Helen worked as a post primary school teacher from 1980 to 2019. She worked mainly in the Community and Comprehensive school sector, in the area of learning support. She was a member of the Visiting Teacher Service to the Traveller Community from 1997-2007.
Helen trained as Systemic and Family Therapist with The Clanwilliam Institute in the ’90s, while also completing a post-graduate Diploma in Psychology. She is a member of the PSI.
Over the years, Helen took time away from teaching and worked in various education-related capacities in Australia and the U.K.. She also worked in the community and voluntary sector, spending time as a project manager for people in recovery from addiction in the Fingal Centre, an ICTU Centre for the Unemployed in Finglas, where she also spent a year as Acting Centre Director. She also worked in second chance education with the Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed (INOU).
In addition to her Masters studies at Bangor University, Helen completed all trainings and supervision with senior teachers including Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of MBSR and Saki Santorelli (in the photo above!), Melissa Blacker, Florence Meleo Meyer and Pam Erdmann at the Center for Mindfulness (CFM) at The University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
Helen trained in supervising mindfulness teachers with the late Cindy Cooper at Bangor University and has been supervising teachers since 2015. She also trained in teaching Mindful Self Compassion with the founders of the programme, Dr Chris Germer and Dr Kristen Neff. Helen has been practicing meditation and yoga since 1997 and teaching them since 2004.
Helen was part of the team that developed the M.Sc. programme in Mindfulness-based Interventions within the School of Psychology in UCD, and she has been a senior lecturer on the programme since its inception in September 2014.
Helen and Josephine Lynch co-founded what was to grow into the Mindfulness Centre in 2008. They have been bringing international teachers to Ireland to lead CPD and retreats for Irish mindfulness teachers and teacher trainees since 2008. Through this work, she and Josephine were part of the group which spearheaded the development of the professional body for mindfulness teachers in Ireland, the MTAI (www.mtai.ie), formally established in February 2018. To the best of our knowledge, it is the only such national professional body for mindfulness teachers in the world. She is still involved with the MTAI, supports its work and adheres to its Standards for Good Practice.
Since 2015 Josephine and Helen have invited world renowned Dharma teachers to lead an 7 day residential retreat in Ireland every year. These include Christina Feldman, John Peacock, Akincano Weber, Bernat Font and Gerit Stöcklmair from The Bodhi College and Melissa Blacker Roshi, ex CFM UMass and now Abbott of Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester Massachusetts with her husband David Rynick. In 2024 we hope to host Christoph Köck and Jaya Rudgard, also from the faculty of The Bodhi College, for a 6 day mindfulness residential retreat in Castletown Co Laois. the dates are 11th - 17th August.
Helen continues to deepen her personal practice and understanding of the power of living more mindfully with regular attendance at retreats and trainings led by world-renowned teachers including Christina Feldman, John Peacock, Akincano Weber, Stephen and Martine Batchelor, Christoph Köck, Jaya Rudgard and other teachers at The Bodhi College and has attended retreats led by John Teasdale, Melissa Blacker, David Rynick, Sharon Salzberg and the late Thich Nhat Hanh, among others. She participated in a 2 year programme in Buddhist Psychology with the Bodhi College in 2012-2014, and began another 2 year study programme with them in December 2021.
Helen teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction / Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation.