what i do
- Teaching: classes, workshops, silent retreats, student support
- Supervision: MBSR, Mindfulness teachers
- Key notes, interviews, podcasts
- Develop trainings and consultations for health care settings, patients with chronic illness and pain
- Co-Chair of InsightLA’s Teacher’s Council and senior teacher
Berlin to Los Angeles to InsightLA
I started my professional life as a Gynecologist at the University Hospital in Berlin, Germany, doing clinical work while trying to make a name for myself through conducting and publishing research papers in gynecological oncology.
I had fallen in love with the universality of the Buddhist teachings as a searching teenager and it surely helped me stay sane through medical school and residency.
In 2003 my husband, baby daughter and I moved to Los Angeles “for just one year” as I enjoyed my maternity leave. I met Trudy Goodman, a Zen and Insight meditation teacher who had just started an organization called “InsightLA” a few months prior.
MBSR, secular mindfulness, clinical trainings
Trudy and I deeply connected and she encouraged me to train as an MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) teacher to share with my patients once back home in Berlin. While we were still in LA, we started teaching MBSR together – which turned out to be a very high-in-demand class, which Trudy and I enjoyed teaching immensely.
We ended up staying in LA and I was a part of growing InsightLA from its tiny beginnings into a thriving, wonderful big community, which I still call my spiritual home today and through which I do most of my teachings.
I trained as a Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) teacher, became an MBSR teacher trainer, and the head consultant and trainer for the national mindfulness facilitator training for the Department of Veterans Affairs, the biggest health care provider in the US. I realized that the combination of my medical and mindfulness training is a powerful combination to train fellow clinicians to teach mindfulness as well as helping patients cope with their health issues.
In 2015 my dear friend and colleague from the VA, Dr. Greg Serpa, and I published the book “A Clinician’s Guide to Teaching Mindfulness”, which became required reading for numerous mindfulness teacher programs around the world.
I wrote another book, “Outsmart Your Pain” on practicing mindfulness for chronic pain, which will hit stores in May of 2021.
On the Buddhist side, I received teacher transmission from Trudy in 2011 and then also completed the 4-year Dharma/Retreat teacher training through Spirit Rock Meditation Center and IMS (Insight Meditation Society) under Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. In 2016 I received together with 25 of my Dharma siblings teacher authorization in the Theravadin Thai Forest Monastery lineage of Ajahn Chaa.
When I’m not meditating, teaching, or writing I can be found running long distance or training for triathlons – all good methods to help me stay (more) sane, patient and centered while we parent our three teenagers.