Mindful Life Consulting – About Us
Lila O’Farrell and Kerry Atma are directors of Mindful Life Consulting. We are a couple dedicated to sharing decades of experience of mindfulness practice with others, and bring a client-centred, pragmatic and gender balanced approach to mindfulness based training, coaching, therapy and supervision.
B.A. (Psychology); M.A. (Counseling Psychology); M.Div (Contemplative Interfaith Theology)
Mindful Life Consulting is co-directed by Lila O’Farrell. Lila is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most experienced mindfulness educators, and one of the first to adapt MBSR to the primary health care setting. Born in NZ, Lila completed BA (Psych.), MA (Counseling Psych.) and MDiv (Contemplative Interfaith Theology) degrees in North America, where she lived for twenty years. She is a full member of NZAC.
A seasoned facilitator of MBSR
In 2003 Lila attended a 7 day training for health care professionals in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) with Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn and Dr. Saki Santorelli, at the Omega Institute, Texas, USA. She has taught MBSR since then in health, education, community and corporate settings. Lila is a registered teacher with the Mindfulness Training Institute – Australia and New Zealand (MTIA) and has served on MTIA’s training team for MBSR and MBCT.
Delivering mindfulness training in the medical setting
Lila is a senior therapist and mindfulness program manager within Tamaki Health Care, Auckland’s largest independent primary health care group. There, Lila has developed Mindfulness and Awareness Aotearoa (MAA), an innovative adaptation of MBSR that is trauma-informed and trans-diagnostic; meeting the needs of a diverse, GP, psychologist and self referred population. MAA is currently undergoing a Te Ao Maori enrichment through funding from Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB). A workplace adaptation of the course is well received by medical staff. At Tamaki Health Lila trains, supervises and leads a team of MAA educators. She contributes articles on mindfulness to the mental health column of the New Zealand Doctor magazine.
A specialist in mindfulness for human service organisations
Lila has developed A Taste of Mindfulness and The Way of Mindfulness. With decades of experience working as a therapist, group facilitator and team leader within health, social service and education environments, Lila brings essential practise wisdom to discern, co-design and deliver effective and meaningful mindfulness training and retreats for health and human service organisations.
Integrating ancient wisdom, modern psychology and medical science
Earlier in her career, Lila completed a one year hospital residency in Clinical Pastoral Education, and worked for six years as a hospice chaplain and grief therapist. For Casa de la Luz Hospice, she authored The Care Companion and Safe Passages, providing guidance to families living with dying and grief. At the University of Arizona Medical Center, she worked as an ER trauma chaplain and as a consultant with Dr. Andrew Weil’s Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.
Lila works with people of diverse beliefs and cultures, including non-dual, agnostic and atheist views. She has engaged the practice and study of mindfulness meditation for more than thirty years, and is committed to sharing an evidence informed, ethical, and culturally aware cultivation of the mindful life with others. She has delivered mindfulness education at the Nitartha Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies, and is a long-term member of Nalandabodhi International.
Lila’s work is informed by her own global, spiritual and psychological adventures, powerful teachings about life’s meaning received from hospice clientele, years facilitating the recognition and repair of distressing emotional habitual patterns, and continual witnessing of the ways in which mindfulness meditation transforms lives. Her passion is the pragmatic, contemplative and person-centered integration of psychology and spirituality.
Feel free to contact Lila at 027 366 0562 to inquire about the work of Mindful Life Consulting.
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Kerry Atma Co-Director
B.A. Psychology, M. Soc. Sc. (Community Psychology)
Kerry is a qualified facilitator of the Mindfulness and Awareness Aotearoa (MAA) program and the Mindfulness Education Group’s Pause-Breathe-Smile (PBS) program for school-aged children. He has taught the MAA program at Tamaki Health for 3 years, and has taught PBS at decile one schools in the Otara area for a similar time.
In a former role of operations manager of Essentially Men, a leading New Zealand men’s organisation, Kerry gained insight into issues affecting men. This awareness and respect for men, gained from many one-to-one and group interactions informs his relationships with men when he facilitates classes, and is part of the gender balanced perspective offered at Mindful Life Consulting. Kerry continues to provide volunteer support for Essentially Men.
With his daughter, Kerry has co-authored a childrens book on mindfulness and gymnastics called “Zoe and the Beam.”
Kerry has nurtured a yoga and meditation practise for over thirty years.
With his professional training in program evaluation and experience in teaching research design, Kerry drives Mindful Life’s unique Discover survey process.