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Mindfulness & Compassion Training Program For Healthcare and End-of-Life Professionals


   This Program is now Full. Please contact for wait list inquiries. Thank you!

All 5-Modules now for just $995 ! $1675 

(Take advantage of this 40% fee reduction with thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor) 

Full payment of $995 is required to secure your place in the 5 module program.  When needed, payment plans are available upon request.  info@saranainstitute.org

Note: Module 1 only can be taken as a stand alone foundational course.  In this case, Module 1 is offered at  $375.

(Staff of SickKids Hospital, Toronto, receive foundational course, Module 1 at $330.)

The curriculum will:

  • Mindfulness & Compassion Certificate Programinclude training in the foundations and theory of mindfulness practice, as a skill that develops presence, as well as mindfulness strategies applicable in the workplace, in everyday life, and in establishing a daily mindfulness practice;
  • provide crucial experiential communication and relationship building skills, through “mindful listening” practices that enhances the quality of care for patients, family members, and other team members, including our selves;
  • focus on neuroscientific evidence supporting the efficacy of mindfulness practice, with special concentration on the latest research from the healthcare field that supports the application of mindfulness and compassion as best practices in caregiving and self care;
  • teach compassion-based approaches to address and alleviate suffering of patients and the entire careteam;
  • explore the effects of empathy fatigue, burnout and moral distress and the use of healthy empathy;
  • integrate team building and interprofessional collaboration skills drawn from a “relationship-centered” model  and from the latest systems approaches in applying mindfulness and compassion skills;
  • address the psycho-social-spiritual domains within the context of  Healthcare and EOL caregiving, including working with children, physician hastened dying, complex suffering, systemic issues, moral distress and structural violence, as well our personal relationship to illness, dying and death;
  • build mindfulness and compassion skills within all aspect of Healthcare and End-of-Life caregiving through exploring case studies and clinical applications to complex scenarios.

Program Dates & Location 2017-18:  

Module 1: September 23-24, 2017/ SickKids, Peter Gilgan Centre, 686 Bay St., Toronto

Module 2: November 25-26, 2017 / SickKids, Peter Gilgan Centre, 686 Bay St., Toronto

Module 3: January 27-28, 2017 / SickKids, Peter Gilgan Centre, 686 Bay St., Toronto

Module 4: March 10-11, 2018 / SickKids, Peter Gilgan Centre , 686 Bay St., Toronto

Module 5: May 5-6, 2018/ SickKids, Peter Gilgan Centre, 686 Bay St. , Toronto

Module Details:

Module 1:                                      

 Being Present: The Roots & Practices of Everyday Mindfulness                                   images-2

Don’t touch me. Don’t question me. Don’t speak to me. Be with me.”  Samuel Becket, when he was dying.

In Module 1, we explore mindfulness as a practice, skill, and state that brings us into the moment and develops greater mental stability and emotional freedom. Being more grounded and at ease in the moment, our empathy with others is enhanced, as we also attune to our inner experiences. As a ground and foundation for our training, participants will be encouraged to establish a daily mindfulness practice as a means for creating a foundation for the development of inner ease and greater self-other awareness.

By exploring mindfulness practice and developing “presence,” you will :

  •  Discover what is ‘mindfulness’? How does it work and how do I practice it?; Establish your goals for developing a daily practice;
  •  Learn to access everyday mindfulness skills and practices, like P.A.U.S.E., to  bring focussed attention and awareness to work and life;
  •  Understand how mindfulness helps us to be less judgmental and accepting and how it aids us  in letting go of stressful experiences and distressing emotions, which produces greater ease;
  •  Explore the essentials of Mindful Listening or Inner/Outer Awareness, which ultimately enriches the quality of our presence and quality the care we offer;
  • Integrate empirical research from neuroscience that reminds us of how effective mindfulness is as means of reducing stress and increasing empathy, as well understanding the core principles of mindfulness from Buddhist teachings.

Module 2:                        

Mindfulness & Compassion Retreat: Meetings at the Edge                                                                                                 Community-Porgams-Slider

“Love and Death are the great gifts that are given to us; mostly, they are passed on unopened.”   Rainer Maria Rilke

In our 2-day retreat, we are afforded a rare opportunity to dive into the practice of mindfulness, to contemplative and explore our personal relationship with our inner life and death, and to touch a place of inner awareness and interconnectedness  through practicing together. The retreat experience is seen as a core competency in the our program, as it provides a group context in deepening our mindfulness and compassion skills through sitting practice and contemplation. Module 2 invites you to find your “Quiet Mind,” by allowing space and time to just be. You will explore sitting, walking, and other mindfulness skills, as well as contemplative practices, including, Conscious Dying, Metta, and Tonglen from the Buddhist tradition.

