“In this very moment, no matter what your condition or situation, you have within you all the resources you need for growing, healing, and working with stress, pain, illness, and the everyday challenges you are facing.”
Saki F. Santorelli, EdD MA, Director, Center for Mindfulness and Stress Reduction Program,
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Mass. Medical School
Erica maintains a private practice at the Seattle Mindfulness Center where she draws on her extensive and varied post-graduate training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction. As a mindfulness-based psychotherapist her work is informed by the ancient wisdom traditions of mindfulness and the many ways it has been adapted in contemporary modalities to bring insight, healing and relief of suffering.
Essentially mindfulness means bringing conscious non-judging attention to whatever is arising in one’s internal world and external world. It means being fully aware of what is happening in each moment without any effort to change the experience. It implies bringing a fresh or “beginners mind” to one’s moment-to-moment, and cultivating an attitude of acceptance.
This orientation is very helpful in psychotherapy as it cultivates a capacity for calmness in the midst of inner or outer turmoil. Since the nature of life is impermanent and change inevitable, discovering how to be present in moment-to-moment awareness provides a valuable tool for remaining centered in the midst of turbulence. Cultivating mindfulness reduces stress and relaxes habitual tensions. It helps foster self-reflection, awareness, emotional equanimity, acceptance, and greater compassion for self and others.
For more information about my therapy practice please see Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy
Mindfulness & Cancer Support
Erica is the founder and creator of Awake & Alive Mindful Living with Cancer retreats. These five-day residential retreats hosted at the Whidbey Institute in Washington State, have proved immensely popular with cancer patients and their families. Participants have come from as far afield as Alaska, Colorado, California Canada and Europe. They were inspired by Erica’s personal experience going through cancer treatment when she could not find a meditative retreat with other cancer patients. She vowed she would create one and did!
Also a faculty member of the Harmony Hill Cancer Retreat Center in Union, WA, Erica has brought her extensive experience in mindfulness and stress reduction to the healing programs offered here for people living with cancer, their caregivers and families. At Harmony Hill, she facilitates three-day cancer retreats and teaches mindfulness, meditation and stress reduction skills, and facilitates groups and sharing circles. She has designed and facilitated a popular new Mindfulness & Meditation Retreat for Harmony Hill.
Erica has taught and presented on mindfulness and cancer in various settings including Fred Hutch Cancer Research Centre, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the University of Washington and the Center of Mindfulness, MA. She has led many workshops and taught mindfulness meditation for CancerLifeline a support center for those affected by cancer in Seattle.
For further information and participant testimonials- see Cancer Support.
After three years of rigorous Zen training in Japan, Erica studied and trained with many of the foremost meditation teachers of our time in both Japanese and Tibetan Buddhist traditions. Drawing on 40 years of meditation practice and study, Erica is skilled at guiding both beginners and those with extensive meditation experience through deep contemplative practices.
Erica has been leading and teaching meditation in different settings for 20 years. In her psychotherapy practice she delights in creating meditations for individuals she is working with. She records these meditations and customizes them to the particular needs and preferences of each person creating unique practices to support them through different situations.
In response to many requests Erica wrote and narrated a guided mindfulness meditation audio CD “Finding Tranquility-Guided Mindfulness Meditations for Stressful Times,” available on this website
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Since 1979, more than 18,000 people have completed the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. It is a course that helps participants draw on their own inner resources and actively engage in caring for themselves and finding greater balance, ease, and peace of mind.
The program was founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD at the Stress Reduction Clinic of UMass Medical School. The technique was originally developed for use in hospitals with patients suffering from painful, chronic, or disabling conditions. It was found that following participation in an MBSR program, participant’s levels of anxiety and depression decreased and their sense of wellbeing increased. Extensive research had shown that the Stress Reduction Program can be beneficial for anyone, regardless of state of health.
The 8-Week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course
• Investigate the nature of stress–how habitual reactions increase it, and how it affects your life.
• Learn mindfulness approaches to manage physical, emotional, or psychological.
• Connect with your body’s own wisdom and learn to relax tension.
• Develop tools to work with and transform stressful situations and reactions.
• Discover how to address depression and anxiety more skillfully.
• Overcome old habits of reaction-forge new pathways of responding mindfully.
• Re-establish balance in your life.
• Have more control over your own health, and feel empowered to live with more joy and equanimity.
Read what past participants say about the MBSR Class
“Please note: Erica is taking a sabbatical from teaching the 8 week MBSR program while she is completing her book. Check for further updates here and in the Mindfulness Matters Newsletter. “
In my psychotherapy practice, I work with clients facing issues related to pregnancy, birth and parenting. I have extensive training in infant social and emotional development and am aware that Having a baby can be a stressful time evoking powerful and complex feelings. It is a time that can trigger challenging issues, and therapy can be very helpful in identifying and addressing them.
Erica is a member of the Community of Mindful Parenting and a facilitator for Listening Mothers groups for new mothers and their babies. This 8-week program supports infants and their moms to strengthen their relationships and helps establish the foundation for a long lasting bond between them. Mothers learn how to be better attuned to themselves and their babies, and how to engage and emotionally stimulate their baby. Extensive research has shown that this process helps to further a baby's cognitive, emotional, and social intelligence.
Mindful Parenting workshops are offered periodically for parents and their children between ages 5 and 10 years old.
As an instructor of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program Erica discovered the powerful practice of Mindful Eating and has enjoyed introducing it into her work ever since. In 2012 she was invited to serve as research associate and lead instructor at the Veterans Administration for the Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle. Part of a pilot program, Erica co-created, taught and facilitated an 8 week Mindful Eating Course to reduce stress for traumatized veterans, and a manual on Mindful Eating writing original exercises and teaching materials.