8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses

The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course is an in-depth mindfulness course that runs over an 8 week period – one evening per week and includes a day long workshop plus an orientation session. The course is perfectly suitable for beginners as well as those who already have a foundation in mindfulness practices. The MBSR course generally takes place in-person. However, given the uncertainty facing us all at the moment, I will be offering the next MBSR course ONLINE by Zoom in Autumn 2020. I am currently adapting the content of the MBSR course so that you will be able to experience the richness of the programme through an online format. I will soon add an updated course description to this page.  However, the learning objectives and outcomes for the MBSR course remain the same whether delivered in-person or online so please feel free to read the course description below for an outline of what the course entails. ONLINE COURSE AUTUMN 2020 The next MBSR ONLINE course will begin in late September 2020.  (PLEASE NOTE, IT IS IMPORTANT TO TAKE PART IN THE ORIENTATION SESSION) DATE OF ORIENTATION SESSION: TUESDAY 29TH SEPTEMBER TIME OF ORIENTATION SESSION: 6.30 PM – 9.00 PM COURSE DATES: TUESDAY 13TH OCTOBER – TUESDAY 1ST DECEMBER COURSE TIMES: 6.30 PM – 9.00 PM RETREAT DAY: SATURDAY 21ST NOVEMBER 10.30 AM – 4.30 PM VENUE: ONLINE IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME COST: €350 (Concessions available) PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR DEPOSIT OF €100 HERE ____________________________________________________ THE COURSE WILL BE HELD USING Zoom™ VIDEO CONFERENCE PLATFORM. WHAT TECHNOLOGY WILL YOU NEED: High-speed internet connection Laptop or desktop with speaker, microphone, and video capability: Phones and IPads/ tablets are not suitable for this course APPLICATION FORM AVAILABLE HERE COURSES IN KERRY AUTUMN 2020 It is too early to determine when I can offer the next round of Mindfulness courses in-person. I will keep a close eye on developments in this regard and will schedule courses in Kerry as soon as it becomes safe to do so. In the meantime, please do consider taking part in a Mindfulness course ONLINE. The next ONLINE course will be the MINDFULNESS BASED STRESS REDUCTION (MBSR) COURSE and this will begin in Autumn 2020.  Here are some comments from participants who took part in this course in -person over the past 6 months: “My old habit of ruminating has stopped as I am identifying things and dealing with them and moving on.” “As one part of a variety of things I am trying to do to stabilise my mental health, it has been extremely beneficial.” “I feel it grounded me. I have re-calibrated myself.” “The course has opened the door a little so that a wedge of light and understanding of why I act and react in the ways that I do has entered my consciousness.” (Flexible payment options available. There are also a number of places at a reduced rate for people in receipt of social welfare and on reduced income.  Please contact me on 087 2838171 if this applies to you.) Please note, repeating this course has become a popular option for those of you who would like to deepen your mindfulness practice and integrate it more fully into your daily life. I’m offering a reduced rate to previous participants who wish to repeat the course so please give me a ring for details. Who is the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Programme suitable for? If you’re interested in a Mindfulness course that supports you to take an active role in your health and well-being and if you are ready to learn how to integrate mindfulness more into your daily life, then this is the course for you.  Further reading about MBSR This internationally recognised course was designed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and is now running in many countries around the world. Much scientific research has been conducted about the benefits of this particular course and it has been proven to help with: stress anxiety sleep disturbance chronic pain high blood pressure depression feeling overwhelmed and much more. (Please read below for further details). MBSR is for anyone wishing to bring a greater sense of balance and meaning to their lives as well as those who are dealing with stress of any kind.  It is extremely supportive for those who are prepared to make a commitment to a daily practice for the duration of the 8 week programme. For people being treated for medical or psychological conditions, the MBSR program is a complement to, not a substitute for, the professional care of their doctor or psychologist. What can I expect to be doing on the MBSR course? Learning formal mindfulness meditation practices such as mindful breathing, sitting meditation, guided body scan meditation, and gentle movement Learning about the effects of stress on our bodies and minds Exploring patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving and their relationship to stress Developing strategies for applying mindfulness in daily life Learning through reflection, group discussion and worksheets Having the opportunity to practise in an environment that is conducive to stillness and supportive of our efforts to develop increased awareness Practising in the company of others who are committed to doing the same thing  What does the MBSR course involve? 2 ½ hour class once a week for 8 weeks One full day session 10.30 am – 4.30 pm (held on a weekend) Recommended 45 minutes of daily practice using 4 guided practice CDs To benefit fully from the program it is recommended that all participants make a commitment to attend each class and the practice day.  