On retreat you will:

  • Experience silence and the benefits of extended period of mindfulness practice, as you break from your everyday habits and enter a retreat;
  •  Build your mindfulness and explore various contemplative meditation practices and techniques as a means for exploring your “inner” awareness;
  • Observe your relationship with silence and “non- doing” and also gain insight and clarity about how the practice deepens your sensitivity to what is important to you spiritually and personally;
  • Contemplate death and touch the meaning of your life, including the truth of impermanence;

Module 3:                                            

Compassionate Care: Empathy Fatigue and the Art of Bearing Witness                              Compassion-Caregiving

“Suffering begins to dissolve when we can question the belief or the hope that there’s anywhere to hide”.  Pema Chodron

“Compassionate care” is about being intimate with our selves, as well as with the individuals who are dying and their loved ones. It is most of all, says Roshi Joan Halifax, “about giving the gift of no fear”. To achieve this fearlessness, we must learn how to be present to our own grief, loss, stress, and suffering that accompany this work. In Module 3, we deepen our presence as we explore the neuroscience empathy and compassion through research drawn from the work Dr. Tania Singer, and others from within the neuroscientific community, who are tracking the neural pathways of our relational interactions and how they affect us. As well, we expand our awareness to touch the suffering in our coworkers and in the systems we work within.

By embodying, understanding, and practicing the essential elements of healthy empathy, our sensitivity and awareness of our selves and others emerges as compassion. In this module, you will learn:

  • To understand the neural pathways of healthy and unhealthy empathy,  to discern the differences between empathy, sympathy, empathic concern and compassion, and develop altruistic motivations and trust in “not knowing”;
  • What does self and other compassion look like, how do we experience them differently, and how do we discern the obstacles to directly experiencing them?;
  • How does self awareness and self compassion play a crucial role in improving and sustaining the quality of care for others and to recognize how a lack of self compassion leads to empathy fatigue, burnout, and distress?;
  • Recognize how mindfulness helps us to recognize various inner states in our selves and others and how this can lead us to compassionate actions;
  • Deepen Mindful Listening skills by seeing your personal style and by listening from the Three Brains–head, heart and belly–taught by Frank Ostaseski founder of the Zen Hospice Project.

Module 4:

 Mindfulness & Collaboration


“The biggest ‘psychosocial’ problem facing us may be the need for our own personal transformation—to understand and promote change within ourselves.” Pew-Fetzer Task Force on Advancing Psychosocial Health Education


Critical to effective collaboration is “self-insight” and “other-understanding,” that is, an awareness of one’s self personally and our capacity to remain open in context of our interprofessional relationships. In Module 4, we enter the uncharted territory of Relational Mindfulness, where we engage our inner feelings, thoughts and reactions, as we simultaneously meet others. Relational mindfulness and compassion co-arise as our mindfulness acts as a “protective measure” in navigating the tender edges of our human exchanges, and as our compassionate presence acts as a skillful means in creating “safety” for our selves, patients and our workplace relationships.

Healthy, effective, collaborative and mindful team building require an experiential understanding that:

  • Explores collaboration and applications of mindfulness and compassion within a context of group practices;
  • Addresses the impact of our workplace environments on our roles as caregivers, including moral distress and horizontal violence;
  • Investigates relational and collaborative teamwork models, including “System’s Thinking” approaches from General Systems Theory, and Pew-Fetzer, Relationship-Centered Care model, and others, as best practices in Healthcare delivery.
  • Includes a general introduction to the interpersonal domain from neuroscience and the social sciences.

 Module 5: 

Integrating Mindfulness and Compassion into Whole-Person Care                                  DSCN1328                               

“I’m not afraid of dying. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”    Woody Allen


Module 5 is a “practice” ground for accepting the challenging, distressing or unacceptable, and it is also about the skills needed to stand in the midst of changing and uncertain conditions with openness and acceptance. With a strong emphasis on  team practices, we investigate actualizing the skills by addressing some of complex scenarios we encounter, such as working with children and physician hastened death.

Working collaboratively and with an understanding of how leaders and team-making work, we will meet a series of case studies and evocative Healthcare and EOL scenarios that ask us to integrate our Mindfulness and Compassion training skills, as well as exploring a Systems views in how to integrate the skills into our lives and to bring them into our workplace.

  • How do we bring our mindfulness and compassion into our teams? How do we feel as a leaders, team members, and what is our growing edge in working with others?
  • What are the resources we need to sustain ourselves in the face of systemic challenges and maintain our integrity and self care?
  • How does the suffering and/or approach to illness and dying of our patients affect how we offer our caring, for example, a patient’s decision to end treatment or our own feeling that sustaining treatment may be harmful or pointless?
  •  How do we remain loving grounded and open in the face of despair, resistance and differing values, with a compassion that is free of attachment to outcomes, and with a wisdom that accepts the unacceptable without abandoning our intentions and highest aspirations?

 Full Program 5-Modules: $1675 $995

Note: Module One can be taken as a stand alone foundational course. Module 1 Only $375

(Staff of SickKids Hospital, Toronto, receive Module 1 at $330.)

Full payment of $995 is required to secure your place in the full program.  When needed, payment plans are available upon request.  info@saranainstitute.org



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