Minding the Gaps 2019: Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness & Compassion

Date(s) - 21 Jun 2019
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

The University of Salford, Allerton Campus



Please book here: https://mindingthegaps2019.eventbrite.co.uk


Can Mindfulness be Too Much of a Good Thing?

This year’s day conference is exploring whether mindfulness can be too much of a good thing (and the value of the middle way).

This is inspired by Willoughby Britton’s important and insightful article of this name (Britton, W. B. (2019). Can Mindfulness Be Too Much of a Good Thing? The Value of a Middle Way. Current opinion in psychology. 28: p.159-165)

Her article is available here if you have institutional access to online journals (please use this link if you can as it helps raise the profile of her article). If you do not have free access her article is available here. I really encourage you to read it as it brings together so many crucial considerations for teaching mindfulness safely to everyone.

Willoughby has very kindly offered to record a video for us to play at the conference in which she will explore some of the issues she raises in her article.

I found her article really chimed with a particular growing concern of mine: when we ask someone to practice mindfulness what are they then doing less of to make time for their mindfulness practice: what has to give? If someone’s life is already over-committed, does making time for mindfulness practice mean sleeping less, exercising less, or seeing less of loved ones or friends? And will stopping doing established self-care activities to make way for mindfulness risk destabilisation of someone’s existing coping strategies?

It is an interesting thought experiment to consider at what point your wellbeing would start to be undermined through committing too much time to formal mindfulness practice on a daily and ongoing basis at the expense of what else sustains your wellbeing.

This is one of the reasons in our training we focus on starting with short practices woven into existing routines and building from there at each person’s pace.

This also connects to offering mindfulness practices in a trauma sensitive way. 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. Even if the practice itself is well matched to the person, the context in which the practice Is undertaken and how it is practiced need consideration to ensure the practice does not have a destabilising effect.


Internationally, a growing number of clinicians and researchers have been highlighting the need for trauma-sensitive approaches to teaching mindfulness. David Treleaven‘s important book, Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness, powerfully sets out the issues that people who have experienced trauma can face when practicing mindfulness in ways poorly matched to their needs. Leigh Burrows is another key author and researchers in this field. Willoughby Britton‘s earlier landmark research article that explores negative mindfulness experiences is available here.

I look forward to seeing you at our day conference.

Warm regards

Tim Duerden


2020 Conference Presenters

Willoughby Britton will offer a video discussion of her article Can Mindfulness Be Too Much of a Good Thing? The Value of a Middle Way.

Kelly Birtwell is reporting on her PhD research project investigating how to adapt mindfulness to individual need with a particular focus on starting with shorter practices.

Ginny Wall, one of Breathworks’ lead trainers, will be exploring the crucial role of pacing in mindfulness teaching. This has been a particular focus for Breathworks with insightful approaches around pacing integrated into the Breathworks pain and stress management courses.

Tim Duerden will detail an accessible theoretical framework that enables both mindfulness teachers and participants to tailor practices to meet individual need. He will also be reporting on the experience and privilege of working with a Jewish men’s mindfulness group.


The indicative schedule is as follows (details of the running order of the presenters to be posted soon):



9.30 arrivals

10.00 Welcome and first practices and presentations

11.15 Break

11.35 Presentations and practices

12.30 Lunch

13.30 Presentations and practices (short comfort break)

16.00 Close

Powered by Events Manager

Comments are closed.