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Foundations of Mindfulness Retreat

22 September at 16:00 to 27 September at 14:00

The grounds at Ammerdown Retreat Centre

Deepen your mindfulness practice using the framework of the four Foundations of Mindfulness (satipatthana) and the Four Divine Abidings (brahma vihara). Join us at the Amerdown Retreat Centre, near Bath for this five-day retreat, which is led by Kay Octigan, Robert Marx, Chris Barker and Ruth Sequeira.

The retreat

Drawing on Buddhist conceptualisations of the nature of experience, suffering and the self, the retreat will offer a bridge into contemporary secular mindfulness practice, teaching and life. The retreat will use a traditional retreat structure which allows us to simplify our life in order to see more clearly how we relate to ourselves and the world, and to respond with kindness and compassion.

There will be periods of teaching, guided and unguided practice, dialogue and unstructured time. Most of the week will be held in silence with opportunities to meet the trainers one-to-one and for peer sharing groups.

Where and when is it?  

The retreat is at the beautiful Ammerdown Retreat Centre, near Bath. The retreat starts on Sunday, 22 September and finishes at 14.00 on Friday, 27 September 2024. You can arrive between 16.00 and 18.00 on the Sunday.

Who is the retreat for? 

The retreat is suitable for mindfulness teachers in training, qualified mindfulness teachers and those simply wanting to deepen their practice and bridge contemplative wisdom traditions and secular practice and teaching.

The retreat counts towards your training in mindfulness-based approaches with the Sussex Mindfulness Centre or NHS Talking Therapies. If you are applying to, or renewing your membership on the BAMBA register, this retreat meets the requirement for mindfulness teachers to do an annual, mostly silent retreat.

What requirements are there to attend?

Completion of the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (or similar eight-week) programme and participation in at least one day of guided silent mindfulness practice. Please ensure you are able to attend the entire retreat from start to finish. If this is not possible, please contact us at smc@spft.nhs.uk to discuss before submitting your application.

How should I prepare?

We will offer a short online orientation meeting a few weeks before the retreat to help you think about the optimal conditions to support you in the retreat. A zoom link will be sent nearer to the start date for this.

Retreat leaders

As with all Sussex Mindfulness Centre retreats, events and training, we have an exceptionally experienced group of mindfulness teachers supporting you at this retreat. Find out more about your teachers below.

Robert Marx
Portrait of Robert Marx

Robert Marx is co-lead for the Sussex Mindfulness Centre, lead for the MBCT in NHS Talking Therapies training centres collaboration. He is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist and has been teaching mindfulness groups to patients and staff in the NHS for almost 20 years. He teaches MBCT and Mindful Self-Compassion. He is a longstanding Buddhist practitioner, initially in the Theravadan tradition and then in the Tibetan tradition. He is passionate about compassionate culture-building in organisations. 

Kay Octigan
Portrait of Kay Octigan

Kay Octigan has practiced meditation and yoga for over 30 years and until recently, worked as a research therapist and MBCT teacher, trainer and supervisor with the AccEPT Clinic at the University of Exeter. She is now in private practice supervision through The Mindfulness Network. She also works as a trainer with the MBCT in NHS Talking Therapies. Kay is inspired in teaching and personal practice by participants and supervisees, music and poetry.

Chris Barker
Portrait of Chris Barker on of the retreat trainers

Chris Barker leads mindfulness for the National Centre for Integrative Medicine, based in Bristol, as well as the BAMBA MBCT-Cancer Special Interest Group. His main mindfulness work is with those living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis.

Chris discovered in 2012 how transformative mindfulness can be when he was a stressed Head of Department in a large secondary school. Seeing how much it had changed his life he now teaches mindfulness to school children, and leads international training courses for other school teachers to do likewise. He also teaches mindfulness to health and social care staff.

Ruth Sequeira
Portrait of Ruth Sequeira

Ruth Sequeira is a senior trainer, supervisor and mindfulness teacher for the Sussex Mindfulness Centre. She is also a psychological therapist and the Mindfulness and Compassion Training and Retreat Lead at the Mindfulness Network. Ruth has a history of working in mental health services and until recently worked as a Clinical Lead in the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Sussex. Ruth has a longstanding interest in mindfulness, meditation and movement, and is passionate about increasing access to mindfulness courses in different populations.

How much does it cost? 

If you book by 30 June 2024 you can get the Early Bird discount and pay £850. From 1 July 2024 onwards the cost is £950.

This price is inclusive of accommodation, meals and guidance.

If you are in this year’s intake of MBCT in NHS Talking Therapies training the cost is covered by NHS England. However, if you cancel within three months of the start date, you are liable for the full cost. Please see the cancellation policy below.

How do I apply?

  1. Please complete and submit the application form. The purpose of this is to understand what we need to know to support you properly during the retreat. If we have any concerns about anything in your form, we will contact you directly. You can find the application form by clicking here.
  2. On offering you a place, we will issue a confirmation if you are on the current MBCT in NHS Talking Therapies training (2024 – 25 – cohort 6), or an invoice for the full amount, if not.
  3. If you are paying, your place is confirmed once we receive full payment. Please note the terms below for refunds.
  4. If you are unable to pay the full fee now, we can offer you the chance to pay in up to three instalments.

What is the cancellation policy?

You may withdraw your application up to three months prior to the event start date at which point you will be offered a full refund, minus the £50 admin fee.

If you cancel your place less than three months before the start date, no refund will be available. If you received an NHS England funded place and you cancel less than three months before the start, you will be liable for the full payment.

In the unlikely event that the event has to be cancelled by us, we will offer an alternative retreat, either residential or online, or a refund. Our liability is limited to crediting only our event fees, and not any personal expenses you may have incurred.

Ammerdown Retreat Centre
Radstock, Somerset BA3 5SW United Kingdom
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01761 433709
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