When Bruno asked me to write something for this edition, in January this year, I agreed willingly, as it seemed months away. When he reminded me by e-mail this past week that he needed my snapshot by this weekend, I find myself challenged by what to write.
My first exposure to MiCBT was in 2008 after a weekend seminar in Atherton, Far North Queensland with Bruno, which then led to an 8 week MiCBT training course the following year. I have been practicing as a psychologist since 1998; however my experience as a therapist began some years earlier in 1989. My attraction to MiCBT operates at several levels. As a therapist, I strive to be congruent in my life and work, and mindfulness meditation, as a personal practice, provides a very real and tangible way to maintain my connection to this strong value. In addition, the Eastern philosophies of acceptance and change, inherent in the model, feed a personal font of optimism around how I engage with my internal and external world and with the worlds of my clients. Nevertheless, one of the most exciting rewards for me is my own journey with this therapy has been the results that are achieved by clients that engage with MiCBT, and this on its own would be enough to keep me immersed in the model.
I live with my partner Colin and our 2 cats in Cairns, Far North Queensland, and work 2 days a week as a Psychologist in Sexual Health and 1 day in private practice, with the remaining time given over to my studies. In these working roles, I am inspired by the clinically significant behavioural and immunological changes in clients with significant health co-morbidities including HIV, Hepatitis C, Diabetes, and Cardiac Disease when they engage with MiCBT. I see so many opportunities to further expand our collective knowledge about the application of mindfulness to these problems. All in all, it is a very exciting time to be engaged in this work.
I have spent the last 6 months completely immersed in the practice of MiCBT. From January to March this year, I undertook a 3 month practicum at the MiCBT Institute in Hobart as part of my ongoing studies in a Masters of Clinical Psychology. During this period, Bruno and I delivered a MiCBT group program for people in the community with mixed difficulties, with Bruno delivering the weekly group sessions and I meeting with participants individually for 10 weeks. I received ongoing supervision from Bruno throughout this period and administrative and organisational support from Karen in the Practice. For me, it was a unique opportunity to work within a single model framework and develop a depth of expertise, rarely accessible in ‘usual' practicum options.
Currently, I am working towards the completion of a thesis, which seeks to explore the differences between group and individual delivery of MiCBT utilising outcome measures including the Symptoms Checklist-90 (Revised Edition), the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale, the Short Progress Assessment, the Mindfulness-based Self Efficacy Scale and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Some of the hypotheses generated through this comparison relate to the effects of group dynamics on motivation to engage in formal practice, and whether the severity of symptoms influences outcomes in either delivery format. My hope is to complete this research this year and to this end, I have just completed my latest round of data collection in Hobart.
I would welcome opportunities to participate further in this dialogue with like minded colleagues and look forward to sharing anything useful that derives from my current research. I can be contacted on Lyn.Roubos@gmail.com. I also thank Bruno for this opportunity and his ongoing sensitive and elegant mentoring.
N.B. I have closed my books for the remainder of 2010 but would be delighted to receive new referrals from the beginning of 2011.