Why yoga, mindfulness and group psychotherapy in Brixton?
When I worked as an Honorary in a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for South London and Maudsley (SLAM) NHS Trust, I met many folks whose psychosis had been brought on by an accumulation of stressful life events.
My own experience (as well as countless studies) of yoga, mindfulness and group psychotherapy demonstrates that they provide very real tools for coping with stressful situations. With practice, we can develop a ‘radar’ that allows us to see potential problems on the horizon.
It got me thinking – why not offer such a combination for those who experience psychosis?
How is stress a factor in psychosis?
Stress is a major factor in all mental health conditions, whether psychosis, PTSD, bipolar and/or personality disorders. When we feel stressed, we are in the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mode. In this survival mode our vision becomes narrowed, we see the world as threatening. Our coping strategies will be more likely to surface.
Such coping strategies might be addictive behaviours such as drinking, taking drugs, or engaging in risky sexual activities. It might involve acting defensively or aggressively in work or social situations, or it might involve pushing ourselves harder at work. It might involve all of the above – and more besides!
The combined forces of psychological, emotional and physical stress makes a psychotic episode more likely.
What is psychosis?
The experience of psychosis is unique to each individual affected by it. It might include delusions such as hearing voices, hallucinations, or unhelpful or confusing thought patterns.
It can feel very frightening to have such experiences. Such delusions might not appear real to anyone else, but they feel very real to the person experiencing them.
How can yoga, mindfulness and group psychotherapy in Brixton help?
Yoga Share aims to provide a small, contained group where attendees can share their experiences in a safe, non-judgemental space. Some folks might like to attend and say nothing – that’s fine! Some might have had a difficult day, and wish to curl up under a blanket with a cushion – that’s fine too – and there’s blankets, mats and cushions provided!
For thousands of years, yoga, mindfulness, and talking to each other has been a supportive way of dealing with the challenges that life throws at us.
Yoga Share aims to share some of that knowledge, in a healing space.
Fridays 5:15pm -7:15pm at the Mosaic Clubhouse, 65 Effra Rd, Brixton, London SW2 1BZ. It begins on March 17th 2017.
This project is in collaboration with the Psychosis Therapy Project, Lambeth and Southwark Mind, and the Mosaic Clubhouse.
UPDATE 22/06/19: AFTER MORE THAN TWO WONDERFUL YEARS THE LAST YOGA SHARE TOOK PLACE ON 21/06/19. Thank you to all those who came, shared, supported and gave feedback. It was an amazing experience and I will never forget the kind and inspirational souls I met. There is still a general yoga group that meets at Mosaic on Fridays – please get in touch with Mosaic to find out more.