The following programs are offered by Susan Woods
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Training Programs for Professionals
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Training Programs for Professionals
Mindfulness Meditation Classes
Welcome to my website! Over the next few pages you will find out about mindfulness-based professional trainings and mindfulness meditation in general.
There are many reasons why more and more people are becoming interested in the practice of mindfulness meditation. Much of this increased interest is being fueled by results from scientific and clinical studies that are increasing our understanding of how the practice of mindfulness can help with stress, chronic illnesses and specific mental health issues such as depression, prolonged periods of sadness or sustained levels of anxiety.
I was a practicing psychotherapist for 21 years and worked in a variety of clinical settings, most recently in private practice. For many of these years I taught Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programs as a complementary way of alleviating pain and suffering.
I have also presented at numerous conferences on the subject of mindfulness-based interventions and am a published author on the training of professionals in MBSR and MBCT. In addition, I have acted as a professional advisor on a number of clinical projects and trials examining the efficacy of using MBCT for various populations.
My current focus is in training, supervising and mentoring colleagues interested in applying mindfulness-based interventions in a variety of professional settings. I do this in a number of ways that includes leading workshops and professional training programs in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as well as offering individual and group supervision in person, through Skype or via phone consultations. (Please visit the Professional training page for further information).
Mindfulness meditation, also known as insight meditation is a practice which allows us to relate to ourselves and our lives with wisdom and equanimity. A way to start practicing is to bring a specific focus to the breath and the sensations associated with breathing. However it soon becomes obvious that maintaining a steady awareness on the breath for any length of time is difficult to do! What we come to recognize and experience is that our intention to pay attention to a specific object, the breath is not that easy to sustain over time. Our attention wanders off moving onto other diversions. These can be sounds, thoughts, stories, memories, worries, emotions or body sensations. So a big part of mindfulness practice is to cultivate patience and generosity towards this tendency of the mind.
With practice, the mind becomes less distracted and settles down. As mindful attentiveness strengthens towards whatever is being encountered in the field of mind-wakefulness, regardless of whether it is body sensations, thoughts or emotions, it becomes easier to notice the transitory nature of all experience. Sustaining a kind and friendly curiosity towards thoughts, emotions and body sensations supports and increases calmness through steady concentration, and insight, through reflection. As a result we become less driven by our reactions to the contents of the various modes of mind, and less caught up. In developing this self-observation we improve our chances of responding to experience less impulsively and more effectively.
So mindfulness increases our capacity to respond rather than to react in stressful situations which supports the development of different perspectives when we are faced with emotional difficulties. This is the opposite of being governed by anxious thoughts and feelings about the future or ruminating about the past. By developing skills that strengthen an ability to have a present moment focus, we come see how often the mind is on ‘automatic pilot’. Mindfulness allows us to see clearly that thoughts and emotions are transient events and loosens the hold that thinking and mood has on our choices and behaviors. The outcome is a fresh and different perspective.
It’s not easy to notice what is going on in the mind because it brings us into direct contact with our anxieties, our judgments, and our vulnerabilities. We come to see the often automatic nature of thinking which can take us into worrying about the future or reliving the past. But as we adopt this hospitable and compassionate present moment way of observing the contents of the mind we come to see what attitudes are helpful for kind and helpful interactions and which can cause problems.
Grounded more and more in mindfulness the mind is free to respond skillfully to any given situation. When we can rest calmly with our vast array of feelings and thoughts, we are able to live fully and openly, caring for ourselves, for others and the world in which we live.
There are many retreat centers worldwide that provide places for those interested in sustaining a mindfulness practice.
I offer the following services:
Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Programs
Consultation/Supervision for health professionals in mindfulness-based interventions
Mindfulness Meditation Classes
Mindfulness Meditation CDs