Mindfulness training is primarily experiential in nature and the development of the practice continues at home between classes, using CDs with guided meditations. This necessitates devoting approximately 40 minutes per day to home practice. While this may seem initially daunting, most people find that they get into the swing of the practice quite quickly and immediately begin to feel the benefits. The support of the group also creates a momentum that makes it easier for participants to commit to the practice. It’s worth noting that research and experience has shown that, in fact, this commitment to daily practice is the most important aspect of the course. Mindfulness is best experienced “from the inside out” and it is through the personal experiencing of mindfulness that we come to understand the possibilities it opens for us in our daily lives. Background to MBSR course: The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programme (MBSR) was developed in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre (UMass) by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. This 8 week programme was initially designed to support participants to respond more effectively to stress, pain and illness. We have all, no doubt, experienced times when we have conducted our lives mechanically, on auto-pilot and have become separated from our ability to appreciate the many joys that life offers us. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programme is based on the belief that by developing increased awareness of our selves, including body, mind and heart, we will have the ability to restore ourselves to a balanced sense of health and well-being. Extensive research has shown that MBSR is beneficial to people with a range of medical conditions. In more recent years, the MBSR programme has been adapted by others working particularly in the area of mental health. Reports from this area of work clearly indicate that the MBSR programme can greatly assist those experiencing psychological distress, including anxiety, panic, depression, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. Since its inception at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre more than 20,000 people have completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programme. In recent years research in neuroscience has made compelling discoveries about the brain’s capacity to grow and change, including evidence that meditation helps to create new pathways in the brain that increase our ability to be more positive and creative. Please note: For teachers in Kerry ETB schools, this MBSR course is approved by Kerry ETB as per Croke Park CL 2011 “Approved school based inservice/Continuous Professional Development.” (This course is also approved by other professions under Croke Park hours so please check if this applies to you.) Testimonials from recent participants: “I’ve been to 3 other people to try and fix my anxiety but nothing has worked half as good as this course. It has given me stuff to work on and keep at, rather than just taking a tablet….Since starting this course, I’ve played 2 games of football and been travelling out of town a lot more. It’s taught me that I can handle the anxiety.”    Seán, 22 “I couldn’t recommend this course highly enough. I thought the whole programme was well balanced, enjoyable and highly respectful of individual members of the group.  All techniques learnt were demonstrated with great skill and ease….  Throughout the programme Susan supplements her course with her own mindful  CD’s which are a joy to have, as every time you put them on you are instantly transported back to group practice…. the style of teaching is so relaxed you can’t help but learn in this very friendly supportive environment.”        Anne                                                                                                                                                “When I signed up for the course, I had already recognised that I was functioning on auto-pilot and over-analysing everything. The course confirmed this but more importantly, it showed me how to break such habits using various simple techniques. I am like a driver with an “N” plate now…I have the basic skills of mindfulness but need to keep practising!! The course was fab – really well structured and organised. I am so sad it’s over! ”    Deirdre I have previously tried to dabble in meditation, but I found it hard to sustain without the initial guidance. I would highly recommend the mindfulness course, as with Susan’s guidance and the group support I was able to find some peace of mind while dealing with an illness on a daily basis. It has allowed me to take the time to understand a bit better my mind and body with curiosity and will hopefully better equip me for the future. I especially like how mindfulness doesn’t try and push away the difficulties in our life, but allows us to see them from a different perspective, because at the end of the day the present moment is all we ever have.”      Sharon “A fantastic experience and a revealing journey into more awareness in the present moment. Can fully recommend this!…For me, it has helped me in my confidence, my belief in myself, “just” by looking after myself…”       A “This course has given me a greater insight into myself, it has given me the knowledge and tools to deal with difficult and challenging times. I know it will help to support and sustain a more positive and enriching life ahead.”      P “I have become much more aware of what I do. I have begun to use the breathing technique. It has helped me with my concentration, anxiety, giving too much thought to what other people think of me. I feel much happier in myself. I sleep much better. I don’t have as many negative thoughts. I tend to see things differently.”     S

