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CPD Workshop – Letting the light in: building wellbeing through reconnection with positive emotion

2 x 4 hour session workshop

with Barney Dunn, and Megan Colletta
Location Online
Date 17/06/2024 - 24/06/2024
Time 09:00 - 13:00 BST


Letting in the light: using mindfulness practice to reconnect to positive emotion experience and wellbeing.

There are two fundamental emotional systems of mind: a negative valence system (NVS) that drives negative affective experience and regulates withdrawal from threatening or punishing stimuli and a positive valence system (PVS) that drives positive affective experience and regulates approach to rewarding or nourishing stimuli. To be able to make the most of opportunities in life and deal well with the challenges life throws at us, it is helpful for us all to learn how to regulate both of these systems. Many individuals struggling with mental health difficulties, like depression, experience difficulties in both of these tasks.

Historically, the explicit emphasis in the family of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy interventions has been helping individuals to change how they relate and react to negative thoughts and feelings that emerge from the NVS. However, there is increasing recognition that mindfulness can also helpfully change how individuals relate and react to positive thoughts and feelings that emerge from the PVS. This is reflected in the wellbeing and flourishing emphasis of novel curricula like Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Life (MBCT-L).

This workshop aims to help mindfulness teachers develop their capacity to build positive emotion experience through up-regulation of the PVS during courses. The rationale for focusing on the PVS will be presented, what we know about how mindfulness currently acts on the PVS and how this relates to outcomes will be discussed, and a range of techniques from emerging PVS therapies that can be integrated into mindfulness courses will be introduced.

The workshop will particularly draw on ideas from Augmented Depression Therapy (ADepT), a wellbeing-oriented individual treatment for depression that co-targets the PVS and NVS. It will also be influenced by a resilience and recovery mindfulness pathway being developed in Exeter. The pathway helps individuals with a long term history of severe and enduring mental illness reconnect to wellbeing and positive affect later in their recovery journey. There will be a mixture of theoretical discussion, modelling of practice, and experiential practice and reflection.

The workshop is led by Barney Dunn (a clinical psychologist who leads a programme of work understanding and treating PVS disturbances in clinical groups and has developed ADepT) and Megan Colletta (a mindfulness practitioner with experience of ADepT). Both work at the AccEPT clinic at the University of Exeter, which regularly delivers MCBT for depression and MBCT for Life to clinical and non-clinical populations.


Dunn, B. D. et al (2023). Preliminary clinical and cost effectiveness of augmented depression therapy versus cognitive behavioural therapy for the treatment of anhedonic depression (ADepT): a single-centre, open-label, parallel-group, pilot, randomised, controlled trial. eClinicalMedicine, 61: 102084.  https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(23)00261-4/fulltext

Geschwind, N. et al (2011). Mindfulness training increases momentary positive emotions and reward experience in adults vulnerable to depression: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79, 618-628. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21767001/

Kuyken, W. & Dunn, B. D. (2022). Case conceptualization in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Chapter 12, Handbook of Psychotherapy Case Formulation (3rd edition), Editor Eeels, T. D, Routledge

Strauss, C. et al (2021). Reducing stress and promoting well-being in healthcare workers using mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for life. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 21, 100227. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijchp.2021.100227

The workshop will run over two sessions on Mondays 17th and 24th June from 09.00 – 13.00 UK time (9.00am – 1.00pm)

The OMF provides Confirmation of Attendance letters to all participants who attend and take part in all aspects of 100% of the training event, including break out rooms, with their camera on.

Free introductory talk

Barney and Megan are offering a free, introductory talk in advance of their workshop. The talk is open to all who are interested in the topic on Wednesday 5th June from 19.00 – 20.00 hrs in the evening, UK time. Find out more and book by clicking here

What will I do on this course?

There will be a mixture of theoretical discussion, modelling of practice and experiential practice and reflection

    Learning Outcomes

    Through teaching, self-reflection and group discussions you will:
    • Gain an understanding of what the positive valence system is, why it is important, and what we understand about how mindfulness addresses it
    • Develop enhanced skills in delivering mindfulness practices that build positivity, including how to work with barriers to pleasure experience that individuals may encounter
    • Learn about emerging techniques in other CBT therapy schools about how to target positivity, which can either be weaved into mindfulness groups or individual therapies that include mindfulness elements

    About the Teachers

    Barney Dunn

    Barney is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Exeter Mood Disorders Centre. He received his Phd from the University of Cambridge in 2001 and his doctorate in clinical psychology from University College London 2004. Barney completed his CBT training at the Beck Institute in Philadelphia and is BABCP accredited. He also has experience of range of other therapeutic modalities including mindfulness, CAT and DBT. He leads a research programme aiming to understanding and learn how to enhance wellbeing and positive affect in clinical and non-clinical populations and has developed Augmented Depression Therapy (ADepT) as a novel treatment to do so. He has a particular interest in building positivity in ‘hard to treat’ depression. He co-directs the AccEPT clinic at the University of Exeter, a clinic that offers individual and group (including MBCT-D and MBCT-L) treatments for clinical groups and public sector staff groups. He is a regular trainer and supervisor in approaches related to CBT.

    Megan Colletta

    Megan is a clinical research therapist at the University of Exeter Mood Disorder Centre and High Intensity CBT therapist for Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust. She received her MSW from the University of California, Berkeley in Community Mental Health in 2008, training in integrative psychotherapy, and specialized in CBT for complex PTSD at the Department of Veteran's Affairs. Megan has a passion for providing integrative, evidence-based therapy and is trained Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy teacher.

    CPD Workshop – Letting the light in: building wellbeing through reconnection with positive emotion

    Standard Rate

    Applications closing: 09/06/2024
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