We provided 5 places at the OMC Summer School 2016 to MBCT teachers, who could demonstrate that they would use the Summer School experience to widen access and participation in MBCT. Lizzie Cambray was one of the bursary holders.
Lizzie Cambray has offered mindfulness-based interventions to people suffering with depression, anxiety and eating disorders. She also has an interest in working with people who have a Palliative Care diagnosis. She trained as a teacher of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy with the OMC over an apprenticeship period, beginning with their training retreat in 2007. She now teaches with Ridgeway Mindful Psychology, which provides mindfulness courses and consultancy throughout the Swindon and Cirencester Area.
“It was good to hear what is happening currently in the world of Mindfulness research”
What did you get out of your attendance at the summer school?
For me, the Summer School provided an easy social experience to network with others, and simply to experience a friendly ethos, which I believe is at the heart of our mindfulness teaching.
It was good to hear the original MBCT researchers speak, and to hear their ideas about Mindfulness now, possible adaptations for the digital world, etc. It was also good to hear what is happening currently in the world of Mindfulness research.
I found Chris Cullen’s talk enriching. It is important to me to remember the Buddhist roots of modern, Western Mindfulness. As a teacher, this inspires me, even though the MBCT course is secular.
As the bursaries are designed for those working with hard to reach groups, could you say something about your work in this area?
I work with two main hard to reach groups:
Junior doctors. This group is hard to reach because of their work often feels overwhelming, and the concept of simply stopping and noticing feels alien and possibly scary in a medical world that seems to privilege drivenness. They also sometimes work irregular shifts, so attendance can be patchy. At the Summer School I met with several doctors who offered valuable insights from the perspective of mindfulness practitioners. It was good to hear of some of the digital applications of Mindfulness which this group may benefit from.
The unemployed, older adults, and parents who engage with a local neighbourhood project. These are people who may have heard of mindfulness somewhere – on the radio, from their doctor, in a magazine, who think that mindfulness is a “good idea”, or have momentarily tasted peace in a random experience of presence – as well as those who, for all its buzz, have never heard of mindfulness.
So work with this group depends on our catching people who are at varying levels of readiness to transition from a cerebral “good idea” to the precipitation of a new behaviour – of pausing, non-doing, and simply noticing.
We offer carefully crafted taster sessions based on principles from MBCT and tailored to what we know of their experience. These are popular but require no commitment. Nonetheless, people feel motivated to return and some have eventually found the confidence and commitment to sign up for an 8-week course.
It is slow, patient work. Many of these people lack literacy or IT skills, have no internet access and rarely have phone credit, so disseminating information and keeping in touch can be labour-intensive.
Have you been able to share what you have learned at the summer school within your institution or the wider Mindfulness community?
Yes, I have fed back my learning to my organisation, which has been helpful.
For information on our Summer School in 2017, click here.