People

Nicholas Brüss, EdD, LMFT, Director, CompassionLA

Nicholas Bruss Compassion Los AngelesNicholas is a perennial student of wisdom and compassion practices and has been cross-trained in multiple arenas with compassion and mindfulness at their core such as Internal Family Systems psychotherapy, somatic-based trauma resiliency, nonviolent communication and end of life presence. He has practiced Vipassana meditation intensively in the U.S., Burma and Thailand and is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners’ and Heavenly Messengers Programs.

He was invited to teach Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) by founding teachers Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer. He also teaches the heavily researched Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program and is a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator by UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Through the Center for Compassion, Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University School of Medicine, he is a certified teacher of Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT). He has a psychotherapy private practice in West LA and the San Fernando Valley.

Michelle Seely, MA, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Michelle is a long time meditator and student of Buddhist Psychology, and was trained to teach Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) by founders Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer. She is a licensed psychotherapist whose professional interests include shame resilience, the overlaps between Buddhist Psychology and Relational Gestalt, and how the use of story and metaphor support therapeutic change.

She is on the core faculty of the Pacific Gestalt Institute in Los Angeles, and also supervises interns at the Southern California Counseling Center. For many years she has worked teaching human development; developing and leading workshops for parents and teachers; and providing consultation and support for parents, staff, and students at Sequoyah School in Pasadena. Michelle has a private practice in Toluca Lake/Burbank where she works with teens, adults, and couples.

Michelle has enjoyed the transformative benefits of practicing mindful self-compassion her self, and has found that teaching self-compassion to people often leads them to an increased experience of strength, acceptance, resilience, and life satisfaction. “Mindful self-compassion can work as an antidote for shame, low self-esteem, anxiety and other difficult but common life experiences. In a supportive class environment it is something we can all learn, practice and get better at.”

Albert Grabb, MD, Compassion Cultivation Facilitator

Albert GrabbDr. Grabb has been a staff radiologist at Torrance Memorial Medical Center for 26 years and has been practicing meditation for over a decade. In 2011, he began more intense study and practice of mindfulness meditation which eventually led to enrollment and completion of the Certification in Mindfulness Facilitation program through UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and is an authorized teacher of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) for Daily Living.

Dr. Grabb completed the training for teaching Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education’s course entitled Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT). With a strong commitment to sharing mindfulness and compassion training with fellow healthcare workers, he teaches CCT and MAPs in medical settings.

Laurie Cousins, BA, Certified Mindfulness Facilitator

Laurie is certified as Mindfulness Facilitator through UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She has a B.A. in Psychology and is a Research Associate at UCLA’s Child & Adolescent Mood Disorders program, facilitating Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy groups for young people.

Laurie is trained through Inner Kids mindfulness program, and is mentored by its founder Susan Kaiser-Greenland. She is bringing mindful awareness into education in a secular way by teaching the ABC’s of Mindfulness to children, teens, teachers, and administrators in K-12 public and private schools.  As a Family Mindfulness Practitioner, Laurie provides effective strategies and support for families dealing with attentional, behavioral, and emotional challenges, while cultivating a more connected and peaceful home.

For more than a decade, Laurie has been working in the field of recovery with addiction and substance abuse, eating disorders, and co-dependency.  She is passionate about helping all people to deal & heal through awareness, self-acceptance, compassion, and joy!

Kathryn Chaya Lubow, MFT, Compassion & Mindfulness Facilitator

Kathryn is an integrative psychotherapist specializing in somatic therapy, mindfulness based interventions and EMDR, with an emphasis on processing trauma and providing tools for self-regulation. She is trained to teach the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program developed by Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer. She has been a facilitator with Compassion LA since 2014 and co-created the Self-Compassion for Parents program. Kathryn has also served as a yoga and mindfulness teacher in a variety of settings including the University of Southern California, London School of Economics, Florence Nightingale and Cromwell Hospitals (London), TriYoga London, and throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District. At the Southern California Counseling Center, Kathryn partnered with Nicholas Bruss, Compassion LA’s founder, to create and facilitate Mindfulness and Self-Compassion groups and also facilitated the Best Practice Parenting Program.

Kathryn has been a student and practitioner of mindfulness meditation since 1997, and has been studying with her primary teacher Adyashanti since 2006, who invites students to inquire into the nature of the self and points to the natural state of compassionate awareness that is always and already present. Kathryn has a private psychotherapy practice in West Hollywood, CA.

