Minding the Gaps 2018: Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness & Compassion

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Mary Seacole Building G.21; Frederick Road Campus

University of Salford

Frederick Road


United Kingdom

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Sales Have Ended

Registrations are closed
Thank you for booking, We look forward to seeing you on June 29th for what should be a fascinating day.
Event description


Trauma Sensitive Approaches to Teaching Mindfulness and Compassion

The standard approaches to teaching mindfulness-based programmes tend to be based on the eight week course format of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). From the research evidence, it is clear the format of MBSR (and its adaptations like MBCT) meet the needs of many individuals.

However, there is a growing appreciation that people with previous or current experiences of trauma may struggle with the way mindfulness practices are taught within the standard curriculum of such courses.

Indeed, while cultivating mindful awareness is often an essential part of trauma recovery, mindfulness practices, if poorly matched to the person practicing them, may themselves be traumatising or re-traumatising.

In particular, body and/or breath focused, close-eyed, static and longer practice forms risk overwhelm for some people with trauma, leading to a variety of negative experiences including panic or shut-down. The experience of overwhelm can also be very shaming if the person feels they are the only one struggling in a group where everyone else appears to be benefiting from a practice (even though others may also be silently struggling).

Some estimates suggest 10-20% of the population may have significant trauma experiences (many more in groups of people with mental health issues and/or in groups of people experiencing marginalisation or oppression). This means most groups we interact with are likely to have members who are dealing with significant traumatic experiences.

One approach is to attempt to screen ‘vulnerable’ people out of mindfulness courses so as to minimise the risk of mindfulness practices triggering trauma – often done through ‘orientation’ interviews and/or questionnaires. In addition to issues around excluding people who may already be marginalised, a difficulty with screening is that it is insensitive and inaccurate, and so screening may exclude people who would find benefit from a course or include people who only discover they are overwhelmed by a type of practice when they are on the course.

An alternative approach is to structure the mindfulness curriculum of a course so that it maximises accessibility for people with trauma experiences and minimises the risk of triggering re-traumatising experiences. This approach is has been the core of the mindfulness teacher training offered at the University of Salford. Over the years, we have come to realise that trauma-sensitive approaches are as effective in helping most people to learn mindfulness, regardless of whether someone has trauma experiences. This leads us to consider that trauma-sensitive mindfulness teaching approaches may become the default way of teaching mindfulness safely and effectively to most populations.

Internationally, a growing number of clinicians and researchers have been highlighting the need for trauma-sensitive approaches to teaching mindfulness. David Treleaven has recently published a landmark book, Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness, that powerfully sets out the issues that people who have experienced trauma can face when practicing mindfulness in ways poorly matched to their needs. He offers a framework for understanding why particular mindfulness practices may not appropriately match someone’s needs or be triggering of trauma experiences. Importantly, he also frames the individual experience of trauma in a wider context of societal oppression and marginalisation. Generously, David has kindly offered to launch our conference with a video he has recorded for us.

Leigh Burrows and Willoughby Britton (who's key research article is available here) are other key authors and researchers in this field.

These emerging frameworks for working in a trauma-sensitive way can help inform the key questions we would like to explore in this one day conference:

How do we adapt approaches to teaching mindfulness and compassion so they are more trauma sensitive?

How can we safely integrate mindfulness approaches into clinical work with people who have experienced trauma?

Exploring responses to these first two questions may lead to consideration of these potentially more challenging questions:

Should the default way mindfulness is offered to all people be based on trauma-sensitive mindfulness approaches?

What would be the clinical and educational rationale for teaching mindfulness in a way that is NOT trauma-sensitive?

We hope you can join us.


The indicative schedule is as follows:

Short practices and a brief afternoon comfort break will be integrated into the day.

9.30 arrivals

10.00 Welcome and first practice

10.15 David Treleaven (video): Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness

11.00 Kelly Birtwell: The development of a feasible and acceptable Low-Intensity Mindfulness-Based Intervention

11.30 Break

11.45 Karen Taylor: MBCT and participant trauma experience: case study

12.30 Elaine Beaumont: Compassionate Mind Training and Trauma

13.00ish Lunch

13.45 Maria Kefalogianni: An idiosyncratic approach to a person centred mindful practice

14.15 Cathy Fortune: Mindfulness, Art and Mental Health – integrating mindfulness practice into arts sessions with vulnerable adults

15.00 Tim Duerden: Integrating Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness into standard mindfulness programmes

16.00 at the latest: close

David A. Treleaven PhD: Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness.

David is an educator and trauma professional whose work focuses on the intersection of trauma, mindfulness, and social justice. Trained in counselling psychology at the University of British Columbia, he received his doctorate in psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He has been studying mindfulness for twenty years and has a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Kelly Birtwell: The development of a feasible and acceptable Low-Intensity Mindfulness-Based Intervention

Kelly is a counsellor and mindfulness teacher with experience of teaching a range of mindfulness programmes within the NHS, higher education, the workplace and third sector. Kelly is currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Manchester, researching low-intensity mindfulness-based interventions for the general population.

Karen Taylor. MBCT and participant trauma experience: case study.

