Mindfulness and Compassion in Parenting

An 11-Week 90-minute Program for Parents and Caregivers of Autistic Children and Adolescents

Wednesdays from April 3 to June 12, 2024
6:30pm – 8:00pm Pacific Time

Live on Zoom

Facilitated by Georgina Robinson, PhD & Zoey Ryan, BSc.

Applications for this program have closed.

Those accepted onto the program will be invited to register. This program has a fee of $400.

Due to a high number of applications for the previous program, this is the second group we will be running in 2024.

This will be an accepting, non-judgmental group dedicated to building the emotional resilience of parents caring for Autistic children and adolescents (ages 0-19). Participation in this group will teach skills to help you recharge your emotional and physical reservoir, cope with stress effectively, improve your caregiving relationship and build associated skills in your child.

Attend this program to learn how to:

  • Activate your soothing system and regulate feelings of threat, worry and self-criticism.
  • Recognize your stress patterns and respond more skillfully to situations involving yourself and those you care for.
  • Attend to the needs of those you care for with kindness, patience, and wisdom.
  • Increase the emotional strength, well being and problem-solving abilities of those you care for.
  • Create healthier and more productive relationships between family members.
  • Learn how to self-regulate and model adaptive responses to stress, which may translate to better co-regulation with your child during difficult times.

An Opportunity to Engage in Research

This is the fourth time that ACT has sponsored this program in collaboration with researchers at the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Lab at Simon Fraser University. The results from the programs held over the past two years showed positive results, including significant improvements in mindfulness, self-compassion, parental mental health, family quality of life, parental connections with children and skills to cope with stress.

This is an opportunity for participants to expand this research and create more informative outcomes. Applicants will be asked to complete questionnaires both pre and post program. All responses will be coded, and participant identities will remain anonymous. Neither ACT staff nor the group facilitators will have access to individual participant data.

Compassion in Parenting is a 11-week course that combines empirically based practices from Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), along with research that supports caregiver and family wellbeing. 

This program has been adapted specifically for caregivers of children with Autism, and participants in this group will have the opportunity to connect with other parents facing similar parenting experiences.  

This is a skill development program that requires active engagement and participation. In order to fully benefit, participants will be expected to be free of childcare or work obligations during the 90-minute sessions and will have access to a learning lab to further their skill development.  

For those who devote their lives to caring for children with significant needs, this is an opportunity to dedicate some time to important self care, learning how to treat oneself with kindness, and soothe any ragged emotions during difficult times. Participants will learn self-compassion practices that can help them combat compassion fatigue. The stress reduction component will teach them how to identify reactive patterns and respond to their own needs and the needs of those they care for more effectively. Caregivers will learn tools to help them manage stress, model compassion and kindness, and listen deeply to better support the needs of their children and family.

Comments from Past Participants:

  • “This program has been an amazing way to connect with my kiddos. It’s all around been an opportunity that allows me to feel something for me again, so I can reflect calmness and be present for my children again. I am very grateful”.
  • “This course has really helped me to stop feeling guilty. I learned how important it is to look after ourselves so we can be strong and present for our children.”
  • “I often compare myself and my children with others and I feel like a failure. Not in this class. I’ve learned to be aware of our own, and our kids own, unique beauty and worth.”
  • “This program has been life-changing. My husband says he has been noticing how much different I am in how I can cope with daily stressors.”

Georgina Robinson PhD

Dr. Robinson has a doctoral degree in educational and counselling psychology from the University of British Columbia. Georgina brings over 25 years of experience working with children, families, and schools with particular focus on supporting those with ASD and complex needs. She considers her greatest learning being her experience raising her own children including a son with ASD.  Georgina is passionate about supporting caregivers, those who provide support to others and are at risk for compassion fatigue.

Dr. Robinson is a certified School Psychologist, trained teacher of Mindful Self Compassion and Making Friends with Yourself, with additional training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy. Georgina is grateful to have received training from international leaders in Mindfulness Based Interventions including Susan Woods, Mark Williams, Rebecca Crane, Christopher Germer, Kristen Neff and Lorraine Hobbs.

“I have experienced through my own personal practice how mindfulness enhances my ability to develop insight into my own patterns of thoughts, emotions and actions, as well as the recognition of the associated bodily sensations I was not aware of previously. MSC added the awareness of the huge role my self-critic played, contributing to anxiety, and how nourishing it is to allow myself to receive kindness and compassion which I previously thought was only appropriate to provide to others. I am eager to share the power of Mindfulness interventions with those who deserve to benefit from this gift of resiliency.”   

To learn more about this program, please contact Georgina at [email protected]

Zoey Ryan BSc.

Zoey is a Health Educator and Professional Certified Coach (Life, Leadership and Organizational Development) who has worked in health care and health care management for over 30 years.

She started her career as a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (BCDNA Registrant 1980 – 2003) and most recently combined her coach training and health background to work as the Program Manager for a Community based health program for families. During this time, understanding the positive outcomes of a mind/body approach to stress management and health, Zoey completed Hatha and Pre-Natal Yoga teacher training prior to taking the “Mindful Self Compassion” program herself. Finding great benefit from the program, Zoey continued on with the three year program to become a ‘Trained Teacher with the Center for Mindful Self Compassion’.

Dr. Robinson will invite applicants who have been accepted to register for the course after Thursday, February 23, 2024.

This program has a $500 registration fee, ACT has a limited number of partial bursaries up to $200. If you require a bursary to support your registration, please indicate so on the application form.

The use of Autism Funding can be used to cover the cost of registration under the training category. 

Autism Funding

Do not submit an AFU request until you have been notified on February 23, 2024 of your acceptance into the program.

If you wish to use your child’s Autism Funding (BC only) to pay for your registration, ACT can invoice the Autism Funding Branch directly. If you are paying in advance to be reimbursed, you must contact the Autism Funding Branch for approval first.

For information on how to register with your Autism Funding, visit Workshop Registration Using Autism Funding.

For more information regarding program costs please contact [email protected].