5 week Introductory courses

INTRODUCTION TO MINDFULNESS COURSEs Introductory in-person courses in Kerry are currently on hold. However, I am considering developing an Intro course ONLINE. If you would like to register your interest in the next Introduction to Mindfulness course, please contact Susan HERE to express your interest and you will receive an update as soon as the course in scheduled. Such a pleasure to holding regular courses in the lovely Baile Mhuire Day Care Centre in Tralee. It was beautifully decorated for us all for Valentine’s day! And also in the beautiful surrounds of the Listowel Arms Hotel. With plenty of space for mindful movement A warm and comfortable room With a great view of the river!   In the centre of town, this beautiful hotel has free parking and is easy to find     What to expect on this course: Introductory courses provide an opportunity to learn about Mindfulness in a relaxed and supported way….classes run for one session per week for an hour and a half for 5 weeks. Each session is practical with a focus on developing your own mindfulness skills and practice that will assist you in everyday life….. Course Outline: The skill of mindfulness is taught through formal and informal mindfulness practices. Formal mindfulness meditation practices are introduced during this course and include mindful breathing and sitting meditation, guided body scan meditation, and gentle movement. The course includes a 20 min guided CD or digital link, whichever works best for you. Informal mindfulness practices are also introduced as a support to integrating mindfulness into daily life. While the programme provides an overview of the philosophical underpinnings of mindfulness, much of the content is practical. Because of the experiential nature of mindfulness, participants are encouraged and supported to undertake short home practices between classes. During classes, there are opportunities for group dialogue and the chance to discuss participants’ experience of home practice and to examine skilful ways of dealing with challenges arising. While classes are designed to support participants to bring awareness to the present moment, they are not intended to involve group therapy. Who is the “Introduction to Mindfulness” course suitable for? This course is suitable for those who are completely new to mindfulness practice as well as those who are already familiar with mindfulness and wish to deepen their practice with the support of a group.

Workshops and Taster Sessions

LISTOWEL MINDFULNESS TASTER SESSION This workshop was fully booked and thanks to all of you who took part. It was such a pleasure to introduce you to mindfulness and I’m delighted that most of you have signed up for the Introduction to Mindfulness course beginning very soon! I look forward to continuing to work with you over the coming weeks.  Have a look at the photos of  Listowel Arms Hotel, the beautiful venue where this Mindfulness Taster Workshop took place…warm and comfortable! KILLARNEY MINDFULNESS TASTER SESSION DATE: TUESDAY 25TH FEBRUARY 2020 TIMES: 7 PM – 9 PM VENUE: JOHN PAUL II PASTORAL CENTRE, ROCK ROAD COST: € 30  – Cost includes CD / digital link of a guided 20 minute Mindfulness recording to take home with you. (Please note, if you would like to bring a friend, I’m offering a reduced rate of €25 each) To secure your place, please send your payment of €30 ( or €50 when booking for two people) using STRIPE, the secure payment system by following the link below. All you will need are your credit card details. A receipt will be issued to you and your card details will not be stored. Alternatively, you may forward a cheque to Susan Barrett, Camp, Tralee, Co. Kerry. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR PAYMENT HERE I’d be happy to chat to you if you have any queries about the workshop so please feel free to contact me on 087 2838171 or by emailing here Killarney – Cultivating Awareness in Nature Workshop New Development!       Venue: Killarney National Park This workshop day took place in KILLARNEY where we spent the day in reflection, immersed in the magnificent surrounds of our National Park.  The day included a range of mindfulness practices, including walking meditation, sound awareness and other nature based practices. We visited Muckross Abbey and spent some time in reflection there. We spent a large part of the day outdoors but luckily had contingency plans as the weather challenged us in the late afternoon!   Booking details: If you would like to consider taking part in the next Cultivating Awareness In Nature Day, please express your interest here and I can make sure to let you know directly when the date is scheduled.  Who are these workshops/taster sessions suitable for? If you are a beginner, these half-day practical and informative workshops will introduce you to the theory, principles and practices of Mindfulness so that you can leave with a sense of why we engage in mindfulness practices and how these practices might support you in everyday life. However, the workshops are not presented in a lecture format. The intention is to provide you with an opportunity to try out a range of practices such as Awareness of Breathing, gentle Mindful Movement and a lying down practice called the Body Scan. By trying out these practices for yourself, you will leave with some sense of how engaging with mindfulness practices can feel from the inside out. It will also give you an idea of what to expect on a mindfulness course with Susan, should you decide to follow on with one. Information on follow-on courses will be available at each workshop. If you already have experience of Mindfulness, these workshops will provide great opportunities to refresh your practice, re-connect with yourself and re-invigorate your mindfulness practice, all in the company of other like-minded people.  The workshops will also provide a little bit of calm, allowing you to establish an intention of self-care. Booking and advance payment for each workshop is essential. Please get in touch if you would like to be added to the mailing list and notified directly of upcoming workshops…… enquire here or feel free to contact Susan on 087 2838171. Also, if you would like to consider taking part in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course beginning in Tralee in late January 2020, please click on the relevant links or feel free to get in touch directly here. You are also most welcome to contact Susan on 087 2838171 if you would like to discuss which course might best suit you .


