Mindfulness is a way of experiencing things “as they are,” allowing us to see what is happening more accurately and respond more effectively. Derived from contemplative practices found in many foundational traditions, mindfulness practices provide us with practical tools that can affect the functioning and physical structure of the brain, and also the body. Research continues to offer insights into our extraordinary ability to train - and retrain - the mind. This talk will address questions such as “How have mindfulness and mindfulness practice developed into the various contemporary mainstream forms? How effectively can these methods of transformation be applied in treatment for depression and chronic pain? What does science have to say about the meditating and mind-wandering brain? Who are the people that practice mindfulness - from politicians to prisoners - and why? Could it be the perfect antidote to modern life? Or need we be mindful skeptics? Have its benefits been oversold?”
Professor Kuyken is a clinical psychologist who earned his PhD from the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, and his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Salomon's Clinical Psychology Training Programme. His work focuses on depression and evidence-based approaches to depression. In particular, how mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can prevent depression and enhance human potential across the lifespan. Several studies have arisen out of this work that suggest MBCT as an alternative to maintenance antidepressants (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2008; Lancet, 2015; JAMA Psychiatry, 2016), as well as a universal approach to preventing depression in adolescence (British Journal of Psychiatry, 2013). He is also interested in the interface of ancient wisdom traditions and contemporary science, in particular the role of compassion. I co-authored Compassion in the Landscape of Suffering, with Christina Feldman.