Faculty & Visiting Teachers

Founder Directors

Josephine Lynch

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

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 1981and 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 is currently participating in her second 2 year programme 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 and having completed a 2-year in-depth course in Buddhist Psychology with what is now called the Bodhi College in 2014, they continue their studies with senior teachers there.  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.


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).

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.

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 supervision.

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.

Erica Balfour

Erica Balfour, BSc (Environmental Science), Grad Dip Psychotherapy, Dip Counselling Skills, Dip in Mindfulness Based Interventions, Dip in Mindful Communication.  Erica is currently studying for a Masters in Psychotherapy.

A committed practitioner and mindfulness teacher at The Mindfulness Centre, Erica stepped into an administration role with the Centre over the last number of years.  She has recently taken over the coordination of the professional training programmes and joined the teaching team. 
Erica’s personal practice of mindfulness spans a period of 15 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.

Fiona O’Donnell

Fiona O’Donnell M.A. M.Sc. B.Soc. Sc.,: Fiona O’Donnell completed a 3 year Master’s degree in Mindfulness Based Approaches at Bangor University, Wales.  She has just achieved a Masters in Psychotherapy from Brunel College in London, and 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.

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.

Emma Philbin Bowman

Emma Philbin Bowman, BA, Diploma in Humanistic & Integrative  Psychotherapy.  Emma completed a 4-year Professional Training at the Institute of Creative Counselling and Psychotherapy and is a fully accredited member of the Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy (IAHIP).  She is also a committed mindfulness meditation practitioner.   Emma has been offering her workshop on the person of the mindfulness teacher to students on the Mindfulness Centre’s teacher training since 2015.

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.

Dr. Elma Hedderman

Dr. Elma Hedderman, M.B.,  B.A.O.  B. Ch.,  B.A. M.Cl.Psych.  A consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr Hedderman has worked within the HSE with responsibility for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Kildare and Dublin. She also has extensive experience working within the NHS in Belfast, Bristol and Sussex.  She has trained in Psychopharmacology, Family Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness teaching (with The Mindfulness Centre).  Dr. Hedderman is currently involved in research on the role of Self-Compassion in adolescents suffering with depression.

Dr. Sarah-Jane Cullinan

Dr. Sarah-Jane Cullinan joined Trinity College Dublin’s School of Business in 2014 as an Assistant Professor in Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour.  She also holds a BA in Sociology and Psychology from University College Cork and a MBS in Human Resource Management from Dublin City University. Her research interests lie primarily in the area of employee health and well-being at work.  Sarah-Jane received her Diploma in Teaching Mindfulness-Based Interventions from The Mindfulness Centre. She is passionate about sharing mindfulness practice with both students in her modules and employees and managers in the organisations where she conducts research.

Niamh Digan

Niamh Digan M.Ed, B.Sc. Couns. & Psych., B.A, Dip. Couns., Dip. in Ed. Leadership, H.Dip in Ed., worked with the Department of Education teacher support services for ten years where she had responsibility for the design and facilitation of child protection training to school managers as well as teacher training in the area of relationships, sexuality and health education. Prior to this she worked in post primary schools in Dublin as a teacher and guidance counsellor.

Niamh trained in person-centred and psychodynamic therapy as well as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Cognitive Therapy. She is a registered member of the Teaching Council and an accredited member of the IACP. Niamh teaches mindfulness-based stress reduction courses and uses mindfulness-based interventions in her work with young people and adults in schools and colleges around 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.

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

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.

Bernat Font

Bernat Font encountered the Dharma in his early teens and has practiced and taught mindfulness and the Dharma in his native Spain, throughout Europe, in North America and in Asia.  A graduate from the Gaia House Community Dharma Leadership programme, he recently graduated from Dharma Teacher Training at the Bodhi College, with Stephen Batchelor as his primary mentor.  He studies Pali and early Buddhist scriptures, holds an MA in Buddhist Studies and is currently engaged in studying for his Ph.D. in Buddhist Psychology.

Bernat assisted Christina Feldman on our annual retreat in Castletown in August 2017 and his teaching was greatly appreciated by all those who were there.  It is a pleasure to welcome him back to Ireland again.

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

Course Co-ordinator: Erica Balfour

Erica Balfour is a committed practitioner and mindfulness teacher at The Mindfulness Centre.  Erica stepped into an administration role with the Centre over the last number of years and has proved an invaluable support to us in all areas of our work.  She has recently joined the teaching team and taken over the coordination of the professional training programmes. (see bio above.)

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.

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