For those of you who would like to refresh your mindfulness practice during Spring 2020, you are welcome to join either or both of the upcoming practice days on… Sunday 8th in St. Brendan’s Pastoral centre, Upper Rock Street, Tralee 10.30 am – 4.30 pm. or Sunday 24th May in Baile Mhuire Day Care Centre, Balloonagh, Tralee 10.30 am – 4.30 pm.  Join current MBSR participants for a day of quiet practice, a chance for you to participate in a range of  mindfulness practice familiar to you but from which you may learn something new about yourself! As you know, our practice invites us to bring beginner’s mind to each activity and practice so there is always something new to be experienced and learnt! This day is offered on a donation basis…..My usual little biscuit tin will be available on the day for you to contribute whatever your means allows.

Introduction to Mindfulness

The skill of mindfulness is taught through formal and informal mindfulness practices. Formal mindfulness meditation practices are introduced during this course and include mindful breathing and sitting meditation, guided body scan meditation, and gentle movement.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programme (MBSR) was developed in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre (UMass) by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. This 8 week programme was initially designed to support participants to respond more effectively to stress, pain and illness.

Self-care sessions for education and health providers

Mindfulness is a practice that can be undertaken by staff teams, teachers and groups of community leaders as part of their Continuing Professional Development. Many groups and staff teams find a mindfulness workshop useful for self-care and for team building. Mindfulness courses on offer to your organisation, staff team or school include: A one-off introductory Mindfulness workshop for staff, which includes a presentation on the theory and principles of Mindfulness as well as experiential practices. The timing of this session can be designed to suit the needs of your group, organisation or staff team and options and resources for follow up are included. An “Introduction to Mindfulness” course which includes 4, 5 or 6 practice sessions, once weekly, designed to introduce your team to the main principles and practices of Mindfulness as well as supporting them to look at ways of incorporating Mindfulness into the workplace. Times for this course can be scheduled according to the needs of your group but the course works particularly well when run in the late afternoon or early evening, at the conclusion of the working day. Participation as a staff team in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme. Mindfulness sessions can also be tailored to suit the needs of your organisation’s team or staff grouping so please feel free to contact Susan to discuss your particular requirements. Over the past number of years, courses, introductory sessions and presentations were held with: Credit Union staff Adult Ed Teachers Tinnitis Support group Stroke Support group Baile Mhuire Stroke Service, Tralee Ard Curam Stroke Service, Listowel Young Adults with Down Syndrome Nursing Staff working with children with life limiting conditions Early School Leaver students Youth groups Community Mental Health Service Staff teams of Secondary and Primary schools Active Retired groups Staff of Kerry Council Council Rehabcare Fexco UCC Dental School Mental Health Student Nurses, Institute of Technology, Tralee Kerry Travellers Development Project Kerry County Libraries HSE Physiotherapy Department HSE Social Work Department HSE Mental Health Team Recovery Haven Bereavement Group Tearmann Mental Health Day Care Service, Dingle Foster carers Some feedback from these sessions: “The teaching and administration staff of Killarney VTOS Adult Education engaged with an Introduction to Mindfulness Course. The feedback from all members of staff has been very positive. The experience was very worthwhile and effective for team building. A practice which many staff have now integrated into their daily personal and professional lives.” Members of a Stroke Support group reported the following: “People who have suffered a stroke have a lot of stress, worry and anxiety in their lives. Having a session with Susan on mindfulness can really help, showing you ways to relax and techniques to make this realxation part of everyday life.” “I have learned to set time aside for me, just to relax, breathe…no telly, no noise or any other distraction.” “It helps to rest the mind.” It’s fantastic to chill out and forget my troubles.” Helps me to relax and stop worrying.”

Mindfulness for groups

Mindfulness sessions can be tailored to suit the needs of your organisation’s team or staff grouping. These can include a one-off introductory session or a short course including 5 or 6 sessions.