The conference workshops

Line drawing of people in discussion against green background

As part of the Future of Mindfulness conference, you can attend one of the six workshops described below. Please read the descriptions here as you will be asked to choose your top three, in order of preference, when you book. Places are limited, but we will do our best to allocate you to your preferred workshop.

A) Cultivating mindfulness in a digital world: Can (and should) we cultivate mindfulness using digital self-help?

Online and smartphone mindfulness self-help programmes and apps are increasingly popular. These claim that mindfulness can be cultivated, with associated benefits to wellbeing and mental health, by engaging with these digital self-help resources. But should this be part of the future of mindfulness? In this research workshop we will explore if digital mindfulness programmes really can help to cultivate mindfulness and what the limits might be. There will plenty of opportunity to ask questions and discuss the implications of learning mindfulness in these ways into the future.

Workshop leads: Professor Clara Strauss, Kate Cavanagh, Heather Taylor and Charlotte Dunkeld

Portrait of Clara Strauss

Clara is Co-Lead (Research) 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). Along with other members of her research team, Clara has been evaluating MBIs for people experiencing depression, OCD and distress due to hearing voices.

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.

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.

Charlotte is a PhD student whose study focuses on factors which affect engagement with digital mindfulness-based interventions (such as smartphone apps and websites), and is supervised by Dr Clara Strauss and Dr Kate Cavanagh. The research is half-funded by the widely-known digital mindfulness-based app, Headspace.

B) What is the future of mindfulness without Buddhism?

Contemporary mindfulness-based courses have emerged from religious contemplative roots. Those traditions have rich and longstanding frameworks to guide practitioners into deep transformation over long time periods. As secular mindfulness matures beyond introductory programmes, what might a deeper mindfulness practice look like? What place, if any, might retreat practice have? By shedding some key aspects of Buddhist heritage, what does contemporary mindfulness lose and gain? What are the possibilities and the pitfalls as the mindfulness community grows a new generation of teachers? Join us for this discussion with three mindfulness teachers, experienced in both mainstream mindfulness-based approaches and in Buddhist practice.

Workshop leads: Bridgette O’Neill, Dheeresh Shinkai Turnbull, Richard Gilpin

Bridgette O'Neill

Bridgette is a clinical psychologist and has taught mindfulness-based approaches in NHS mental health services for staff and clients since 2002. She is a senior lecturer, trainer and supervisor with the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice (CMRP) and the Mindfulness Network (MN) as well as a trainer with the Sussex Mindfulness Centre. Until recently, Bridgette was the retreat lead for the Mindfulness Network.

Dheeresh qualified as a CBT therapist in Oxford in 1998, and began running MBSR courses in 1999.  In 2011-12, Dheeresh went through the Medicine Wheel with the Shuh Shuh Guh, a shamanic course which lasted 18 months. He has also done training in Compassion Focused Therapy and Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living. He has written two books: The CBT-Pot (2013) and The Mindfulness Handbook (2014).  From 2014-2019 he was a senior lecturer in CBT at the Salomon’s Institute for Applied Psychology.

Richard is a mindfulness facilitator, counsellor and CBT therapist. He has trained extensively in mindfulness-based practices since the 1990s and has been facilitating MBCT courses since 2007. He is the author of two self-help books: Mindfulness for Black Dogs and Blue Days (2012) and Mindfulness for Unravelling Anxiety (2016). He also trained and practised with several Buddhist teachers, set up and ran practice centres, and facilitated groups and courses dedicated to mindful living.

C) Future of secular mindfulness: moving beyond the individual to relational

The primary concern of secular mindfulness is individual wellbeing. However, in our present moment, the crises ‘we’ face, socio-political-ecological, go beyond the individual, and can be understood as a failure of relationship. For mindfulness to be relevant to the needs of our times, it must incorporate the interpersonal, social and collective: ‘the relational’. Relational Mindfulness offers a pathway, one that broadens the concentration and insight experienced in individual practice into shared experience. In this way, we cultivate the capacities to relate to each other, the planet and the ‘more-than-human’ through mutual awareness, compassion, wisdom and skill. This experiential workshop will provide an opportunity to taste the practice of relational mindfulness while exploring some of the concerns outlined above.

