The Contemplative Group for Health

This is a mindfulness based group for people with bodily related disturbances.  We developed  this offering in response to the need for a specific intervention for those managing physical symptoms, for whom there seems little specific help in contrast to the therapies available for purely psychological conditions.

The group will have two major aspects: the learning of mindfulness for self-care, and the use of the group process to explore relational factors which help or hinder coping with bodily related distress.  Using principles of Contemplative Group Dynamics, a group mindfulness practice, our group course will explore the role of attention in identifying, maintaining, and exacerbating physical symptoms. We will then link this understanding to how relationships (friends, family, work) also require attention.

Initial Consultation:

a. Each candidate will first attend a two hour orientation. This will help with deciding whether joining the course is in one’s best interest. The orientation will describe and have periods of practice of the individual mindfulness and group work.

b. Thereafter if a candidate is interested an interview will be arranged using Skype. This interview will enable us to evaluate whether the group is suitable for the candidate at this time and for the candidate to clarify any questions they may have before making a commitment.

c. We will be evaluating the usefulness of this course for participants by doing before and after questionnaires.

d. Inclusion criteria:

  1. Willingness to establish a daily mindfulness practice.
  2. Ability to attend  4 all-day (10am-4pm) sessions held once a month.
  3. Willingness to work with others who share similar goals.
  4. No active substance misuse problem.
  5. Candidates in psychotherapy are advised to confer with their therapist to assure the timeliness of the training.

Who the group is suitable for: 

The group is suitable for people who are managing physical health issues, body image problems, and functional disorders and who are interested in the interaction between mindfulness of body and interpersonal life. The willingness and ability to establish a regular mindfulness practice and to co-operate with others who hold similar goals are the two primary entry criteria. The course is suitable for those who are new to mindfulness as well as those who have already attended mindfulness training.

The focus of the group is to train people to relate more thoroughly to their bodily experience. How does one relate to body sensation and emotions which are composed of various sensations? How does one describe and communicate that experience?  This focus is different from searching for an explanation for experience, either physical, mental, or historical, an effort which in itself can be a source of frustration.


Mindfulness has an evidence base for the reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression and has been used successfully to help cope with medical conditions including chronic pain (Melbourne Academic Mindfulness Interest Group, 2006). The practice of mindfulness is related to the development of “interoceptive awareness” defined as a person’s ability to discern internal body sensations. This ability is foundational for recognising emotions which are constituted by different physiological (afferent) changes (Critchley & Garfinkel, 2017; Kühle, 2017).

Mindfulness training helps one have a less reactive relationship to body sensation, thought, and emotion. The role of the group is to support this less reactive relationship while connecting with others. This opens for exploration the link between the perception of sensation with the communication of sensation and emotion to others. One consequence of bodily distress is isolation, disconnecting from others. The group will function in a way to reduce isolation.


Orientation Group Meeting £40

£500 for four day series

Groups take place at: 

Bloomsbury Psychotherapy Practice

4th Floor, Hamilton House,  Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BB

How to contact regarding Orientation Group Meeting:

Please email to organise a phone conversation to discuss the group.

Email: Phone number  07740390389

Who we are:

Dr Lawrence Ladden is a Health Psychologist and Clinical Psychologist with specialist training in group dynamics, practicing in the UK since 2013, and for years prior in Philadelphia with expertise in using mindfulness with patients with physical health conditions, such as cancer and chronic pain.  A mindfulness instructor for more than 30 years, he developed contemplative group dynamics which is an integration of mindfulness practice and group processes.

Dr Jale Cilasun is a Psychiatrist with specialist training as a Medical Psychotherapist  and in Group Analysis who has been working in the NHS for 30 years, last 16 years as  Consultant Medical Psychotherapist. She has extensive experience of using the group as therapeutic medium for a wide range of psychological conditions. She has been working with contemplative group dynamics for the last five years.



Melbourne Academic Mindfulness Interest Group (2006). Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapies: A review of conceptual foundations, empirical evidence and practical considerations. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Vol 40, Issue 4, pp. 285 – 294,

Kühle, L .(2017): The missing pieces in the scientific study of bodily awareness, Philosophical Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/09515089.2017.1311999

Critchley, H. D. and Garfinkel, S.N. (2017).  Interoception and emotion. Current Opinion in Psychology, 17. pp. 7-14. ISSN 2352-250X