Tamara Russell PhD, DClin, MSc

Tamara Russell PhD, DClin, MSc
Co-Director, Mindfulness Centre of Excellence, London

As a clinical psychologist, martial artist and neuroscientist, Tamara brings a unique, multiple perspective to her mindfulness innovation work. Tamara is the author of “Mindfulness in Motion” (Watkins, 2015), #whatismindfulness” (Watkins, 2017) as well as numerous academic articles exploring emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and mental health. She has a particular focus on Mindful Tech design.

The Death Incubator: Mindful 360 Design in the VR Environment
Saturday, May 2, 2020 — 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

The Death Incubator is a blended digital-analog experiential learning program that provides individuals with the opportunity to explore their relationship to death. It is a collaboration between a visionary artist and VR developer and a mindfulness innovator and clinical psychologist who share a passion to blend ancient and modern wisdom and practices (including Virtual Reality) to create experiences that can transform consciousness.

The Death Incubator is an immersive and mindful deep dive into our beliefs, assumptions, and attitudes towards death and dying. The end of life is a profound and meaningful experience that we often fail to prepare for adequately.

The latest research on the transitions experienced in the dying process point to the benefits of increasing our death literacy. We need training in order to expand our understanding of how to relate to end of life experiences and develop more humane end of life processes and practices. The Death Incubator VR element is an artistic representation of a Near Death Experience (based on research findings from this literature). This is combined with preparatory and integration practices drawn from meditation, creative, psychological and philosophical traditions.

This work brings the best of mindfulness based practices and design principles and blends it with the incredible opportunities provided by the virtual reality environment. Critical in this work is the Mindful360 design approach and integration of mindfulness in the whole process of design, development and delivery. This ensures a mindful relationship to technology and ethical best practice when working with these powerful tools on this important topic.

Technology is often considered the antithesis of mindfulness. We will demonstrate the power of blended approaches that draw on the best of both worlds to support human flourishing and the development of consciousness.

Participants will come away with:

  • An understanding of transformative technology and the power of blending ancient and modern traditions
  • A description and understanding of the Mindful360 Design approach
  • The power of this approach to tackle a particularly important topic – death using data from qualitative studies of near death experiences
What Colour is Your Dragon? Systems Mindfulness to Increase Compassion
Sunday, May 3, 2020 — 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM

What colour is your dragon is a Brazil-UK collaboration that supports family (and other) systems to develop compassion and emotional intelligence. Using a theoretical framework based on the neuroscience of the brain’s three motivational systems (threat, drive and soothing), young people and families are taught to ask “what colour is my dragon?” and learn how to regulate their motivational states. Through the use of storytelling and puppets, young people and families learn about how to honour and take care of their three dragons and love them all.

The work blends a number of theoretical models including that of Paul Gilbert, Wendy Hasenkamp’s triple network model of of a mindful moment (attention, default mode and salience networks) and Tamara Russell’s Body In Mind Training (“Mindfulness in Motion”) with creative and enacted learning methodologies. It also draws on the inter-relational and pan therapeutic Family Domains model. As such, its a playful, simple and profound intervention that is based on solid theoretical psychological and neuroscientific models.

This work was developed in a Brazil-UK collaboration so it brings a unique take on the design and delivery, taking into account contextual factors including poverty, low education level and high physical and physiological threat as the norm. Under these conditions of complexity, simplicity in delivery is essential.

“What colour is your dragon?” is therefore a “bottom up” design of a mindfulness intervention. It supports systems change to a world where feeding your green dragon (developing self care, compassion and kindness) is for everyone and in fact works best when we can work together to manage our blue dragon (don’t work too hard), embrace our red dragon (it’s ok to have “negative” emotions and feed the green as much as possible (self care and kindness). It is a program that gives both permission and language to support emotional intelligence no matter the context.

Participants will come away with:

  • How to innovate in the mindfulness space using theoretical psychological and neuroscientific models as a starting point (#protocolfree)
  • The benefits (and challenges) of working cross culturally to develop mindfulness interventions
  • How to develop systems based mindfulness approach (mindfulness is a team sport!)