Mindful Balance for Mood Cycling

This 12-week mindfulness class for mood cycling and bipolar disorder is designed to help participants gain skills and perspectives to work with their moods and stabilize their state of mind.

  • Are you struggling with ups and downs, emotional instability, and difficulty understanding or managing your energy or emotions?
  • Have you tried mindfulness, but you can’t quite get the hang of applying it to your emotional life?
  • Could you benefit from a supportive community that will help you stick to your goals and feel supported in your recovery?

This is the class for you! Mindful Balance will bring mindfulness skills together with secular, psychological, and spiritual perspectives, including Buddhism, DBT, interpersonal neurobiology, stress management, and trauma-informed care.

This group is limited to 8 members, which will allow us to cultivate a safer, supportive atmosphere where participants can get supportive attention from the group leader and other members.

Schedule

Days and times: Tuesday evenings, 6:30-8:00pm
Location: Near SE 39th and Belmont, Portland OR
Commitment: 12 weeks, attending a minimum of 8 sessions.

Fees

Fee: $20–60 per session, private pay. (I do not accept insurance.)

I offer this class on a sliding scale basis, and I ask members to pay a fee within their reach. Members agree to pay for all 12 sessions, as this creates more continuity, community, and commitment. Participants can pay in advance, in installments, or each session.

Goals and Planned Curriculum

This class series is for skill building and sharing, and the emphasis is on gentleness and stabilization. This class uses a strengths-based wellness model emphasizing intrinsic health. Different people have different wellness goals, and this class is designed to meet a variety of goals, including disease remission, symptom reduction, and improved quality of life.

Practices I plan to teach in the workshop series include:

  • sitting meditation
  • mindful breathing
  • mindfulness of the body
  • mindfulness of emotions
  • compassion practices
  • visualization practices
  • relaxation practices
  • mindfulness of daily activities
  • emotion regulation skills
  • life stabilization skills

The emphasis in this class is on what works, and participants will be given many different options of mindfulness skills to practice in their own lives. There is an expectation that participants will engage in mindfulness practice between sessions, at least a few times a week. This will enhance learning and help all the members of the group develop their skills and wellness goals.

Each session, we’ll have an interactive lecture, practice mindfulness together, and talk about using these skills in our lives. While there is a lesson plan and an intended curriculum, the format may change based on the needs of the group.

Who is this class for?

This class is a good fit for people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, who experience mood cycling, or who simply have a range of emotional and cognitive experiences that call for cultivating mindful balance and emotion regulation.

Participants are required to be in ongoing individual psychotherapy and to sign a release of information so that I can be in touch with their individual therapist to provide coordinated care. Additionally, participants need to have stable housing, good reality testing, a baseline of structure in their lives, and a strong motivation to take personal responsibility for moving towards their own wellness goals.

I like to speak with potential participants beforehand to answer questions, get to know them better, and decide together if the class is a good fit. If you are interested, please contact me or schedule a free phone consultation.

Safety Agreements

If you start to have a mood episode or you are at risk of harming yourself or others, I may refer you to see your individual therapist. While in the group, you also agree to continue to take any psychiatric medications prescribed to you, and that you will only change your treatment regimen with the agreement of your prescriber.

Hopefully the practices I will teach and the discussions we will have in this group will support you in working with mood cycles and/or bipolar disorder, and moving towards wellness as you define it. If this sounds appealing, please get in touch! I would be happy to learn more about how I can support you during this class.

About Sasha

I’m a psychotherapist in private practice, and I have personally used mindfulness meditation to recover from bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed with bipolar (II) in my early twenties, and I have been symptom-free for more than a decade. While I cannot promise similar results for you, I believe that mindfulness practice can be beneficial for many people, and I am interested in helping you find the practices that work for you, to support you in your wellness goals.

My PhD research (currently underway) is on how people recover from bipolar disorder using mindfulness and Buddhist ideas, and I am pursuing a doctorate specifically in order to do this research. My clinical training has focused on the integration of mindfulness and mental health, and I hold a Master’s degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy and a Mindfulness Instructor certification from Naropa University. I have spent the better part of a decade integrating the literature on mindfulness, bipolar disorder, and psychotherapy to formulate a new approach to bipolar recovery. This class series is informed by that process of lived experience, clinical training, and academic research.

In this 12-week class, I hope to be able to share with you what I have learned about using mindfulness to recover from bipolar disorder and work with mood cycling.