Faculty & Visiting Teachers

Founder Directors

Josephine Lynch

Dip. Ac., Dip. Herbal Med., M.A. Mindfulness-Based Approaches, Bangor University, has also gained the Certificate of Competence to Teach Mindfulness-Based Courses from the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice (Bangor University).

Most of her career was in Mind/Body medicine with such modalities as shiatsu, acupuncture and herbal medicine. Josephine was involved in Community Education through Sláinte Pobal, an organisation bringing health education to women in areas of disadvantage in Dublin in the ‘90s.  She studied counselling in Maynooth University and has had a particular interest in ecology and environmental issues for many years.

Josephine has been teaching MBSR since 2005, making her one of the first people to teach this course in Ireland.  She has been active in bringing the very best international leaders in the field of mindfulness to Ireland to lead CPD and retreats for mindfulness teachers and trainee teachers since 2008, and she has been the driving force behind the development and setting up of the Mindfulness Teachers Association of Ireland, the professional body for teachers of Mindfulness Based Interventions in Ireland (www.mtai.ie) in 2019.   She was the first Chairperson of the MTAI, steering it through its formative first year and 9 months, as well as supporting it in finding a coherent response to COVID.  This included to offering free online meditations twice daily to the public.

Helen Byrne

H. Dip. Ed., Dip. Psych., M.A. in Mindfulness-Based Approaches from Bangor University, Member of the PSI.  She qualified as a Systemic and Family Therapist with the Clanwilliam Institute in 1996, at the same time as completing a Post-Graduate Diploma in Psychology.

Helen qualified as a post primary teacher in 1981 and worked in the area of learning support and as a Visiting Teacher to the Traveller Community.  She also worked in education in Australia and London.  She stepped away from the school system to lead various community initiatives with the ICTU Centre for the Unemployed in Finglas from 2005 to 2009, and also worked on a second chance education programme with the Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed (INOU) in 2010.

Alongside the Masters in Mindfulness-Based Approaches at Bangor University Helen also completed all trainings and supervision with the Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts, including participation in an intensive residential MBSR teacher training with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli in 2009 and in an Advanced Teacher Development Residential training with Melissa Blacker and Florence Meleo-Meyer in 2010.  She has participated in 2 x 2 year programmes in Buddhist Psychology with the Bodhi College.

Helen trained as a Yoga teacher in 2003 and began combining her meditation practice with yoga teaching, offering Mindfulness Yoga classes in various yoga studios in Dublin from 2004 to 2010.  She has been teaching MBSR in various contexts since 2008.

Josephine and Helen

Josephine Lynch and Helen Byrne

Josephine and Helen are Senior Lecturers on the UCD School of Psychology’s M.Sc. in MBIs.  They were involved in developing the course and have been teaching on the programme since its inception in 2014.

They are trained mindfulness supervisors, having trained with Cindy Cooper at Bangor University.  They both completed a 2-year in-depth course in Buddhist Psychology with what is now the Bodhi College and they continue to study and practice with Senior Teachers at The Bodhi College and others.  They trained to teach Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) with Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff in 2015.

Josephine and Helen have also received in-vivo training over a number of years in the use of the Mindfulness-Based Interventions: Teacher Assessment Criteria (MBI:TAC) from Dr. Rebecca Crane, here in Dublin.  The MBI:TAC is regarded as the gold standard in the assessment of mindfulness teachers and was developed at Bangor, Oxford and Exeter Universities.  This is the assessment tool we use at The Mindfulness Centre on this Diploma Course.


Erica Balfour

BSc (Environmental Science), Grad Dip Psychotherapy, Dip Counselling Skills, Dip in Mindfulness Based Interventions, Dip in Mindful Communication.  Erica is nearing completion of her Masters in Psychotherapy training.

A committed practitioner and mindfulness teacher at The Mindfulness & Compassion Centre, Erica stepped into an administration role with the Centre in 2018 and has been co-ordinating the professional training programmes since 2020, as well as being part of the faculty.  Erica is a trained mindfulness supervisor and she has also completed training in the MBI:TAC.

