BLUE MOUNTAINS MINDFULNESS TRAINING
BLUE MOUNTAINS MINDFULNESS TRAINING
I have been involved in the field of therapy since the early 1980’s when I was so impressed by the impact of massage on my whole sense of well-being that I studied and began practicing Swedish massage. I also noticed that the giving of massage was sometimes as beneficial for me as the receiving. I now understand that being on both sides of the massage process became a mindfulness meditation for me, bringing me in touch with myself and my body in the moment to moment unfolding of the experience.
A few years later I was introduced to Buddhist meditation in the form of a ten-day Vipassana retreat and adopted this form of meditation in an irregular practice, and through this in combination with regular Yoga practice I was able to become more present and calm my mind.
These experiences got me interested in the role of the mind in the tensions and ills of the body, so I embarked on the study of Somatic Psychotherapy in 1993. This approach sees the mind-body as a unity which we try to separate at our peril, and is informed by many Eastern traditions. This has been my private psychotherapy practice since 1996, and is the basis for my Clinical Registration with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).
Like Sandra, part of my mindfulness practice now is walking and being in nature, and I am keen to extend the pleasure I take in leading bushwalks to holding mindful or meditative walks, known as Yatra in the Buddhist tradition.
The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course aligns with and effectively teaches the practices that contribute to my well-being every day. I have completed the Level I teacher training with the Mindfulness Training Institute of Australia and New Zealand.
Both Sandra and I have run different kinds of Mindfulness Programs for businesses and non profit organisations.
For me, this amazing journey with Mindfulness began at a very difficult time in my life. I came to the practices when I was bedridden with a chronic illness, with which I still live. I became anxious and depressed. However, I could do the meditation practices while lying down and listening to recordings. I was met where I was at, so to speak.
Living in the world heritage national park , the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, I am privileged to be able to bush walk frequently. Walking in an emobodied mindful way, engaging the senses to experience the raw beauty and wonder of nature is both my solace and medicine.
I am a clinical Social Worker and now a long-term mindfulness practitioner. During 2020 I began closing the therapy wing of my private practice. In 2020 I also had the privilege of being part of a Wellbeing program for staff of a large Women's Housing and Drug and Alcohol Service in Canberra for 6 months, leading twice weekly mediation sessions. .
I remain very interested in the relationship between stress and wellbeing and the interface between trauma and mental health. I had been in Clinical Private Practice for over 20 years. I remain a member of the AASW and an accredited Mental Health Social Worker. This means I have been trained to deliver psychological treatments and worked with programs including Medicare and other GP referral programs, as well as Victims Services NSW, and the veteran community. Many people who consulted with me lived with chronic illness and disability. I explain to course participants that they will see me working with my physical limitations, and hope this gives them permission to work with theirs. A core quality to this approach to teaching Mindfulness practices is cultivating compassion and a non judgemental approach.
I have trained in teaching Mindfulness Meditation Level 1, (both MBSR and MBCT) with the Mindfulness Training Institute of Australia & New Zealand (MTIA). MTIA Director Tim Goddard is regarded as having introduced Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness course to Australasia from the USA. In 2018 my interests led me to expand my skills in Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness Training.
This year I am engaging more fully with the fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, the Dharma, and exploring the practice of Insight Dialogue. Jill Shepherd, Beth Faria, Christoher Ash, Patrick Kearney and the work of Bhikkhu Analayo and Gregory Kramer are my guides to date.