What Colour is your Dragon?

Welcome to “What Colour is your Dragon?

(Click here for Portuguese version of this page and here for Portuguese book worksheets to download).

Clique aqui para a versão desta página em Português. Para você que adquiriu:  “Aprendendo a amar os seus dragões: Uma linguagem sobre emoções” Mindfulness entre gerações de Tamara Russell e Raquel Lhullier clique aqui para baixar os arquivos do livro.

Welcome Dragons!

Here you can find out all things related to Dragons and how we work with the three Dragons (Red, Green and Blue) to help young people and families develop a shared emotional language and have permission to use it.

This work is based in part on Professor Paul Gilbert’s “three circles” motivational brain “drivers” from Compassion Focused Therapy. The green mode of rest and digest, affiliation and care; the blue mode of drive and achievement, and the red mode of threat, fear and unmet needs.

Combined with Dr. Tamara Russell’s Body in Mind Training program (incorporating the neurocognitive mindfulness model), this makes for a “brainwise” approach that takes into account the “soup” of the brain (motivational drivers and hormones) as well as what the brain needs to do to stay mindful and compassionate in flexible and adaptive ways. It is informed by what we understand the brain needs in these different modes in order to regulate. Some things we can do ourselves, but its also great to share our explorations into our emotions with others. We have developed fun and playful ways to help families explore their bodies, minds and communication when they are feeling playful (green), when it is time to work and get things done (blue) , and when times are more challenging (red).

Our Green, Blue and Red dragons all need care and attention to make sure they are working well together.  Our workshops help young people aged 5-11 and those who care for them (parents, educators) develop a common dragon language of emotions that can be shared and help to regulate everyone’s emotions at home, school or work.


(c) Psychology Tools adapted from Gilbert (2005)

Introducing the Mini Dragons Team

The Mindfulness Centre of Excellence has formed a core team that aims to support young people and families develop a new language of emotions based on the 3 Dragons. It is clear from the statistics reported each year that adults and young people are struggling to articulate their emotional state in healthy ways.  There is a dire need to help people of all ages to be more at ease with their emotional life and particularly less inhibited to share their emotional experiences and express emotional needs.

We take a systems-level approach. Working not only with young people but also with those who care for them. In this way, we can all use the same language to expression our emotional needs. We honour our emotions and thank them for being part of our life. We acknowledge that our true human experience is feeling deeply and that these feelings are the motivations for many of the great advances that have been made by mankind.


Over the last three years, Dr Tamara Russell (UK) and Raquel Lhullier (Brasil) have been developing this multicultural project in a Brazil-UK collaboration. UK-based Tony Langford and Mary Louise Morris have recently joined the “mini dragons” team.

We have created a simple to use, science-based, accessible and practical approach to help adults and young people communicate effectively about emotions. This work has involved discussions, live research in the educational setting, reflections, workshops and individual/family training in Portugal, England and Brasil.

Dragon Travels in 2019

The Dragon’s took flight in Porto Alegre, Brazil in October. Read our blog from the Concriart Conference. Contact psicraquelbl@gmail.com for more information.

They landed at Santa Monica school- sharing the dragon language with over 80 young people and 60 staff members.

In November they landed in Elephant and Castle for a workshop with families and young people.

Dragon Travels in 2018

Read about the our Dragon workshop in 2018 in Portugal here.


Core intentions of the Mini Dragons Project


To share our experience of developing the Dragon language.

To help everyone learn how to share more of their emotional life in healthy ways.

To encourage self-care and self-compassion for all ages.

To encourage greater vulnerability and increase connection and creativity.



Team Members

Image of Dr Tamara Russell

Dr. Tamara Russell is the Co-Director of the Mindfulness Centre and supports the Mini-Dragons team with a Mindful 360 design and development processes. This includes mindful team processes to support the work as well as mindful and brainwise principles to guide the development of the teaching tools.


Raquel Lhullier is a Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist working with young people and families. She is the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence Lead for Child and Family Systems Mindfulness. Together with Centre Co-Director Tony Langford she co-ordinates the What Colour is your Dragon? initiative to improve emotionally intelligent communication in families.

Raquel is a graduate of the Catholic University of Pelotas (UCPel) in the South of Brazil. In Brazil she runs a private clinical practice and supports a multidisciplinary clinic consulting with physicians, educators, and paediatricians to promote psychological wellness within the whole system. She regularly teaches other professionals and shares her work internationally at conferences and workshops.

Raquel is a Member of Iniciativa Mindfulness.  She is certified by Mindful Schools and trained in the Neurocognitive Foundations of Mindfulness (International Teacher Training) offered by the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence and Iniciativa Mindfulness. She is the author and co-author of several books for children, families and educators.  More information:  www.raquelblhullier.com.br

Tony Langford is a co-director of the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence and is at the forefront of research showing how the creative arts, music and technology can have a demonstrable impact on mental health and wellbeing. Tony has trained in the Body in Mind Neurocognitive Model and has helped to develop the ‘What Colour Is Your Dragon?’ workshops with the help of his two sons at home in south west London. He has completed trainings and courses in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Compassionate Mindfulness, Somatic Experiencing, Focusing and EMDR.  He also co-facilitates his local Twickenham Mindfulness Meditation Group.

Tony runs Mini Dragons workshops for families and young people in the community, and brings embodied and creative practices as well as mindfulness teaching experience to the project.


Mary Louise Morris 

BA hons, MA) is a mindfulness teacher with over 15 years of working closely with schools in the UK. She has worked at a senior management level in three UK children’s charities and has over 20 years’ experience in training adults and children in a wide range of subjects.
Mary Louise is an accredited teacher of the Mindfulness In Schools Programme (MISP) qualified to teach both adults (.b Foundations) and pupils (.b). She has also completed a teacher training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, at The Centre for Mindfulness at the University of Bangor. MaryLouise has been training school staff in wellbeing since 2008. She runs 8 weeks courses for staff to help embed mindfulness practices in schools, and she has an strong interest in positive psychology. She is currently setting up a london based Happy cafe for the charity Action for Happiness. She has also developed a training especially for teenagers called My Digital Mind, focusing on digital well-being for pupils aged 14+.