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Mindfulness and Compassion
The Mindful Way to Reducing Stress  

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"I am amazed that mindfulness is not yet mainstream.  It's applications and principles cross every generation in dealing with the stressors of modern daily life.  As a Psychiatrist I can see its value with all service users I come across in my day to day practice.  It should be as widely available through the NHS as antidepressants and therapy as a treatment option.  Personally it has been one of the best things I have encountered.  It has made me a more thoughtful person, a better doctor, mum and wife"

Consultant Psychiatrist /

MBCT course participant


“I had attended an introduction to mindfulness session, so at the beginning of the 8 week MBSR course I felt like I had 2 or 3 pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that I was interested to find out more about.  Now at the end, I feel like I have between 70 and 80 pieces of what could be a 200 – 300 piece puzzle.  I can see the gaps though and have some idea of how they may be filled over time and with continued meditation practice.  I’ve also become conscious of the need to guard against trying to jam pieces in the wrong place and the importance of letting my understanding continue to grow over time”.

GP/MBSR course delegate




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Mindfulness has been shown to result in a substantial reduction in use of GP services amongst participants

(Mental Health Foundation Mindfulness Report) and is increasingly being recognised as a proactive and cost effective way of addressing the underlying causes of the

estimated 70% of GP visits which are for stress-related complaints (International Stress Management Association).   






Information for GPs and Healthcare Professionals


On this page: What is Mindfulness * NICE Guidance * Research * Some Misconceptions * Mindfulness Based Interventions *

Introducing Mindfulness to Patients * Referring Patients * Training for GPs and Healthcare Professionals *  Further Information


What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is an integrative, mind-body based approach which involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings so we become more aware of them, less enmeshed in them, and better able to manage them. It is not positive psychology, a means of escaping unpleasant feelings or a relaxation exercise, but an approach to life that can help people relate more skilfully to thoughts, emotions and body sensations as they arise.  Although commonly associated with Buddhism, developments in psychology and neuroscience support mindfulness as being an inherent part of the human mind that can be developed and enhanced through non-religous meditative practice. 



Our understanding of the brain has been completely rewritten over the past three decades with advances in technology and neuro-scientific evidence continuing to support the beneficial effects of mindfulness on both mental health and physical health.  As the graph (Mindfulness Research 2011) shows research into mindfulness has grown exponentially in recent years. 

Please use this link for recommended general reading, and links to research references including depression, anxiety, pain, eating disorders, OCD and immune function. 


NICE Guidance

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy* is recommended in NICE guidelines as a treatment of choice for recurrent depression

Several clinical trials have shown that MBCT is effective for people prone to depression...

          • In a study of 145 patients with recurrent depression who were in remission, only 37% of patients who took part in an MBCT course relapsed over the following year, compared to 66% in a control group (Teesdale et al., 2000).
          • Another study showed that MBCT reduced relapse rates by more than a half over 12 months (36% of patients in the MBCT group relapsed, versus 78% of the control group (Ma and Teesdale, 2004).
          • A recent trial found that MBCT was more effective in preventing relapse than maintenance anti-depressant treatment alone and better at improving quality of life (Kuyken et al., 2008).

The British Journal of Psychiatry article “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: a promising new approach to preventing depressive relapse” provides further information for GPs wishing to consider the rationale and research behind MBCT.


Some Misconceptions...

Mindfulness is NOT Mindfulness IS
  • Emptying our minds
  • Becoming emotionless
  • Escaping pain
  • Withdrawing from life
  • Seeking blissful states
  • Attention training
  • Understanding the impact of stress on our bodies, thoughts, emotions and relationships
  • Befriending our minds and our emotions
  • Working with pain
  • Living life to the full


Over the past three decades Mindfulness Based Interventions (MBIs) have been applied in clinical settings worldwide for the promotion of physical and emotional well-being among individuals suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, cardiac disease, high blood pressure and a wide variety of chronic or recurrent health conditions such as CFS/ME and fibromyalgia.

We currently offer the following 8 week (2 - 2.5 hours per week) structured group courses which teach mindfulness meditation as an effective counter-balance to the stresses of life. 

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) *

MBCT combines mindfulness and CBT and has a clinically proven record of preventing the relapse of depression.  It is recommended in NICE guidelines for the treatment of recurrent depression.   Please use this link for course content.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

MBSR has a wider scope and is attended by participants from a range of backgrounds.  It teaches mindfulness as a life skill, and is recommended both for general wellbeing and in the treatment of a range of conditions (including stress, anxiety, depression, ME, IBS and high blood pressure).   Please use this link for course content.


Introducing Mindfulness to Patients

Interest in mindfulness meditation is at an all time high.   The international best seller “Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world” has spent over 5 years in Amazon's top 100 books.  There is however a lot of misundertanding about what mindfulness is and what attending an 8-week mindfulness course would entail.  We have therefore developed a Patient Information Sheet which addresses some of the common misconceptions and also highlights the level of personal commitment required.

Please see http://www.yorkmbsr.eventbrite.co.uk/ for details of forthcoming course dates and further information.  If you click attend and then scroll down you will find further course information.

For anyone who would like to find out more before committing to an 8 week course we would recommend one of the following books

          • Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Prof Mark Williams and Danny Penman
          • Mindfulness for Health: A practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman


If you would like copies of mindfulness flyers either to display in your practice or as a means of introducing mindfulness to patients then please get in touch.


Referring Patients

Please note: our courses are not currently available through single-point-of-access, so you will need to apply for exceptional funding / individual commissioning from your CCG.

Please use the following links to access


Training for GPs and Healthcare Professionals

If you would like to find out more about mindfulness, from either a personal or professional perspective, then you might like to consider the following options (available on both a public and commissioned basis).

  • attending an introductory workshop
  • attending an 8 week MBSR course
  • attending a Mindfulness for Healthcare Professional Skills Development Workshop (for those who have completed an 8 week course).

Hull York Medical School also offer Introduction to Mindfulness Workshops in partnership with Dr Kamila Hortynska. To find out more please email Jackie.Houlton@hyms.ac.uk.

Those interested in GP Well-being may find this article of interest which higlights the pressures faced by GPs and how mindfulness may be benefiical in terms of increased job satisfaction, quality of life and compassion, in addition to patient satisfaction.


Further Information

If you would like any further information please contact us, either through relax@yorkmbsr.co.uk or by calling 01904 634710.









'The Mindful UK Report, the first policy document of its kind, seeks to address mental health concerns in the areas of education, health, the workplace and the criminal justice system through the application of mindfulness interventions. The recommendations in this report are evidence-based, sourced directly from experienced implementers, who report notable success in their respective fields and urge policymakers to invest resources in further pilot studies and increase public access to qualified teacher trainers'.



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"The benefit of this in the NHS for both staff and the population at large could be great"


"Should be available and promoted more widely in the NHS "


“Refreshed my memory of scientific research,

re-invigorated my practice and

I found it beneficial to share professional expertise”


Workshop Participants


"10/10 - I will use this personally and as a doctor, will pass on the word to other NHS members... I can see this being used in so many areas". 


GP / Workshop Participant

















York MBSR & The Northern Centre for Mindfulness and Compassion

Book Online: www.yorkmbsr.eventbrite.co.uk I Email: Relax@YorkMBSR.co.uk I Telephone: 01904 634710

Post: York MBSR, Priory Street Centre, 15 Priory Street, York, YO1 6ET

© 2017 York MBSR Limited