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).
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 IAPT high intensity therapist and 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.
This workshop assumes you have a working knowledge of mindfulness and some experience of using it in clinical or non-clinical settings.
It is particularly relevant for clinicians offering MBCT and Mindfulness for Life (MCBT-L) in group settings or using mindfulness informed approaches in their work.
It is also relevant for others offering mindfulness based interventions in non-clinical settings, as the focus will be on identifying and overcoming barriers to pleasure that many individuals encounter.
The OMF provides Confirmation of Attendance letters to all participants who fully attend our events.
What will I do on this course?This workshop aims to help mindfulness teachers develop their capacity to build positive emotion experience through up-regulation of the PVS using mindfulness techniques (both in group delivery formats and as one component of individual treatments).
- 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, with an emphasis on introducing elements of positive practice without being ‘PollyAnna-ish’
- There will be a mixture of theoretical discussion, modelling of practice, and experiential practice and reflection
Learning OutcomesThrough teaching, self-reflections 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 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 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.