Enquires are welcome regarding any aspects of my doctoral research which was undertaken within the department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University (2008-2012):
‘Honouring Individuality, Creating Community: Mindfulness-Based Emotional Development and Wellbeing’
With reference to the turn to the self in contemporary Western societies, this study assesses the significance of emotional competence as a means of improving subjective wellbeing. It delineates the key components of the subjective turn and specifies the main outcome as emotional competence, achieved through increased self-reflection and self-awareness. The efficacy of mindfulness practice as a method for improving emotional competence is examined and a programme of mindfulness-based emotional development (MBED) devised, informed by a substantial body of empirical research. Prior to working with thirty-six participants in six discrete groups from a range of work-related contexts, extensive participant observation was undertaken through attendance in a broad range of mindfulness retreats, training, courses and conferences. The resultant one-day course was used to assess the outcomes of participation for the co-researchers. The therapeutic effects are reported quantitatively in terms of psychological wellbeing, physical health and productivity at work, and qualitatively using data from the co-researcher ‘diary’ accounts. In addition, an autoethnographical account of the researcher’s longitudinal experience is elucidated as a method of assessing the significance of the practice for emotional management using a three-fold typology of the sacred, mundane and profane. The thesis culminates in a four-phase model of personal development that examines the application of MBED as a means of facilitating eudaemonic wellbeing, through improved intrapersonal and interpersonal communication.