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Mark Williams

Mark Williams is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. He has held previous posts in Cambridge and the University of Wales, Bangor. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the British Academy.

His life’s work has been research on how best to alleviate depression and suicidality, and to better understand the processes that increase risk of suicidal behaviour in depression. With colleagues John Teasdale (Cambridge) and Zindel Segal (Toronto) he developed Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for prevention of relapse and recurrence in depression, and research has now found that MBCT halves the recurrence rate in those who have suffered three or more previous episodes of major depression. In Great Britain, the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), working on behalf the National Health Service, has recommended MBCT as a primary treatment for prevention relapse in depression.

His books include The Psychological Treatment of Depression (Routledge, 1984, 1992), Cognitive Psychology and Emotional Disorders (Wiley, 1988, 1997; with F. Watts, C. MacLeod & A. Mathews), Cry of Pain: understanding suicide and self harm (Penguin, 1997, 2002) and with Z. Segal and J.D. Teasdale Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A new approach to preventing relapse (Guilford, 2002).

His book, The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Guilford, 2007; co-authored with John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn) is written for a lay-readership, and includes a CD narrated by Jon Kabat-Zinn so that readers may try mindfulness practice for themselves.

His most recent book and audio-book Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World (London, Piatkus, 2011, co-authored with Danny Penman) extends MBCT to those who find themselves over-busy, stressed and exhausted; who feel that life is running away from them. It includes a free CD of short meditations, narrated by Mark Williams, that anyone can use to enhance their quality of life.