Karen currently work as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (CBT) and Mindfulness Practitioner for Healthy Minds, an NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) service based in Stockport.

She delivers MBCT groups for adults and help in the provision of regular ‘Mindfulness Drop in sessions’ for individuals interested in mindfulness and monthly ‘Follow Up sessions’ for individuals who have completed the 8 week MBCT group.

In her CBT role she leads on a pathway for younger people in the service offering assessment and psychological intervention for young people entering the service or into adult services.

Dr Elaine Beaumont: Compassionate Mind Training and Trauma

Elaine is a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and Europe-approved Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Practitioner. Elaine is a Lecturer at the University of Salford, where her research explores the impact Compassionate Mind Training has in both educational and clinical settings.

Elaine co-authored The Compassionate Mind Workbook. A step-by-step guide to developing your compassionate self in 2017.

Maria Kefalogianni: An idiosyncratic approach to a person centred mindful practice.

Maria is a humanistic therapist, supervisor and trainer. She is a lecturer at the University of Salford on the Counselling & Psychotherapy programmes. Maria has held an ongoing interest in mindfulness and mindfulness based practice for the past 10 years. She has undertaken some training in mindfulness and is passionate about the relationship between mind-body-spirit as approached by different modalities. She has experienced as a client and student various forms of mind and body oriented therapies: Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy; compassion-focused training; mindfulness as well as holotropic breathwork, all of which help to inform her clinical practice and reinforce her belief on how much is yet to be known..

Cathy Fortune: Mindfulness, Art and Mental Health – integrating mindfulness practice into arts sessions with vulnerable adults.

Cathy works for Start, an arts project within Greater Manchester Mental Health’s Recovery Pathways service. She has been working as an artist and teacher for the past 20 years developing ways to engage people in the arts as a way of building resilience and recovery. In her role as Arts and Culture Partnerships Coordinator, Cathy also delivers training for galleries and museums in the UK and Europe to integrate wellbeing and mindfulness approaches into their public programs.

Tim Duerden: Integrating Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness into standard mindfulness programmes.

Tim is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Society, University of Salford and director and trainer with Integrated Mindfulness. With Annette Dunn and other colleagues, Tim has been developing flexible approaches to mindfulness teaching that aim to adapt to participant need as it emerges over the sessions of a course. These approaches, particularly Mindful Resilience Enhancement (MRE), have enabled those trained in them to develop bespoke mindfulness curricula in a wide range of clinical, community, educational and corporate contexts. A specific interest is in rooting mindfulness teaching within a framework that integrates mindfulness principles, educational theory and our growing neuro-psychological understanding.

The symposium is part of the student enrichment programme associated with the MSc Advanced Counselling and Psychotherapy Studies, MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, the OneCPD Mindfulness-Based Approaches for CBT module and the BSc (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy (Professional Practice). Priority for booking will therefore be given to University of Salford students booking before May 1st 2018. We have booked a large lecture theatre so we do expect to have enough places for external delegates.

An attendance certificate will be provided for CPD purposes at the end of the day.

We hope that most presenters will be in a position to share their presentations via this webpage after the event.

You may be interested in the presentations from last year's symposium available here.

We aim to hold this event annually; the next date is June 28th 2019 with booking here: https://mindingthegaps2019.eventbrite.co.uk.

As a single link to future events and resources you can use: www.mindingthegaps.uk.


Please see the University website: http://www.salford.ac.uk/about-us/travel/travelling-to-the-university The Mary Seacole Building is building 12 on the campus map.

Parking for external delegates is available on-site and costs around £4 a day. Parking is very restricted and you are advised to use public transport as a parking space may not be available.

If you do park on either the Allerton Building car park (accessed off Frederick Road) or the Mary Seacole car park (smaller accessed off the A6) then expect it to be full by 9.40am. There is a pay machine located in the centre of the Allerton car park. There is also a pay-by-phone option with the car park number posted all around each car park. The number for all the different University car-parks in the vicinity is 59323.

See http://www.estates.salford.ac.uk/page/car_parking_students_main for details of the pay-by-app. It is best to download it and set up your payment options at home so all is needed on the day is inputting the car park identification number - 59323 - when you arrive.

Salford Crescent train station has very regular trains and is less than 10 minutes walk from the venue. Trams connect to the local trains at Victoria and Piccadilly train stations.

Buses are also very frequent.

Food & Refreshments

This is a free event so you will need to bring your own food and refreshments or use the café and canteen facilities on site or nearby shops.

The nearby Allerton Building is a 3 minute walk from the lecture room. The ground floor of Allerton has a large canteen that serves hot meals and a good salad bar. Hot drinks are available here from machines.

There is a smaller Starbucks cafe also in Allerton as well as a small shop selling sandwiches.

The issue will be queues - these can be so long that in the morning break you may spend the whole time in the queue so it is wise to bring your own liquid refreshment as a back-up.

There are water coolers at the entrance to Mary Seacole and Allerton to fill your own water bottles.


Please book via the EventBrite page for this event.


If you have any queries please contact:

Tim Duerden


Date and Time


Mary Seacole Building G.21; Frederick Road Campus

University of Salford

Frederick Road


United Kingdom

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