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“Is this the right course for me / is it the right time for me to attend?”

The mindfulness courses we offer at the OMC are aimed at the public and are not helpful or suitable for everyone. When you register for a course you will be asked a series of questions in the application form that will help us determine whether or not the course is likely to be safe and beneficial for you at this time. In some circumstances we may suggest that you consider either waiting a while to take the course, or that you explore other options, including more specialist mindfulness-based programmes designed for people experiencing specific difficulties, or support from a doctor or mental health professional.  Below we outline some things that we have found can limit or prevent people from benefiting from our public courses. Of course, everyone’s situation is slightly different and we encourage you to speak to us, after reading the information below, if you have any remaining concerns or questions about the suitability of the course for you.

Mania, Suicidal Thoughts and Self-Harm

The mindfulness courses offered by the OMC are not suitable for you if you have experienced a manic or hypomanic episode in the past six months, if you are currently self-harming or if you are currently experiencing suicidal thoughts. It is not that mindfulness will not be helpful for people with these conditions – in fact we know it might very well be, but it would need to be delivered in a more specialist group. If you are feeling suicidal, we would strongly recommend you speak to your doctor or another mental health professional. We are unable to give specific advice or support to those with individual mental health problems. If you are in the UK and do need to speak to someone urgently, the Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day on 08457 90 90 90.

Alcohol and Drug Use

Practicing mindfulness through attendance at a mindfulness courses involves completion of up to an hour of daily home meditation practice and other activities and it is essential that this practice takes place when your consciousness is not impaired. If you are drinking a lot of alcohol or using other drugs please consider carefully whether you will be able to find time each day to complete the exercises when you are not under the influence of alcohol, drugs or their after affects. If this is likely to be difficult to you then the MBCT course will not be suitable for you at this time.

If any of the situations described below apply to you, please contact the admin office before applying admin@oxfordmindfulness.org

Current Depression

If you are currently depressed, to such an extent that it is difficult for you to manage your everyday life, it is probably not the right time for you to do the course. We know from experience that people joining our courses need to be reasonably well. The course involves some daily home practice and finding the motivation and energy to do this whilst feeling very depressed will probably be challenging.

Recent bereavement of a close family member or friend– in the past year

If you are recently bereaved, it is helpful to have come to terms with some of the grief before starting a mindfulness course. It can be difficult to recognise and work with pre-existing and more longstanding habits of mind when the bereavement is still very preoccupying. The 1 year period is a notional time (and people will differ a great deal in when they feel ready to begin a course) but our experience suggests it is often helpful to have gone through all the ‘significant’ dates of the person who has died before moving on to start something like an mindfulness course.

Other ongoing psychological treatment

Mindfulness is not a ‘therapy’ as such. However, it can be confusing or impractical to engage in two ‘psychological treatments’ at the same time. Mindfulness courses involve a commitment of time and adding it on top of another ongoing therapy may be difficult.

Stressful life events – current

Taking a mindfulness course, strange though it may sound, can at times be quite stressful. In addition to the weekly sessions and a full one day session you will be encouraged to do daily practices at home which take about an hour each day in total. If there’s too much going on in your life right now (change of job, job loss, loss of home, moving, relationship breakdown, too many work commitments etc.) adding a mindfulness course to the mix may not help.

Insulin-dependent Diabetes

During periods of meditation the body may become relaxed and for some people, over time, meditation reduces stress. This may in turn have an effect on blood glucose and insulin requirements and may potentially result in a need for adjustments to pattern of insulin administration and dosage. Please let your doctor or other healthcare professional know that you are doing the course and discuss this with them.

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