Erica’s personal practice of mindfulness spans a period of 17 years and began as a way to cope with the anxiety of parenting a very young family & navigating the grief of losing her mother to breast cancer.  She discovered that over time, through a daily mindfulness practice, she began to find ways to befriend her anxiety.  She believes that mindfulness has taught her to encourage and support herself with compassion when life feels overwhelming.  Most importantly she began to see more clearly the richness in others, in nature and in herself.


All the members of the faculty who are involved in teaching mindfulness are experienced teachers and practitioners and members of the Mindfulness Teachers Association of Ireland.  They adhere to that organisation’s Standards of Good Practice (mtai.ie/standards).

Niamh Barrett

Niamh Barrett B.A. began her training in teaching Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in 2007 with a foundation year at the University of Bangor in North Wales, and completed her training with the Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches (Germany), graduating in 2010.  Prior to this she worked in documentary film and TV production.  She has been teaching the MBSR programme since 2010 and is also a mindfulness-teacher trainer and supervisor.

Niamh is an ongoing student of socially-engaged Buddhism and the practice of council circle, primarily with the Center for Council and Zen Peacemakers (U.S.) She is an experienced facilitator of online mindfulness practice. In 2019 she founded showing up, a framework of online and in-person retreats and courses to facilitate mindful civic engagement with issues such as the housing and homelessness crisis in Ireland, gender-based violence and racial justice. Through the showing up project she also offers mindfulness training to charities, activist groups and NGOs  www.showingup.ie

Dominic Cogan

Dominic Cogan, M.A.; Dominic received a B.A. in English and Philosophy from U.C.C. and a  Master’s in Education from the University of London.  He also has a Certificate in Counselling Skills and Practice.  He trained in teaching MBIs with the CFMRP at Bangor University and the IMA, Germany.  He trained with the Mindfulness in Schools Project to teach the .b programme to teenagers and the .b Foundations programme to teachers and those working with young people.  He works as a teacher trainer on the MiSP .b teacher training courses.  

Dominic has been involved in education as a teacher and teacher trainer in Ireland and abroad for many years.  Recently Dominic completed QQI Level 6 Diploma trainings in Inter-Spiritual Mindfulness Facilitation as well as Soul Empowerment and Life Coaching.  He also completed professional training in Positive Neuroplasticity with the leader in the field, Dr Rick Hanson.

Fiona O’Donnell

Fiona O’Donnell M.A. M.Sc. B.Soc. Sc.,: Fiona completed a 3 year Master’s degree in Mindfulness Based Approaches at Bangor University, Wales.  She achieved a Masters in Psychotherapy from Brunel College in London.  She trained this year in delivering MBCT-L with Oxford University.  She is a Teaching Fellow on University College Dublin’s M.Sc. in Mindfulness-Based Interventions.

Fiona trained in leading Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) with The Centre for Mindful Self Compassion, California.  She attended training in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Oxford University and is registered as an MBCT Therapist on the International Access MBCT register.  She completed ‘.b’ training with the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MISP), Positive Neuroplasticity Professional Training with Dr Rick Hanson, and Google’s ‘Search Inside Yourself’ Mindfulness, Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Training with SIYLI.   Fiona completed Level 1 training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy with the Sensorimotor Institute, Colorado, USA.

Fiona’s previous work experience includes several years in Children’s Services in Dublin’s North West Inner City, prior to working for Atlantic Philanthropies, which developed strategies and funding for Children & Youth, Education and Mental Health throughout Ireland.

Alvina Cassidy

Alvina Cassidy is a Counsellor & Psychotherapist and an accredited member of the Irish Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists.  She trained with the Institute of Mindfulness Based Approaches (IMA) and was a member of their teaching faculty.  She has been introducing Embodied Listening to student teachers at The Mindfulness Centre since 2015 and more recently is now making the same offering on the UCD Master’s programme.  She regularly co-presents on meditation and compassion retreats and Deep Listening training at Dzogchen Beara Meditation Centre, West Cork.  In 2009 she organised a conference on Death and Dying in Killarney at which Jon Kabat-Zinn was one of the key-note speakers.

​Alvina was introduced to mindfulness and compassion meditation in 1993 in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and has attended numerous teaching retreats with Tibetan and western teachers.  She completed many meditation retreats in Ireland, Germany, France and the US, including a one year enclosed retreat.

