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Professor Mark Williams – An Introduction to Mindfulness

Professor Mark Williams – An Introduction To Mindfulness

Professor Mark Williams is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford and was also the Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre until his retirement in 2013.

Professor Williams, along with colleagues John Teasdale (Cambridge) and Zindel Segal (Toronto), developed Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for prevention of relapse and recurrence in major depression. He is also co-author of the best selling book ‘Mindfulness: Finding Peace In A Frantic World.’

In this interview Mark elegantly answers the question ‘what is mindfulness?’ He also leads 2 simple introductory practices for beginners and talks about why mindfulness is so effective for the treatment of depression relapse.

In this interview you’ll also discover…

  • The difference between mindlessness and mindfulness.
  • Why mindlessness often gets us into so much trouble.
  • The cutting edge research on mindfulness for depression (Mark is one of the world premiere researchers in this field).
  • The ‘breathing space’ mindfulness practice, which is great to use in times of stress and difficult emotions
  • How to use ‘habit releasers’ to bring more mindfulness into daily life.
  • An experience of the ‘body scan’ mindfulness practice.

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Listen to the audio version here


Show Notes

Join the The Mindfulness Summit Journey here

Come and join the community discussions at any time on our Facebook page

Check out Melli’s blog, events and retreats at MrsMindfulness.com

More about MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy)

Check out Marks books ‘Mindfulness: Finding peace in a frantic world’

More about the Oxford Mindfulness Centre





Download Mark Williams audio interview

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Download Mark Williams audio meditation

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Download Mark Williams breathing space meditation

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Download Mark Williams video interview

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Download Mark Williams interview transcript

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1165 Responses

  1. sally ann

    Am looking at this interview for a second time. I have read quite a bit of material on mindfulness and ii really love that book. The interview here is excellent. Thanks guys!!!

  2. Clare Caldeira

    Interesting comment about daydreaming. Yes Daydreaming is the cousin of procrastination but it is also the cousin of a creative imagination and I would like to declare that I love my unfettered mind

  3. Vivianne Berger

    Well, I like the way MrsMindfulness says “mmm” and “yeah” because it reminds me of someone I love a lot 🙂 Also a bit distracting, but in a nice ways 😉

    Just mentioning because I felt a bit uneasy about the remarks.

  4. Azucena

    Beginning to catch up and this interview + practice was beautifully put together.
    Several inspirational points as the acknowledgment of we are always pretty much chasing the “next big thing” without living in the present.. “I will enjoy more when I finish my bachelor degree”, “I will enjoy more when I get a well paid job…when I get … married….when I have my first child, when I get that raise, etc”
    I always tell to bachelor students eager to finish their career….enjoy it now that you have,, cause once you graduate you will for sure miss all this, even that time at the library studying, hanging out with friends and yes..going into the classroom to sit an exam.
    All stages in life are full with beautiful experiences that we should enjoy more, for as long as they last.

    Thanks Mrs Mindfulness!!!! 😉

  5. Kimbra

    Listening to this interview again and taking notes. I found myself all over your profiling of depression. 13 to 15 (therapist) and prozac in college and again in my 30s. (Now 48) Though I haven’t been non-functionally depressed in more than half a decade, and I have done a month of meditation here and there many times, I saw that I still have many mental traps and habits you pin-pointed. Making them conscious was extremely useful to me! Three cheers for awareness! Thank you for your ability to articulate subtle differences and separate the useful from the traps. I now have a stack of new changes to make and I find myself excited for them. This interview has definitely shown up for me as an answer to prayer. Thank you oodles and bunches for your sharing!

  6. Eva

    As a therapist, it’s very interesting and awakening that Mindfulness can have such a great impact over depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation. Definitely, I will increase my knowledge about it to be able to be a better helper.
    As myself in my personal life, Mindfulness means a the discovery of my own breath and it was a life changing event that will live with me forever.
    So grateful of this course.
    Thank you very much.

