I come from Kefalonia, a beautiful Greek island in the Ionian Sea. I came to Scotland in 2010 to study and fell in love with Edinburgh or the ‘Athens of the North’, as it called, for its medieval and natural beauty, and I decided to make it my home.
My training in mindfulness has been a transformative and powerful journey which made me realise that by using the right approaches- mindfulness, compassion and insight could be turned into a powerful tool that could support anybody to manage competing daily tasks and I could see the impact of mindfulness in everyday life. This became even more apparent when I gave birth to my daughter. Practicing mindfulness while parenting her is the best present I could have given to my family and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to develop these skills.
Mindfulness practice has helped me to better connect with myself and develop an awareness of my actions, gaining insight on why I act in particular ways and the impact that this behaviour has on me and the others around me. It has also helped me to improve my connection with my daughter and my husband and gain a better understanding of their actions and the impact that these have on our interactions. This connection is precious; it has improved our communication, has helped us to develop patience, set our boundaries and most importantly take care of ourselves so we can take care of each other.
I am passionate about sharing these skills and the knowledge I have learned with others and I can promise that the Mindful and Compassionate Parenting Course will be an experience of self-awareness and discovery that improves all aspects of your life.
Katerina Valenti initially worked as a psychiatric nurse in Athens where she lived. She worked alongside a very experienced multidisciplinary team and gained a good understanding of the manifestations of mental health and emotional difficulties and how to support not only the individual but also their carers to deal effectively with their challenges.
Katerina has completed a Bachelor’s degree (Hons) in Social work in Greece, a master’s in Social Work from Edinburgh University and certificate in Child Welfare and Protection from the University of Aberdeen.
She has worked for over seven years as a Children and Families Social Worker. Her training and working experience have given her a good understanding of the number of difficulties that parents can face and she has developed skills to support parents, children, young people and professionals to develop more effective strategies to overcome a variety of challenges and get more satisfaction from their roles.
Katerina started to study Mindfulness in September 2013 and has trained in Mindfulness, Compassion and Insight practices with the Mindfulness Association. She has completed a Masters in Mindfulness (University of Aberdeen) and is certified by the Mindfulness Association to teach the Mindfulness Based Living Course.
Katerina has used Mindfulness to help parents to cope with a variety of everyday challenges, including those caring for children who are affected by childhood and developmental disorders, disability and mental health issues or have suffered traumatic events.
Originally from the beautiful island of Islay, it’s no surprise that I am most relaxed when near the sea or walking in the woods. I now enjoy living in Edinburgh, with my partner and son. Family is important to me and I love to spend time with my beautiful little granddaughter, enjoying her natural curiosity and exploration of everything around her.
When Katerina and I first discussed delivering a Mindful Parenting course, my previous experience of attending Mindfulness courses hadn’t been very positive and I was pretty sceptical of how Mindfulness could support parents who were experiencing some really challenging family situations. However, we were committed to try to explore how we could support the parents we work with in a different way and set out to make our courses as welcoming, responsive and down to earth as we possibly could. I have been overwhelmed by how beneficial many parents have found the approach.
I have now used Mindfulness and relaxation practices in my personal and professional life for the past few years and have found them particularly effective in managing anxiety and stress. As a parent myself I have found the skills I continue to learn through Mindful and Compassionate Parenting invaluable in managing some of the unpredictable challenges which seem to present themselves fairly often in my life!
I will be delighted to have the opportunity to join you on your Mindfulness journey and look forward to meeting you very soon! Jillian x
Jillian Hart originally trained as a nursery nurse and spent the first part of her career working with young children in Education and Childcare services, initially delivering pre-school education, then supporting and training childcare staff.
She gained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Childhood Practice at Glasgow University as a mature student then spent the next several years working in Family Support roles. This included working with families
affected by domestic abuse, additional support needs and mental health issues, and provided lots of opportunities to develop and deliver individual and group work parenting programmes.
Jillian now works with a Local Authority Parent and Carer Support Team helping parents and carers to find and access support when they need it. She also coordinates and delivers parenting programmes for parents of teenagers such as Teen Triple P . Jillian is very committed to improving the support available to parents who care for a young person with emotional wellbeing difficulties and has ran a number of support sessions around Mental Health topics such as Stress, Self-Harm and Anxiety.
Jillian completed the Foundation Level in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice with the Family Therapy Training Network in 2017 whilst working as a member of a Systemic Family Service team. Systemic Practice is a particular way of working with individuals and families which takes account of their important relationships, across generations within each family’s unique circumstances. The Systemic approach is used throughout all of the Mindfully Connected group and individual sessions.