I am a registered counsellor, psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher based in Brisbane’s inner north-west.
I aim to engage in a way that supports personal growth and an intention to embrace life in the present .
My counselling approach combines traditional western psychotherapy and Buddhist contemplative practices, humour and story-telling.
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention in a more purposeful way to what is arising in the present even our thoughts and feelings, and doing this as best we can without any kind of self-judgement. When learnt in counselling Mindfulness can be a wonderful support in helping us find the peace and support of the present and in letting go of unhelpful patterns or stories.
What are Mindfulness-Based Interventions?
MBIs include the teaching of meditation and gentle movement, body scan and relaxation practices based on attending to the senses. These may support you in bringing some ease to difficult thoughts, feelings and life experiences in a safe, life-affirming and more present-focused way. Good quality research emphasises that mindfulness-based well-being practices like these, if done regularly and with the support of an experienced coach, teacher or therapist may alleviate mental stress. MBIs are typically taught over a number of weeks alongside information about why stress happens and its positive and negative effects over time. MBIs are delivered one on one or in a group setting by a mental health practitioner qualified in teaching lifestyle mindfulness and meditation, and with a lived experience of regular mindfulness practices.
What is lifestyle mindfulness?
Lifestyle mindfulness is the practice of consciously paying attention as you undertake everyday activities and tasks, and go about your daily life. As well, you calmly and non-judgementally bring attention back to what you are doing when you notice that the mind has wandered, which it will! For some people lifestyle mindfulness including mindful walking, eating and connecting with other people may be a preferred or more suitable option to the more formal practice of sitting meditation.
How can meditation help me to manage stress and anxiety?
Meditation trains the mind to concentrate, and also to get accustomed to returning to the present, as it unfolds. Both help to settle a stressed and anxious mind. Doing a meditation just once may give you a temporary state of calm and a break from mental stress. With regular meditation practice the mental state of calm may develop into a beneficial mind trait, something more lasting.
Can practising mindfulness meditation replace anti-depressants?
Taking anti-depressants can be a very effective and important way to prepare the mind for learning meditation especially if you experience lots of anxiety. For some people medications can make it easier to learn meditation by quietening down negative repetitive thoughts. Over time as mindfulness becomes a regular habit you may notice that the mind has become accustomed to settling itself, and you feel calmer and better at managing stress. At that stage providing you keep going with daily mindfulness meditation and you can feel its positive benefits you may want this with your health practitioner. Be sure to let him or her know about the lifestyle changes you have made with regular mindfulness so that a careful, safe decision can be made about pharmaceutical support. Mindfulness meditation works best alongside other well-being practices including exercise suited to your body type, eating a nutritious diet, spending time in the outdoors, safe sun exposure, study, uplifting work and/or volunteering, creative endeavours and cultivating warm and reliable social supports. In some instances therapeutic and pharmaceutical support will continue to be necessary.
Is mindfulness safe to do if I have depression?
Learning mindfulness meditation can be an effective way to bring some ease and comfort to depression providing it is introduced gradually. It is advisable to discuss your interest in mindfulness with your health care practitioner. Why? Because training the mind to concentrate and return attention to the present takes mental energy, and this can feel intense at first for some people. A gentle breath-based relaxation practice may be more suitable if you’re experiencing depression, or a good way to start before embarking on mindfulness meditation itself. There are other ways to learn and experience the positive and uplifting benefits of mindfulness besides sitting meditation. If you have a condition like depression it is important to learn mindfulness from an experienced meditation practitioner who can offer a wide range of mindfulness alternatives besides the formal practice of sitting meditation, and who also has a clinical understanding of depression.
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