  7. Clelia Corona

    Very good presentation, but did find comments by hosting person a bit disruptive and pretty soon a distraction. Please. If these comments could be reduced better attention could be dedicated to the presenter.
    Thank you for this program.

    1. kathryn

      I completely agree, it was such a fabulous explanation by Mark and could have been presented without the ïnterviewer” – ironically I found it hard to be a ‘mindful’ listener with the intermittent ‘hmmms’ and ‘okays’ – very awkward! I put a piece of paper over half the screen to reduce the visual distraction also. Anyhoo, was very useful information all the same!

      1. Christopher.Chevalier

        Agree – this type of event requires a different type of interviewing style. Let the man talk without interruption, please! Just agree on the topics and questions first and let him talk.

  8. Faith Halverson-Ramos

    As a therapist for whom mindfulness practice was a part of my clinical training, I especially appreciated the comments alluding to the nuances of incorporating mindfulness into therapeutic work.

  9. Nikki Lobwein

    Thank you Mark Williams for giving your time to share such precious knowledge ..I have just ordered 2 of your books
    Loved your reading of Hokusai ..shared it on my wall for all to enjoy 🙂

  10. Susan Sensemann

    Good info. Annoyed by interviewer…maybe that’s a test (ya, yeah, hmm, right, um) to be mindful even though frustrated by split screen.
    Mark Williams is very good.

  11. Albane Mahaut

    I came across Mark’s book last year when my fiancé passed away and my boss bought it for me to do the 8 weeks course… It did help me to learn how to breathe and not get overwhelmed by my feelings which were so raw and painful I sometimes felt I was suffocating! It also helped me to focus on a task for 8 weeks as I always like to finish a project I take on and I guess it helped me to escape through this project. 15 months later, I still use the body scan when I cannot sleep and try to be more open to mindfulness hence why I joined this summit. Thank you for organising it!

  12. Alessandra Lanfrancotti

    I am very new to the concept of mindfulness. I have experienced and still do depression especially when triggered by stress and emotionally negative experiences. I would like to know where I could join a group and learn the meditation method in North London. Any suggestion?
    Thanks for sharing your research with us

    1. Jan T

      I noticed your question today while looking back on this wonderful program. You could try going here in London. It’s about meditation and learning a better way of living through Eastern teachings. It includes mindfulness and quite a bit more. http://www.srf-london.rg.uk. I’ve been going to the center in Southern California since 2005 and I love it. I’m now teaching what I’ve learned.

  13. Anne

    I found this talk very interesting, especially the fact presented at the very end: after 6-8 hours the brain just cannot work properly anymore. I am a teacher and my working hours vary a lot depending on the time of the year. At the beginning of the school year not much happens and I find my days quite relaxing But about half through the semester the work just never stops and I work both evenings and weekends to cope with the workload. After these 8-10 weeks; I am completely exhausted and even shorter holidays such as the christmas break do not help. Do you have suggestions on how to deal with this kind of job. It will never change. It is the nature of this job. Thank you.

  14. roberta

    I am so grateful to have been invited to this summit mindfullnes is something I know I enjoy and found very beneficial from the start no need to expert just be in mindfullnes receiving open stay of mind – thank you

  15. Katja Fleck

    I only saw the video by Mark Williams about the research centre now. What a wonderful chance to have it implemented in university! I really hold thumbs! And if ever I might tumble over a million or two: I will be delighted to invest into this mission!

  16. Wendy Weiss

    Just now getting to your first interview with best seller author Mark Williams. I love his guided meditations… I find his research fascinating. Thank you for Mellie/ Mrs. Mindfulness and staff. Wow – I better back up my ancient PC- as I have downloaded quite a few MP3s – and know I will revisit them.

  17. Hayley Gibson

    holy moly! was not expecting to cry during both guided meditations, I thought I was in a good ‘body set’ but by stopping reveals the true ‘mind set.’ I can’t wait for the body and mind start talking together1 thank you

  18. NC

    Thank you for arranging this…although I slept through the second meditation exiercise, I really felt relaxed listening to mark’s voice.
    I know it’s almost the end of summit, but Im enjoying the last couple of lectures which I can view.
    Thank you again.


