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Mindfulness course for carers

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a way of living with a full and rich awareness, a way of stepping out of automatic pilot and unconscious mental habits, and coming into the present moment with a skilful and kind attention.  It is a simple but profound training in attention and awareness that is a combination of meditation techniques deriving from ancient contemplative traditions brought together with aspects of modern psychotherapy. By paying mindful attention to sensations in the body, and to thoughts and feelings as they arise, it is possible to develop a day-to-day awareness that is more balanced and centred, even when circumstances of life may be difficult.

What is a mindfulness based stress reduction course?

Mindfulness based stress reduction, or MBSR, is a tried and tested, structured course that teaches participants how to practice mindfulness through simple meditation and yoga practices. Developed over the past 30 years, mindfulness has been extensively researched and found to have helped many people deal with a wide range of difficulties from chronic pain to mental distress. It also offers a way of developing positive mental qualities and mental wellbeing. Mindfulness has been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to help prevent relapse in depression. It is taught in a non-religious and non-spiritual context and does not require belief in any spiritual tradition.

Who is the course for?

This course has been created specifically for carers of people with mental health problems in Southwark. It is known that carers can face significant challenges while caring for a family member or friend with mental health problems, and that this can negatively impact their own health. It is hoped that participants on this course will be able to learn a practice that will help them look after their own health and well being. Participants must be over 18 years of age and fluent in spoken and written English (all the instructions and materials provided will be in English). To help us find out if this course is helpful and practical for carers we would like to ask participants to complete brief questionnaires about the course.

What happens on the course?

The programme consists of one orientation session followed by eight two hour sessions in consecutive weeks. You will learn the skill of mindfulness using experiential exercises and gentle yoga movements alongside a variety of mindful meditations. This will be supported through teaching and group discussion. Participants will be encouraged to develop their own daily mindfulness practice and will be given a practice to do at home 6 out of 7 days, for approximately 45 minutes per day. You will be provided with audio CDs and a workbook. In joining the course you will be making a commitment, as best you can, to attending all sessions and doing the daily home practice. Making time for this can, at times, feel stressful but we encourage you to work with these difficulties, they are an important part of your journey.

The course leaders

Jim Clark is a Community Mental Health Nurse in SLaM who has practiced meditation for 10 years, has taught meditation in the local community for four years, and also offers meditation sessions for staff and service users at the Maudsley Sanctuary. He has completed a Mindfulness Teacher Development training with the Bangor Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice.

Mary-Jo Doyle is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in SLaM who also has an extensive personal meditation practice and has completed the Bangor Mindfulness Teacher Development training.

Course details

Dates: nine weeks in total (one orientation session followed by eight course sessions) from 19th August to 14th October, 6pm to 8pm.

Venue: Jamyang Buddhist Centre, The Old Courthouse, 43 Renfrew Rd, Kennington SE11 4NA.

Cost: Free to carers of mental health service users in Southwark

How to apply:

Please use the application form below.

The course leaders will look at the applications, and may need to contact you prior to the start of the course.

If you would like to speak to someone about this course you can contact Jim Clark on 07976 205 649 or

jim.clark@slam.nhs.uk or Mary-Jo Doyle on  mary-jo.doyle@slam.nhs.uk Monday–Friday 9am–5pm.

Mindfulness course for carers_application form final

Find us

Southwark Carers
3rd Floor, Walworth Methodist Church,
54 Camberwell Road, London, SE5 0EN
View map and directions

Contact us

020 7708 4497

Find us

Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).

Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle

Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45