Spirituality and Wellbeing 2015

Compassionate Wellbeing's first conference explored the relationship between spirituality and wellbeing. Featuring a fresh range of contemporary academic research alongside personal and practitioner accounts, this conference sought to illuminate how spiritual experience and practise can facilitate healing and enhance wellbeing. Panels featured looked at mindfulness, meditation and compassion practise; extraordinary experiences; life difficulties and spiritual experience; religious experience and ritual; and spiritual life journeys and transformative experience. A range of spiritual and academic positions were discussed with a view to an interdisciplinary and interfaith dialogue. 

See the abstracts and speaker biographies by clicking here.

Recordings of papers will soon be available for free for our members.



SATURDAY, 14th November

10.00-10.10    Welcome


Mindfulness and meditation       

10.10-10.40     ‘The benefits and limitations of mindfulness and meditation, and their impacts on overall wellbeing’ Mia Forbes Pirie

10.40-11.10    ‘Meditation in higher education: The effects of loving kindness meditation and mindfulness meditation over an eight week period’ Kimberley Sheffield, University of Northampton       




Mindfulness and compassion in practice    

*11.10-11.50    'Making mindfulness work: The impact of an eight week Mindfulness at Work programme on stress, anxiety, depression and resilience amongst leaders' Gill Crossland-Thackray

11.50-12.30 ‘Helping Others Helps You: A practical approach to compassion practice’ Maureen Cooper


12.30-13.30    Lunch


Extraordinary experiences and wellbeing    

13.30-14.00    ‘Spontaneous extraordinary experiences and the concept of wellbeing: An exploration’ Dr Madeleine Castro, Leeds Beckett University

14.00-14.30    ‘”Most people think you’re a fruit loop”: An exploratory study of clients’ experiences of seeking support for anomalous experience’ Dr Elizabeth C Roxburgh & Rachel E Evenden, University of Northampton

14.30-15.00    ‘A glass of sherry in one hand and a cigar in the other!’: Spiritualism and wellbeing beyond the healing encounter’ Dr Sara MacKian, Open University   


15.00-15.15    Coffee Break


Life difficulties and spiritual wellbeing

15.15-15.45    ‘Loneliness: A spiritual approach to a 21st Century epidemic’ Michelle Audouard

15.45-16.15  ‘Spirituality in Organisations: Connecting with core values’ John Darwin & Mike Pupius, Sheffield Hallam University


16.30-17.20   ‘A Compassion Focused Approach to Health and Spirituality’ Prof Paul Gilbert, University of Derby


19.00-    Dinner - O~kra Restaurant


 SUNDAY, 15th November 2015   


Illness, spirituality and wellbeing       

10.00-10.30   ‘Metaphors for understanding the spiritual and religious needs of young people with cancer: Reflections from an empirical research project’ Revd Kathryn Darby, Revd Paul Nash,  Birmingham Children's Hospital and Revd Dr Sally Nash, St John's College, Nottingham.  

10.30-11.00   ‘Spirituality, wellbeing and ageing’ John Darwin & Mike Pupius, Sheffield Hallam University

 11.00-11.30  ‘Relating to anomalous experiences in the context of social threat or social safeness. Lessons for psychosis?’ Dr Charlie Heriot-Matiland, King’s College London


11.00-11.20    Coffee Break


Spiritual experience and wellbeing I    

11.20-11.50   ‘Traditional Chinese Religion and Wellbeing’ Professor Charles Emmons, Gettysburg College


12.30-13.30    Lunch


Spiritual experience and wellbeing II    

13.30-14.15  ‘The Linking Of Hearts: Transmission of Compassion in Four Faith Traditions and in Psychotherapy’ Sarah Lionheart

14.15-14.45    ‘The psychological benefits of practicing humility’ Dr Roger Bretherton and Rebecca Park, University of Lincoln


14.45-15.00    Coffee Break


Spiritual experience and wellbeing III

15.00-15.30 ‘Art and Spirituality: An Encounter with Rothko’s painting Red on Maroon, section 4 (1959)’ Ann Bridge Davies

15.30-16.00 ‘A transpersonal exploration of epilepsy and its numinous, cosmic states’ Louise King, University of Northampton