Workshop lead: Rosalie Dores

ROSALIE DORES

Rosalie is a mindfulness teacher, supervisor and trainer. She is an Insight Dialogue Retreat Teacher (relational meditation). She is dedicated to offering teachings that engage at the interface between ancient wisdom and the challenges of our modern world. She recognises the urgent need for a meditative practice that incorporates the social and interpersonal domains of human experience as intrinsic to awakening. She co-teaches courses and workshops dedicated to raising awareness about climate and social justice.

D) Valuing our skills: Mindfulness for long COVID recovery as a response to ever-changing needs

In mindfulness practice, we become more responsive to our inner world. In this interactive session we explore how this transferable skill also equips us to respond creatively to new challenges in the world around us. Carolyn and Annie will present innovative approaches in their Mindfulness to Support Long Covid Recovery course and research findings on the course by Chichester University. In this workshop we explore the principles by which, as mindfulness practitioners and teachers, we can use our expertise to effectively respond with flexibility and care as new issues emerge.

Workshop leads: Dr Carolyn Drake and Annie Akasati McAuley

Carolyn and Annie co-founded Love Mindfulness in 2016 and have since taught many mindfulness courses and training sessions for organisations and schools. Since 2020 they have co-created the Mindfulness to Support Long Covid Recovery and Mindfulness-based Wise Awareness courses. They are both members of the Triratna Buddhist Order.

Dr Carolyn Drake

Carolyn has a scientific background in cognitive psychology, education and neuropsychology, with a particular interest in brain development and function. She has practical experience in primary education and currently spends part of her year leading meditation retreats in France.

Annie Akasati

Annie has a background in education and has worked as an event organiser putting on outdoor meditation retreats and a Buddhist festival. She is now a freelance mindfulness teacher and writes a blog on themes of mindfulness, compassion and wisdom.

E) Can mindfulness be more than a sticking plaster for refugees, now and in the future?

With war, persecution and environmental disasters forcing people from their homes, tens of thousands of asylum seekers flee to the UK every year. The hostilities don’t end when asylum seekers arrive here. With concerns about limited housing and health services, sections of the UK public have been set against the new arrivals. People seeking asylum get little financial support, and are not allowed to work. Asylum seekers can be detained indefinitely. When granted asylum, refugees face destitution and homelessness.

Given these huge challenges how can help mindfulness possibly help? The Sussex Mindfulness Centre sought to respond to this question when it ran Mindfulness Across Borders, a trauma-adapted course for women asylum seekers and refugees in 2023.

In this workshop, we’ll consider some of the learning from these courses, and explore the questions: “Can mindfulness be more than a sticking plaster for refugees? As facilitators, with no experience of asylum, how do we bring ourselves to the sessions so that we are ‘equal’ and not ‘other’? How can mindfulness counter the ever more hostile environment, in which refugees seek sanctuary.”

Workshop leads: Dr Lana Jackson and Julia Powell

Lana Jackson

Lana is a senior clinical psychologist, yoga therapist, and mindfulness teacher with Sussex Mindfulness Centre. Lana has a special interest in nature-connection and trauma-informed therapy and practice with children, young people and adults.

Julia Powell

Julia trained to be a mindfulness teacher in 2017, after a campaign and communications career in international development, social justice and human rights. Julia teaches mindfulness with under-served communities. Julia runs mindfulness courses and coaching for people living with dementia, their carers, and for refugees and asylum seekers.

F) Frazzled Café: It’s Okay to not be Okay

Frazzled Café was founded in 2017 by Ruby Wax, OBE. Since its inception, Frazzled has provided such in person and online space to more than 16,500 people in multiple weekly groups. Frazzled is based on mindful awareness which forms the foundation of the confidential space where people can be present in the moment in a non-judgemental way and talk about the overwhelming stresses of modern life. Each meeting opens and closes with a short mindfulness exercise after which attendees are invited to ‘explain what the weather conditions are like in your head’ as Ruby says. This workshop will enable participants to learn more about the service both via discussion between a Frazzled facilitator and a regular attendee and will also be invited to participate in a live group.

Workshops leads: Damian White, Nora Young

Portrait picture of Nora Young

Nora has been a regular Frazzled Café attendee since its inception in 2017. She is an artist and maker, experiencing the joys and dilemmas of relating within her family, with her age and her work.

Portrait picture of Damian White

Damian has been a Frazzled Café facilitator since its inception in 2017. He is an accredited Existential Psychotherapist and tutor at the University of Oxford with a background in International Humanitarian work and domestic Social Work.

Find out more about the conference, the keynote speakers here and how to book here.