Dr Bernadette Carelse started Holistic Education in 1999 and converted it to a Community Interest Company in 2014.
Using her background in meditation, yoga, teacher training, educational psychology and doctoral research, this social enterprise was created to promote and enhance mental health and wellbeing in schools through evidence-based approaches such as mindfulness.
Meditation, yoga and holistic therapies
In 1981, Dr Carelse started practicing meditation, aged 11, having come across some texts that described this practice. Then, in 1984, aged 14, found another book on yoga and meditation and continued developed her practice. In 1992, she became a parent.
In 1992, she was introduced to Ten Carr, a spiritual teacher. From this time, until 2005, she learned meditation, Raja Yoga and Tai Chi/ Chi Gung from him during numerous travels to Harare, Zimbabwe where he lived. During this time, from 1996 to 2000, she trained in a range of holistic therapies that focused on Chi/Ki/Prana: Shiatsu (1996-1998), Holistic Massage (1996-1997), Aromatherapy (2001), Chi Nei Tsang and Reflexology (2000). Worked in a range of settings, including charities and private practices and with people with different concerns, including mental health, Hiv/AIDS and significant physical and learning difficutlies.
Also in 1996, she first visited the London Buddhist Centre and learnt Buddhist meditations in this context. Then, from 1997 to 2007, she began a journey into Taoist meditation practices from Kris Deva North (London Healing Tao) and Taoist Master Mantak Chia.
From 1998 until 2001 she trained as a yoga teacher with the British Wheel of Yoga. This includes training in yoga postures, breathing practices and meditation.
Educational Psychology and teaching
- 1987 to 1989: BSc Physics and Computer Science, University of Zimbabwe
- 1993 to 1997: BA Psychology, Open University.
- 1999: Joined the Zen School of Shiatsu teacher team, until 2014 (school closed).
- 2002: Gained Qualified Teacher Status and worked as a secondary school science (Physics) teacher, in London. Needs (SEN).
- 2005 to 2006: Trained as an Educational (and Child) Psychologist (EP).
- 2008 to 2013: Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology at the University of East London. Dr Carelse specialised in mindfulness, an area where research was emerging and there was evidence of its effectiveness in enhancing cognitive skills, including attention, mental health and well-being. She her used experience in teaching, meditation, yoga and educational psychology to develop and implement the Mindfulness-Based Attention Training (MBAT) intervention for pupils with SEN and researched children’s experiences of learning mindfulness to develop their attention.
- 2009: Completed first Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course and trained with Jo Manuel at the Special Yoga Centre, London, to teach yoga and mindfulness meditation to children and young people with developmental difficulties.
- 2011: Trained to deliver the “.b” programme for secondary school pupils, a course by the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP).
- 2013: Mindfulness Teacher Training Level 1 course, with Cindy Cooper (Centre of Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor), enabling me to teach the standardised MBSR course.
- 2014: Trained to run Peace in a Frantic World for workplaces. Also trained in the “Paws .b” course for primary pupils and the “.b Foundations” for school staff (both developed by the MiSP).
- 2015: Trained to deliver the Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy course. Completed Teacher Training Level 2, with CMRP. Completed the advanced teacher training programme to deliver the MyMind programme developed by Susan Bogels (at University of Amsterdam (UVA) minds You research centre).
Presentations at conferences and workshops
- 2011: Presentation on doctoral research at the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice (CMRP) “Mindfulness Now” Conference.
- 2012: “Introduction to mindfulness” workshop for specialist teachers and two workshops on “Mindfulness for parents” at Parent Partnership Conference.
- 2013: Presentation on using children’s drawings at “Engaging with Methodology” Conference, University of Sussex, Brighton and did a poster presentation at the Mindfulness in Society Conference, Chester.
- 2013 to date: Workshops for educational psychologists and professionals working in schools in Herefordshire, Hackney, Lewisham, Southwark and Kent.
- 2014: Presentations “Implementation Science” conference, Cambridge on the MBAT intervention and the findings at the “Mindfulness, Education and Transformation” conference in Australia.
- 2015: Workshops on using mindfulness for pupils with special educational needs at the “No Need to Exclude” SENCO Conference.
- 2016: Poster Presentation on doctoral research at the Mindfulness in Schools Conference (MiSP). It was held on 22 Janaury 2016 and key note speakers included Professors Mark Williams and Katherine Weare.
For more information, email Holistic Education.