Jason Ryterband, Certified Mindfulness Facilitator

jason ryterbandHi, I’m Jason.  When I found meditation in 2008, I was lonely and socially disconnected.  My mind was anxious and judgmental.  I was afraid to trust myself in my career, and I was afraid to be myself in front of others. Meditation provided a temporary escape from my chaotic thinking and inhibited way of being, but integrating it into my day-to-day life was not a straightforward task.  I set out to build a bridge between the internal work of meditation and the external world of relationships, personal and professional.  This is what I teach.

Drawing from modern psychology, neuroscience, secular mindfulness and traditional Buddhist insight meditation, this system can help you understand your conditioning, improve your relationship with your emotions, and free you up to be more authentic. It can also provide deep insights about the human experience.  If this method sounds relevant to you, come give it a try!  Join me for class series online or in person through CompassionLA.  You can also sign up for free guided meditations and a free one-on-one mentoring session at insightmeditationsupport.org.  I look forward to meeting you.

Eric López-Maya, PhD, Certified Mindfulness Facilitator

Eric has an extensive background practicing mindfulness and integrating it into different scenarios in workplaces and clinical settings. He is Director and Founder of the Mexican Institute for Mindfulness, a leading Institution in Mexico that offers mindfulness-based interventions for mental health, well-being and stress reduction, both for companies and the general public. He also collaborates with the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center as a guest lecturer. He is a clinical psychologist and holds a PhD in Health Psychology and has led and collaborated in contemplative research projects in Mexico, United States and Germany. He holds a certificate in Mindfulness Facilitation from UCLA and has completed professional training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through the programs offered by the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is also a Guiding Teacher for the Mindful Schools Program. Currently Eric is a visiting scholar at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA.

Gael Belden, MA, Certified Mindfulness Facilitator

Gael BeldenGael is a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator by UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and was trained to teach  the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) by founders Kristen Neff and Christopher Germer. She teaches Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) classes for MARC, works closely with UCLA’s mindfulness certification program as a Teaching Assistant and mentor, leads retreats, and has created mindfulness curriculum for distance-learning high school students.

Gael has an MA in Mythology and Depth Psychology, and weaves myth, poetry and story into her mindfulness work. She was lay-ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh, has been meditating for over 30 years, and is the author of Soror Mystica and Roam: Ojai’s Hip, Little Hiking Guide.

Stacy Kesten, Certified Mindfulness Facilitator

Stacy KestenStacy has practiced meditation for 8 years and has extensive personal and professional training in mindfulness. She completed Certification in Mindfulness Facilitation program through UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior Stacy has received formal training in MBSR and has over a month of silent vispassana retreat experience.  She is an authorized UCLA MAPs teacher and she also specializes in mindful creativity, mindful improvisation, and mindful self-compassion. Stacy works with individuals, organizations, corporate leaders, and she speaks at conferences on self-care and mindfulness in the workplace. She is also a program administrator for UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. For more of Stacy’s offerings go to mindfulinspirations.com

Brian Shiers, MA, Certified Mindfulness Facilitator

Brian Shiers

Brian is a senior teacher for the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) and serves as a mentor in the MARC Training in Mindfulness Facilitation program. With an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and a Masters degree in Psychology/Interpersonal Neurobiology, he specializes in the body’s role in developing a flexible mind and emotional intelligence. Working with the general public as well as in organizations, Brian has provided mindfulness programs for corporations such as NASA, Disney Animation Studios, Mattel, Inc., and salesforce.com, and serves as the mindfulness coach for the UCLA Womens Varsity Indoor and Beach Volleyball Teams. He is currently developing mindfulness interventions for the LAPD and leads 3-day silent retreats for law enforcement in the Pacific Northwest. For more of Brian’s offerings go to Aligned-Mind.com

John Kneedler, Certified Mindfulness Facilitator

John KneedlerJohn is a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator through UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He also received his B.A. in Psychology from Duke University. In addition to teaching weekly classes throughout Los Angeles John also has extensive experience teaching mindfulness to children having received training from the Mindful Schools Curriculum Training Program. He has shared these practices with students ranging from kindergarteners to high schoolers in public and private settings including the LAPD-created Operation Progress located in Watts and the Institute for Educational Advancement Academy located in Pasadena. John is also a Mindfulness Facilitator and leads weekly classes for adults at the Peak Brain Institute in Los Angeles. First and foremost, John is a dedicated practitioner who strongly values the continuing development of his own personal practice including participation in annual residential silent retreats. For more of John’s offering see johnkneedlermindfulness.com