Barry Lee

Barry Lee is a certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher and yoga instructor. He has practiced meditation for over ten years and trained with the Institute for Mindfulness Based Approaches. He has since completed further training in a range of other mindfulness-based interventions including Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living and Awakening Joy. He is a member of the Mindfulness Teachers Association of Ireland and is a registered member of Yoga Alliance UK & Ireland (Certified Experienced Teacher).

Barry worked for over ten years as a corporate lawyer and has significant experience delivering mindfulness training to organisations in the corporate sector. In 2017, he founded Mindfulness for Law (www.mindfulnessforlaw.ie) with the intention of bringing the benefits of mindfulness training to the legal profession. He has facilitated workshops and courses in many of the top Irish law firms. In 2016, he co-founded Nature in Mind (natureinmind.ie), an educational organisation which aims to help people improve their health and well-being through mindfully connecting with the natural world.

John McKeon

John McKeon H.Dip Psychology, Diploma in Teaching MBSR and MBCT, has been practicing meditation, mindfulness and yoga for over 13 years. John was drawn to meditation as a tool to support navigating the challenges that life brings along. Following an international career in business, John completed the psychology conversion course in Trinity College Dublin in 2019 and went on to complete the Mindfulness Teacher Training at the Mindfulness Centre in Dublin, October 2021.

Trish Haugh

Trish Haugh is a yoga teacher & psychotherapist with 35 years of working with movement and somatic attunement.  Trish’s work includes training in The Feldenkrais Method, Developmental Movement and linking our physiology and psychology from a Winnicottian Attachment perspective.

Visiting Teachers

Akincano M. Weber

Akincano M. Weber is a Swiss Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist (MA).  A former monk, he lived and practised for 20 years in European and Thai Forest monasteries. Particular interests are early Buddhist texts, stillness and contemplative psychology.  He is a founding member of The Bodhi College (www.bodhi-college.org.) He is also the guiding teacher of Atammaya Cologne, Germany.

Akincano is a visiting teacher to several Mindfulness teacher training courses, and teaches meditation and Buddhist Psychology in secular and traditional contexts in Europe and overseas.   He and John Peacock first came to Ireland to lead a retreat with us in 2017 (in Dzogchen Beara) and they returned together to lead our 2022 Castletown retreat.   We are delighted to be welcoming Akincano back again.

Professor Brendan Kelly

Professor Brendan Kelly, Professor of Psychiatry/ Psychiatrist at Tallaght University Hospital TCD/Tallaght University Hospital, and UCD Visiting Full Clinical Professor at University College Dublin School of Medicine and Medical Sciences. 

In addition to his medical degree (MB BCh BAO), he holds Master’s degrees in epidemiology (MSc), healthcare management (MA), Buddhist studies (MA) and Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MSc); and doctorates in medicine (MD), history (PhD), governance (DGov) and law (PhD).  His research interests include mental health legislation, human rights, and the history of psychiatry. He is most interested in the extent to which persons with mental illness participate in civic and social life, and the barriers they and their families face in exercising their rights, including economic and social rights.

He is a prolific author and his most recent books include  ‘Hearing Voices: The History of Psychiatry in Ireland’ (2016), ‘Mental Illness, Human Rights and the Law’ (2016) and ‘The Doctor Who Sat For A Year’ (2019), Asylum: Inside Grangegorman (2020), In Search of Madness: A Psychiatrist's Travels Through the History of Mental Illness (2022),  Resilience: Lessons from Sir William Wilde on Life After Covid (2023).

Dr Tony Bates

Dr Tony Bates was Head of Psychology for 30 years in St James’s Hospital Dublin and established and directed the MSc Cognitive Psychotherapy in TCD until 2006. He founded Jigsaw (The National Centre for Youth Mental Health) in 2006 to serve young people and their mental health needs. He was CEO until his retirement in 2018. Tony has been active in shaping and writing government policy since 2006. He was made honorary Professor of Psychology in UCD in September 2018 as a tribute to his contribution to the field. He trained as a mindfulness teacher in University of North Wales, Bangor in 2001 and has been active since in disseminating Mindfulness in Ireland. He is the patron of the MTAI. His most recent book is ‘Breaking the Heart Open,’ part memoir, part exploration of the current state of mental health care in Ireland.

