Health & Education
Mindfulness Training with Dr. Tamara Russell
Dr. Tamara Russell provides specialist clinical mindfulness training for mental health professionals and those using the services, working across a variety of settings.
Click here to see to see Tamara's track record of delivery in medical settings.
This article makes the case for the Body In Mind Training approach as a way to support healtcare staff stay well as they work.
This article talks about the utility of Body in Mind Training (and mindful movement) in the clinical psychology setting.
Using the BMT protocol, knowledge from neuroscience, mindfulness, psychology and body-based practices is provided, bringing creative and engaging “real world” tools and techniques to guide mental health professionals at any stage of their mindfulness journey. In this approach, a key focus is on developing mindfulness skills and mindful ways of working within staff teams, in order to impact positively on clinical care.
BMT draws on the core constructs of mindfulness as applied to the specific working environment and the challenges (and opportunities) working with different clinical populations and clinicians. It trains a set of fundamental principles that can be explored by individuals in their own way but which is formulated on the specific context of their work/life. The theoretical starting point of the training is that staff need to attempt to embed mindfulness in their working life. Clinical research indicates that this alone will improve the nature of each and every clinical contact. Woven throughout the training are observations and suggestions for how to bring mindfulness into day to day working in a way that benefits both clients and staff and a number of key exercises that can be embedded in both ward and out-patient work.
Those who have completed this training have commented on the essential nature of mindfulness to help them cope with the challenges of their work and the reminder to take care of ourselves as clinicians in this work. They also commented on the importance of making intentions explicit and how this has helped with particularly challenging cases. Most importantly, participants commented that the training increased their empathy for their clients and their awareness of helpful and unhelpful process in the work.
All trainings include an up to date summary of the current research and audio materials to support practice and personal development.
Modifications can be made to the training to meet the specific needs of your setting. Please talk to Tamara directly if there is something specific you need.
Health Care Staff: Tamara runs specialist workshops and trainings for GPs, Psychiatrists and general medical staff. These use the BMT framework as a way to train personal and applied mindfulness in the health care setting. There is nothing more stressful to the human brain than another human being in distress and front-line staff are faced all day with individuals in need and in pain. How to keep themselves well in the face of increasing need is a key priority. Tamara has led workshops at the Royal College of GPs (the “Time to Think” event in 2014), for the Londonwide Local Medical Committees, as well as for trainees via the King’s GP Scheme and the London Deanery. She teaches on the MRC Psych program at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (KCL) and speaks regularly for the Royal College of Psychiatrists (Annual and Social Psychiatry and Rehabilitation Conferences, Special Interest Group for Mindfulness and supporting trainee psychiatrists). Tamara was involved in the development of mindfulness and resilience training for young doctors at Kings College London (developing a SSC module for years 3 and 4 on mindfulness and resilience with Derek Chase) as well as supporting doctors in her local area of Lambeth and Southwark with various mindfulness education and training programs. Read the Masters Thesis evaulation of this program here.
Young People: Child and Adolescent Mental Health/Learning Difficulties/Education Setting: Working within young people requires a flexible delivery of mindfulness and a key role in the facilitator to model mindfulness themselves. The BMT approach allows teachers and multi-disciplinary team members to think about how best they can apply mindfulness sin their own lives, in their work and then, if they feel ready in their setting. The framework supports a gradual introduction of mindfulness to young people, using mindful movement, diagrams and neuroscience to provide an engaging way of working with young people of all ages. Visit the What Colour is Your Dragon? website to find out more about how this program has been adapted for young people and families.
Severe and Enduring Mental Health Conditions: BMT originated from work with those with severe and enduring mental health conditions. Workshops designed to help staff to support these clients have been delivered worldwide both through statutory services (e.g.: NHS), through third sector organizations and at national and international conferences. Tamara has a longstanding relationship with Bipolar UK and a particular interest in the use of mindfulness training and mindful movement for this group of individuals. These workshops help participants to think about ways in which their own mindfulness and willingness to be vulnerable with their clients can support the therapeutic relationship. The BMT framework provides a “crib sheet” for how to remember the key principles of mindfulness in both one to one, group and team work in this setting. This work has been delived over a decade with partners at The Dragon Cafe (London). Here, those with on-going mental health challenges are offered mindful movement, creativity and a safe psychological space to share their experiences. In person and (now) on-line zoom sessions have supported hundreds of indivdiuals who struggle to engage with mainstream services.
Peer Supporters: Peer supporters play a vital role in helping individuals recover from mental ill health. Although their experience of mental health is their strength, it also confers vulnerability. Mindfulness is thus a vital tool to support peer supporters to manage their own emotions and reactions as they do this important work. BMT exercises are also taught as part of a “crisis toolkit” that can be used in their work helping others in moments of challenge. Tamara has a long-standing relationship with The Dragon Cafe, a peer led creative café that supports those with mental health challenges. This work demonstrates how mindfulness can be woven through the management team, the volunteers and the patrons of the service to provide something really special and helpful for those in need. She has also worked with Certitude and Solidarity in a Crisis and offered supervision to peer trainers within South London and Maudsley Trust.
Eating Disorders: Tamara has delivered mindfulness training to specialist ED services in North East London Foundation Trust, South West London & St Georges Foundation Trust, South London & Maudsley NHS Trust, and Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Trust. This training, day long workshops and longer trainings of up to 5 full days, draws on Tamara’s academic research, conducted in acute in-patient eating disorders setting with colleagues in Brasil. This is the only work of its kind working with the most severe and enduring eating disorders clients.