E: alison@presentminds.org

T: 01483 427792    M: 07776 061670

FAQs Community-based Mindfulness Courses

Present Minds

How do I know that the course will benefit me?
We have a great deal of research data now that has given us good insight into who benefits from mindfulness, what benefits occur, and how that happens. We know for example that in general people experience more focus and concentration, improved contentment and acceptance, better relationships, and more choices.

Change tends not to be linear, and we can’t predict the rate of change. We can also find that the course brings unexpected benefits.

What we do know is that there is a strong relationship between the amount of mindfulness practice and the benefits.

How do I know that I am suitable for the course?
When you have completed and submitted your application form, the course teacher will call you to discuss your application. If there are any reasons you think you may not be suitable, please ask on that call.

The teacher will also raise with you any things you’ve put on the form. The main reasons we might suggest you delay the course would be if you are currently very depressed, very anxious, are experiencing an untreated mental illness, or have had a recent (and highly emotional) bereavement.

Completing the application form doesn’t commit you to the course, and you will be encouraged to make an informed decision for yourself.

Can I come to a taster session before I commit to the course?
We try to offer a free taster session so that you can try out a couple of short mindfulness practices, and can ask any questions about the course. We apologise if we’re unable to offer this. You can go to the Mindfulness in the Community page to find out when the next one is.
I will have to miss a session of the course, should I still apply?
We know how difficult it can be to find 8 uninterrupted weeks to attend the course.

If you know you will have to miss 1 or more sessions, please let the teacher know. You will be offered a phone call during the week you miss, to go through the session and discuss your home practice.

If you have to miss the retreat day, don’t worry as you will be invited to all future retreat days anyway.

What happens in each session/what’s the format of the sessions?
We spend considerable time each week doing mindfulness practice. This most often takes the form of guided meditation, and will take approximately 45 minutes of the 2 hour session.

We will always spend time after a practice sharing our experiences of it (often in small groups). We also spend time every week sharing our experiences of the home practice so that we can learn from each other and support each other with any questions or difficulties that occur with the practice. This is not group therapy, and in fact we will be encouraging you not to share your personal story, but to focus on sharing your experiences of the practices.

We then spend time doing some other kind of exercise/discussion that focusses on the theme for that week.

I am very nervous/anxious in groups, should I do the course 1-2-1 instead?
We always recommend doing the course in a group if possible as there is considerable learning that comes from the group experience.

You will be fully supported, and you will never be asked to share anything with the whole group (other than your name in week 1!), so if you wish to remain quiet and listening you absolutely can.

We do offer the course on a 1-2-1 basis though, and would be happy to talk to you about that option.

My partner wants to do the course with me. Should we do it together or separately?
This is an entirely personal choice.

There is often much to be gained from doing the course separately as then you can really focus on your own experience. But doing the course together has the advantage that you can encourage each other with doing the home practice.

I don’t think I can practice for 40 minutes a day so should I not attend?
Although the home practice is important, we also have to be realistic about how much we can reasonably do in our already busy lives.

We provide shorter practices as well as the longer ones so that on days when the long practices are too much, you have an option that allows you to continue doing some practice.

We also encourage building mindfulness into everyday life, and over the short term this can be just as effective in increasing our ability to be mindful. We are seeking to develop a positive relationship to our practice, and to cultivate kindness and compassion, and you won’t be judged for doing less practice.

I’d love to do the course but I simply cannot afford it. What options are there for reduced fees?
We offer a discount to those on benefits/low income, and we also usually offer an early bird booking rate, so if you apply early enough, the course is already a bit cheaper. We are also happy that payment is made in instalments so that you can spread the cost. Please talk to us about your situation and we can come to an agreement. We don’t want the fees to put anyone off doing the course.
I’m very private/shy and don’t want people on the course to know about my life. What will I be asked to share in the sessions?
We never ask anyone to share anything personal in the sessions.

In fact, often the teacher will encourage stepping away from our personal stories and conditioning, and will aim to keep the discussions related to the practice of mindfulness.

The most we will ask you to share with the whole group is your name, and perhaps a single word to describe how you are feeling. But otherwise, you can choose not to share anything if you wish.

Alison Armstrong PhD  |  E: alison@presentminds.org  |  T: 01483 427792  | M: 07776 061670