You may know us as Sandra Miller and Sunyata Kopriva, St Louis-based clinical therapists. Or you may know nothing about us. Either way the thing we want you to know about us is our passion for all things meditation and mindfulness.
We’ve been working together to develop St Louis DBT’s Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program since 2016. Together and separately, we’ve led two to three 10-week groups a year, each with 6-12 participants with depression and anxiety. Participants have ranged in age from 17 years to 79 years. We’ve evaluated, tweaked and strengthened the program with each offering. Today, our classes fill quickly and we often have to add a second section to accommodate everyone.
We come to Mindful Way St Louis through different paths. Our unique paths give us complementary skills, knowledge and experiences that we bring to our partnership.
Sunyata – experience working with children & teens, trauma informed, yoga/body-focused, steeped in Buddhist thought and practice, grew up meditating
Sandra – experience working with adults (adult education & facilitation),
Evidence-based MBCT combines meditation with tools of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to increase awareness of thoughts, emotions and body sensations that contribute to and sustain depression and anxiety. With a firm foundation in research and experience, we have begun adapting MBCT To:
- add areas of emphasis to the common core content
- adapt the clinical program for other groups
- develop age-appropriate ways of delivering the program for different age groups
- offer workshops, retreats and camps in addition to weekly classes
Areas of Emphasis
Grounded in research and based on our experience, we have begun offering clinical MBCT classes with different emphases. Our goal is to reach people where they are with a strengths-based point of entry.
Sunyata led clinical MBCT with a body emphasis in Spring 2019. In Fall 2019, Sandra will lead MBCT with a Christian emphasis. As time goes on, we will also adapt the regular clinical program with three additional areas of emphasis: ruminative thinking, emotional dysregulation and spiritually focused.
Non-Clinical Classes for Other Groups
Simultaneously, we each have been adapting the MBCT approach for non-clinical groups. Sandra has piloted non-clinical MBCT classes with a Christian spiritual emphasis, working with local churches, including Trinity Episcopal Church in St Charles and St Martin’s Episcopal Church in Ellisville. She leads Living Mindfully in Christ, an 8 week class aimed at reducing fear and worry to strengthen participants’ spiritual life.
She also leads an online class at MeditationChapel.org, an online meditation chapel where 3000+ people from diverse faith traditions worldwide in more than 40 meditation groups meet weekly to meditate using Zoom videoconferencing. Her class, Meditation:Awakening to Thoughts & Emotions, is an 8-week class aimed at increasing mindfulness of thoughts and emotions to strengthen participants’ spiritual life.
Sunyata has been focusing on MBCT with an emphasis on body awareness. She’s been leading classes, retreats and workshops at yoga studios, including XXXX, XXXX, XXXX, since 20xx. These bring together her credentials and experience as a trauma-informed yoga teacher with MBCT.
Now Mindful Way is poised to expand to offer programs for more age groups in more types of organizations. We are looking for innovative organizations to pilot classes, retreats, workshops and camps for:
- Nonprofits & Parks & Recreation programs (e.g., recreation centers, Boys & Girls Club, community centers)
- School-based mindfulness pilot projects
- Gyms and fitness centers
More Age Groups
More Options for Delivery