Dr Alistair Wilson

Dr Alistair Wilson is a consultant psychiatrist and fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry in Scotland. He has worked as a Consultant Community Psychiatrist within the National Health Service for almost thirty years.  During this time, he completed his training in Cognitive Therapy at Oxford University and graduated with a MSc in Mindfulness Based Approaches with the University of Bangor in 2011. He has also trained in Trauma-Focused CBT, Sensory-Motor Psychotherapy and Eye Movement De-Sensitisation Rationale in order to deliver care for those experiencing symptoms of trauma. Since retiring from the NHS in 2014 he has been employed by Combat Stress, a charity providing support to UK veterans experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).Alistair has a long history of delivering MBCT within mental health services in and around Glasgow. He has delivered mindfulness sessions to medical staff and workshops on Mindful Approaches to Trauma in London, Dublin and UMass. He is currently engaged in a series of research projects evaluating the feasibility of Mindfulness Based Approaches in a variety of settings including Oncology, Addiction and Trauma, and has recently trained to deliver the MBCT for Life course through the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.

Dr Terry Hyland

Dr Terry Hyland, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) & Professor Emeritus of the Education & Psychology Academic Group, University of Bolton, UK. Terry is a highly published author on the themes of mindfulness, education and philosophy and his current interest is in the area of the commodification of mindfulness.

Sarah Silverton

Sarah Silverton, M.Ed. Sarah’s professional training was as an Occupational Therapist, working in mental health and Social Services settings for over twenty years. She also trained as a Counsellor, receiving her MEd in 1999.  Sarah was introduced to mindfulness in 1996 by Mark Williams.  She subsequently trained to teach others with Mark Williams at Bangor and with senior teachers at the Center for Mindfulness, Massachusetts, USA – Jon Kabat-Zinn’s centre.

As a member of the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice teaching/training team at Bangor University from the foundation of the centre in 2001 until 2017 she was involved in teaching and training in MBSR and MBCT through the Masters’ and CPD programmes.  She is a supervisor and Teacher Training Pathway mentor with the Mindfulness Network, UK.

She is co-author of Paws b curriculum (Mindfulness in Schools Project).  She developed ‘The Present’ with Dusana Dorjee and Tabitha Sawyer, a programme to support teachers to share mindfulness practice with children aged 3-11. www.thepresentcourses.org

She has published ‘The Mindfulness Breakthrough’, Watkins, 2012 (reprinted as ‘The Mindfulness Key’, 2016) and is co-author of ‘Mindfulness and The Transformation of Despair’, ‘ MBCT with People at Risk of Suicide’ in paperback (2017), Williams, Fennell, Barnhofer, Crane and Silverton, Guilford, 2015.

From time to time, teachers other than those listed above may be invited to contribute.

External Examiner

Dr John Peacock

Dr John Peacock has been an academic and a Buddhist practitioner for nearly 50 years.  Trained in India in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition, he subsequently spent time in Sri Lanka studying Theravada.  He lectured in Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol, he was Associate Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and he taught on the Master of Studies programme in MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) at Oxford University until recently.

John has been teaching meditation internationally for more than thirty years and is a Gaia House guiding teacher.  He is a co-founder of The Bodhi College, which is dedicated to the study and practice of the early teachings of the Buddha.  John has been coming to Ireland to lead retreats since 2015.

Supporting Team

Shirley Copeland

Shirley Copeland has been cooking with whole foods and growing wisdom in the kitchen for over 30 years. She’s known to many who have been on retreats in Ireland and in Plum Village Monastery, France.  In the 80’s she trained in Switzerland as a wholefoods chef, and in London as a medicinal cook.

More recently Shirley also has qualified as a Health and Wellness coach and a Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Trainer (MB EAT).  As well as cooking and offering mindfulness in the kitchen on most of our residential trainings and retreats, she teaches mindfulness in the kitchen on the UCD M.Sc in MBIs.