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The ABC Practical Mindfulness Course Chris Trepka 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "The ABC Practical Mindfulness Course Chris Trepka 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 The ABC Practical Mindfulness Course Chris Trepka 2009

2 Why am I here, doing this?

3 I need mindfulness

4 We need mindfulness

5 The ABC we didnt learn at school

6 Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn

7 FacetsExample items ObservingI notice the smells and aromas of things DescribingI am good at finding words to describe my feelings Acting with awarenessI find myself doing things without paying attention (R) Non-judging of inner experience I think some of my emotions are bad or inappropriate and I should not feel them (R) Non-reactivity to inner experience I perceive my feelings and emotions without having to react to them 5 facets of mindfulness (Baer et al)

8 What is mindfulness really? It is a fools errand scientifically to try to understand what mindfulness really is, if by that one means whatever is being described by the prescientific, lay concept mindfulness. Hayes & Plumb

9 What is the function of mindfulness? Attempting to change the impact of thoughts or feelings requires changing the context in which those events occur. Mindfulness seeks to do just that by changing the observers relationship to their thoughts and other private experiences rather than changing belief in thought content Hayes & Plumb

10 Mindfulness from the bottom up Human Language and Cognition is Based on Learned Derived Relations Derived Relational Learning Greatly Expands the Capacity for Human Pain We Try to Solve the Problem of Pain by an Over- extension of Problem Solving The Overextensions of Verbal Relations are better Regulated by Changes in the Functions of Private Experiences [in comparison with more Verbal Problem Solving or Verbally Guided Challenges to the Content of Private Experience]

11 In less technical language… 1.We learn to think relationally, 2.which works instrumentally, 3.but increases our access to pain, and causes misery when applied to our own insides. 4.you cannot rein in this kind of judgment judgmentally, 5.but you can learn to do so mindfully, with resulting broad and deep benefits, especially when it is part of a pattern of values-based action.

12 ACT and mindfulness A set of skills to increase psychological flexibility 4 hexaflex processes provide a working definition of mindfulness: contacting present moment, acceptance, defusion, self as context 2 other processes intertwined – mindfulness enhances values work and effective action

13 Psychological Flexibility The Primary ACT Model of Treatment

14 Mindfulness training - how accessible? Courses are experiential and emphasise extensive practice hence not suitable for participants with psychosis, depression, anxiety... Course leader needs personal mindfulness practice and a mindful presence Buddhist influence brings an implicit spiritual element

15 Limitations to mindfulness training in 1:1 ACT Individual therapy does not provide the optimal context for learning mindfulness skills Insufficient opportunities to practice mindfulness in the optimal learning context of an experiential group

16 My influences Kevin Polks Togus Intensive Outpatient Program – iView (and now the Grid!) – Noticing: a proxy for mindfulness & self as context Russ Harris The Happiness Trap Robert Fritzs The Path of Least Resistance My wonderful colleagues, Lorna Mundy, Helen Clarke and others

17 Physical Self Thinking Self Three Senses of Self – Russ Harris version of the iView Observing Self VITALITY Values Effective Action Ineffective Action SUFFERING Struggle

18 STRUGGLEVALUES YOU SENSORY EXPERIENCE MENTAL EXPERIENCE The Grid – adapted from Kevin Polk

19 Noticing (Kevin Polk) We long ago found that most people did not like the formal mindfulness practice and they did not keep it up after they left the program. Now we just have them notice, notice, notice in each of the groups we do If someone asks a question, we almost always answer the question in terms of giving him or her credit for noticing Using this method we never disagree with clients about much of anything. We just say yes, thats it and head toward the iView Its safe to say we say the word Noticing or Notice at least 1000 times in four days

20 The path of least resistance Robert Fritz – a musician not a psychologist Sigmund Freud was a doctor (orientation to alleviating disease not creating health) The usual responding or reacting tends to lead to inertia or oscillation Alternatively become the creative force in your own life Creating as a conscious act sets up a different energy – between your desired result and what currently exists

21 A – Awareness of whats here Expanding awareness of experience: – Sensations – Perceptions – Emotions – Cognitions – Urges Beginners mind Just noticing

22 B – Being with whats here Open, curious, accepting Patiently allowing things to unfold in their own time Allowing emotions and sensations to open Noticing what the mind is doing and what urges arise without going with that Holding what is here (lightly) and letting go of wanting to alter anything Another B – Breathing with whats here

23 C – Choosing what to do with it More control over – what you do in the present environment – where you place your attention This is where freedom actually exists The illusion of freedom to think, feel, want, have things be so, change the past or future Two other Cs – Creating – Caring

24 1 – Introduction Welcome, introductions, ground rules Orientation talk – Circles diagram – You noticing is not a thing and has no limits – Why I need mindfulness – Qualities of mindful noticing – The ABC – Course outline Awareness of feet and hands exercise

25 2 – Your body and the world Reflections on the week Breathing exercise Body awareness Noticing the world exercise Breathing to connect exercise

26 3 – Doing and Feeling Walking exercise Raisins exercise Expansion exercise Urge surfing exercise

27 4 – Your mind Thought watching exercise Time travelling exercise Leaves on a stream exercise Nodding to and letting go exercise

28 The time line Distant Past Recent Past Present Near Future Distant Future

29 5 – Choosing, creating, caring Values exercise Eyes on exercise Creativity exercise

30 6 – Follow-up How is this working for you? Body awareness exercise Expansion exercise Walking exercise

31 The initial pilot 6 service users, 3 therapists Introduction 4 weekly sessions Follow up

32 Outcome impressions The therapists learned something So did some of the clients Dropout is a barrier Person in a crisis is a barrier Quiet clients may need more help to engage well The talkative person helps everyone

33 Limitations of the pilot sample Clients who remain very entrenched in problems Clients Im trying to detach from A highly avoidant client found the course increasingly aversive

34 Is this worth pursuing?

35 Ideas for a more formal pilot Try the main course within a whole day? Try with clean and less entrenched clients Potentiate and back up with more scripts and handouts Use MAAS, AAQ, CORE-10, Progress Q Compare effects with those waiting, and follow-up Assess if other therapy progresses better

36 References Baer, R. A. (2003). Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: a conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, (10)2, Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Lykins, E., Button, D., Krietemeyer, J., Sauer, S., et al. (2008). Construct validity of the five facet mindfulness questionnaire in meditating and nonmeditating samples. Assessment, 15, Fritz R (1989) The Path of Least Resistance. Ballantine. Harris R (2007) The Happiness Trap. Robinson Kabat-Zinn J (2005) Coming to Our Senses. Piatkus.

37 References – ACT theory Fletcher, L. & Hayes, S. C. (2005). Relational Frame Theory, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and a functional analytic definition of mindfulness. Journal of Rational Emotive and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, 23, Hayes, S. C., & Plumb, J. C. (2007) Mindfulness from the Bottom Up: Providing an Inductive Framework for Understanding Mindfulness Processes and their Application to Human Suffering. Psychological Inquiry, 18(4), Hayes, S. C., & Wilson, K. G. (2003). Mindfulness: Method and process. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, Hayes, S. C., & Shenk, C. (2004). Operationalizing mindfulness without unnecessary attachments. Clinical psychology: Science and practice, 11,


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