Communications Manager for the Sussex Mindfulness Centre. She was fortunate to take part in an 8-week staff mindfulness course (funded by Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex) in 2018.  Paula is responsible for spreading the word about mindfulness research, training and events . She supports the business side of the SMC by reaching out to external companies to encourage them to invest in mindfulness training and support from us. If you would like to learn more about how we can bring mindfulness to your company, please contact us:

  • Kathryn Gjorgjiev

    Kathryn Gjorgjiev

    Kathryn joined us as a psychology graduate intern at Sussex Partnership in summer 2018. She is working on mindfulness course evaluations and reports, the Sussex Mindfulness Centre newsletter, the Sussex Mindfulness Centre annual conference and helping facilitate an 8-week MBCT course. Kathryn became interested in mindfulness since being introduced to it in a health setting and then learning how effective it is for long term outcomes in her studies. Kathryn is also interested in how mindfulness can help a wide variety of patients, including those with long-term health conditions and young people.

  • Megan Hughes

    Megan is a Psychology Undergraduate Placement Student at Sussex Mindfulness Centre. Her work includes:

    • evaluating staff and service user MBCT courses to see if they are helpful, which aspects are helpful and areas where we can improve
    • assisting on research trials including LightMIND, a study looking at whether guided low-intensity self-help might be useful for people with depression.