    Hi from Dublin, Ireland.
    Melli, just to say a big thank you to you Matt and the rest of the team. What a great use of modern technology! I look forward to listening to the speakers each day…………just have to be mindful to actually practice as well!
    Wishing you all the best down there.

  20. Kerry lee

    Thank you Melli and all the amazingly inspiring and interesting speakers! I will miss listening to you each morning ???? take care and hope another summit such as this one happens again sometime soon!!

  21. Lisa Katz

    Thank you for leaving this one and Jon’s talks available – I had a bit of sadness yesterday at it being over and worried I would go backwards in my mindfulness, as it has really taken off thanks to you and your summit 🙂 – it is nice to still be able to access this! And I don’t think I will be going backwards anyway!! (meaning forgetting to be mindful!) Thank you so much! Please let us know if you are continuing anything from this 🙂

    1. colin robinson

      Today is my First day of committing to listen to the 30 days of recordings . I have listened to about 7 over the last month and enjoyed reading the comments.
      I am thinking of doing one day’s worth of recordings and comments over a 3 day period , so that would mean it’s a 90 day commitment.

  22. Bonnie

    THANK YOU. I love the readings. When I have time will do meditations.
    Hope I can get this all in, as I seem to be late arriving to the summit.
    Melie you are the sweetest.

    1. Dawn Schieferdecker

      There is no arriving late to the mindfulness summit. Just happens that the time you arrived was the perfect time for you! I started in the fall, but life got in the way, and I found that I was being very tough on myself for not being able to accomplish what they offered each day. Now I am more accepting of a slightly chaotic schedule, and am consciously carving out time to take these “small doses of regular nourishment”. Thank you, Prof. Williams, for sharing your knowledge and experience.

  23. Lawrence Klein

    Mindfulness and Compassion Based Biofeedback

    Register now
    Dr. Inna Khazan
    2-day Workshop
    April 9-10

    Biofeedback is a powerful treatment modality shown to be effective at alleviating numerous psychophysiological conditions. Biofeedback provides a way to work with challenging conditions in cases for which other interventions have been unsuccessful, such as chronic pain, anxiety, headaches, and trauma. At the same time, biofeedback treatment itself can stall, leaving the client and the therapist feeling frustrated and unsure of how to proceed. These challenges include situations when the client is highly anxious about his/her physiological symptoms, feels pressure to “do things right,” becomes easily overwhelmed with emotional stimuli, or is simply too distracted to attend to the computer screen for more than a few minutes at a time. Oftentimes, these challenges are due to the clients’ unhelpful efforts to control the fundamentally uncontrollable aspects of their internal experience.
    Mindfulness and compassion based approach to biofeedback can help people experience change through mindful, non-judgmental awareness and compassion, providing the therapist and the client a way to work with what gets in the way of biofeedback success. In this talk, participants will learn how to apply mindfulness and compassion-based skills to their biofeedback practice in order to help their clients reap the benefits of biofeedback without getting stuck in unproductive attempts to control their internal experience.

    Learning Objectives
    Explain concepts of mindfulness and compassion.
    Discuss research demonstrating effectiveness of mindfulness and compassion in clinical practice.
    Observe and/or experience specific mindfulness and compassion techniques.
    Utilize mindfulness and compassion skills in your biofeedback practice.

    About Dr. Inna Khazan
    Inna Khazan, Ph.D., BCB is a clinical psychologist, and faculty at Harvard Medical School. She maintains a private practice in Boston, working with clients on optimizing their health and performance. Dr. Khazan is recognized as a pioneer in the area of mindfulness and acceptance based biofeedback, and is the author of Clinical Handbook of Biofeedback: A Step-by-Step Guide to Training and Practice with Mindfulness.

  24. Ririn Tania Taufik

    Very good presentation, but did find comments by hosting person a bit disruptive and pretty soon a distraction. Please. If these comments could be reduced better attention could be dedicated to the presenter.
    Thank you for this program

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