The saga of how CFMR came to be, as told by Laura Carr

In 2002 Daniel, in partnership with Mary Edwards opened First Avenue Counseling Centre (FACC). They had been working together since 1994 at Episcopal Community Services and when ECS decided to close their counseling doors Dan and Mary took a leap of faith. FACC is thriving and offers low-cost counseling services to the community, school-based counseling services to several schools in the South Bay, and provides anger management and court-ordered domestic violence classes to men and women. Daniel is a AAMFT Approved Supervisor and has been providing clinical supervision to pre-licensed therapists since 1996, first at ECS and now at FACC.

Up until 2004 I worked for non-profit agencies providing school-based therapy services to children and their families. After the birth of our first son Alex I wanted the flexibility to be an active mom while continuing the work I love. So I decided to focus on building a private practice as well as become certified as a AAMFT Supervisor. I had kept a small therapy practice over the years and Daniel had a solid practice along with being the Clinical Director for FACC. Over late night dinners Daniel and I talked about “someday” creating an agency that trained therapists based on the way we worked with clients. “Our way” is an integration of three major influences in our lives: 1) a continued dedication to our mental health professional development, 2) the therapy we received both individually and as a couple with our brilliant and now retired therapist, Mary Wong, and 3) the growth we experience in our spiritual relationship with Zen Buddhism. These talks went on for years. As a bystander I had watched Dan in his work with training therapists¬†and saw how much they gained from supervision and how rewarding it was for him; it was a world I wanted to be apart of. After receiving the required training I began supervising at First Avenue Counseling Centre and discovered a love of teaching this illusive skill that is called therapy. The three of us, Dan, Mary and I became a comfortable and effective team at what is now affectionately called First Ave.

In 2008 Dan and I welcomed our 2nd son, Julien. Post partum depression took a toll on me and parenting was not as easy as Daniel and I had imagined. We stumbled quite a bit as we learned how to attend to nurturing our children, our relationship and our careers. Professionally I slowed down and the focus was on surviving and bringing compassion to my own journey. Life was offering us great opportunities on a daily basis to practice what we preach. In all of this the discussion of our dreams continued. In 2009 we directed our attention to what we wanted to teach which led to realizing that our lens was different than what is traditionally offered in therapy. We nurtured our ideas and concepts and named it Compassion Based Awareness Therapy (CBAT). *(Go to the Our Philosophy tab to learn more about our theory)

One of the things I’m learning from this journey is that the dreams that come to fruition require committed personal effort, a bit of luck and an inspired team of people. We have had many false starts in creating CFMR. In the fall of 2010 a conversation began that reinvigorated our motivation. In the summer of 2011 the work began. Our intention: Center for Mindful Relationships is committed to:

  1. Expand and further develop the training and skill level of pre-licensed therapists in Compassion Based Awareness Therapy, there-by nurturing the skills of the therapist;
  2. Providing skilled and effective psychotherapy services to the community that is grounded in Compassion Based Awareness Therapy.

We deeply believe in this way of thinking about one’s self and relationships and believe it allows for life-long changes, not just symptom relief. The dream started 7 years ago and it is here; Center for Mindful Relationships is now a reality. Don’t ever give up on where your heart leads you!