I invite you to visit us behind the scene, where things are messy. We prepare, we teach, we supervise, we train, we plan, we implement, we dream, we fail, we regroup, we change directions, we struggle, we disagree, we sweat, we are tired, we rest, we succeed, we enjoy, we laugh, and we are ferocious. In what follows, just a little snapshot on what is going on and what we envision, knowing that everything may turn out differently than expected.

Dr. Linda MacDonald has continued to teach all the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs, extended version (MBSRP-X), which integrates the know-how and practice of mindfulness with the latest knowledge about the brain in Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB). I come in to teach and meet everyone in sessions 10 and 11. This has so far worked out quite well and students’ feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, because it exposes our students to 2 very different styles of teaching. While Linda lays the painstaking groundwork of moving the students along little step by little step through the basics of mindfulness practice, I can then take the students through their paces in exploring what they have learned, what they have missed, where they struggle – often without knowing it, and where the road ahead lies. Linda and I have identified certain areas, where the material could be presented in a more concise form so as to enhance efficiency of learning.

The number of referrals to our Centre and the MBSRP-X is continuing to grow, and our referral base includes now over 800 family physicians, plus many other agencies, pain clinics and individual therapists of all stripes from all over the Golden Horseshoe. This gives me the opportunity to thank all those thoughtful physicians and clinicians for their openness of mind as they encourage their patients to explore mindfulness. Even though between Linda and I we perform about 9 new assessments a week, we now book first assessments into November. Our waiting times are getting longer and we are therefore looking for ways of expanding our capacity. We are pursuing a few options to improve on this challenge. We are continuing to actively seek physicians and psychiatrists, who have some mindfulness training and are willing to join our team, train in the integration of mindfulness practice and IPNB, and then begin participating in assessments and leading MBSRP-Xs. 

Marlene Van Esch, MSW, is a social worker with more than 10 years experience working with individuals, families, parents, and youth groups of diverse cultural and social background. She joined us as a student in training to learn to teach mindfulness. She is right now job shadowing Linda in teaching the MBSR-X programs, will be soon participating as a student co-therapist in a longterm psychodynamic psychotherapy group, and has been attending the Mindsight Intensive among other activities. We have enjoyed her participation and are looking forward to our continued collaboration.

This past academic year was the first time I presented the Mindsight Intensive with slide shows, and all the sessions have been video taped. Slide shows and accompanying handouts for each topic are available to participants online. There are four categories for each session: Guided meditation, brain talk, main talk and Q&A. The idea is to eventually make the recordings available online. However, this is easier said than done and the work involved is enormous. The next step is now going to be the development of a new and updated website that will have a contemporary feel and functionality, allowing me to expand in this direction. Although the website should be up some time in the late fall, its e-commerce portion will take longer to appear. I am also working on a system that allows course participants to gain free access to the lectures and recordings on line.

Last but not least, our cozy office houses at least 9 groups per week in addition to all the individual patients who come every week. More often than not it now feels like Grand Central Station, and we may have to consider a move to a larger office, although again, we don’t know exactly when and how this will occur.

Both Linda and I deeply appreciate the opportunity we have to teach and mingle with so many talented, thoughtful, enthusiastic, mindful and dedicated students, who always challenge us, ask pointed questions and do not let us get away with anything. We invite you all, dear students, to actively participate in the growth of our Mindfulness Centre. This can be done by sending in your questions, thoughts and suggestions via email, and also by taking on certain tasks of your interest that Linda and I alone cannot possibly get all done.

Enjoy the rest of a great summer!

Dr. T.

Copyright © 2017 by Dr. Stéphane Treyvaud. All rights reserved.