Learn to Meditate and be Creative!
Address: Davisville PO Box 48023, Toronto, Ontario, M4S 3C6
I am a licensed and registered Occupational Therapist (OT) practicing in the city of Toronto. I developed Mindful Art Workshop in Toronto based on individual work with clients who were in crisis, working with them through periods of high stress and anxiety.
At the time, I was researching mindfulness, biofeedback, health, nutrition, and Buddhism. I felt that there had to be something to help clients cope with their high levels of stress and anxiety so I started accepting difficult referrals and started teaching clients some of the strategies that I’ve learned in my life to keep calm and find my center in the middle of the storm.
Adapting Mindful Meditation principles for clients with a moderate to severe brain injury meant breaking the ideas down into manageable bits of information and teaching each part when the person shows they are ready. After taking a few clients through the program, some themes that worked started to emerge. Clients also responded very well to the meditation exercises and reported feeling relaxed, calm, and better at the end of the session.
After a year of program development and with the encouragement from Dr. Brian O’Neill, I decided to collect outcome measures in the areas of stress, anxiety and pain levels for a pilot case study. I collected outcome data and results were sent to Dr. O’Neill to analyze. Results of the case study indicated a statistically significant reduction (significant at the p<0.005 level) in stress, anxiety and pain levels, using single case study research methodology. Feeling encouraged by the evidence, I decided to adapt the individual sessions to a larger group design to include a creative component, which became the inspiration for Mindful Art Workshop and this blog.
On a personal note, I come from a family who practices Zen Buddhism and grew up going to temples, listening to Buddhist prayers, smelling incense while participating in many practices. Although at the time, these practices were not personally meaningful to me, I nevertheless developed familiarity with the teachings and practices. It was in my late 20s that I began my own exploration of meditation during a very stressful period if my life where it seemed like everything was falling apart. Learning and reading Dharma was the only relief from feeling stressed and anxious and it was and still is, my refuge. Through the kindness of my parents and my teachers, I am able to deepen my knowledge and meditation practice and I hope to benefit many others through this workshop. I would like to dedicate this workshop to help others find inspiration from within. To find happiness from inside the mind not from external conditions.
I developed this blog to share information about the workshop and to publish client’s artwork and stories. What I am learning from people with an acquired brain injury has deeply shaped my clinical practice and my life. I hope you will find inspiration and meaning from the journeys of those living with a head injury.