The purpose in life is to collaborate for a common cause – Gerhard Gschwandtner

Welcome to our team. These indivduals work independently as well as in collaboration with the centre in order to promote mindfulness as a therapy, a technique and as a lifestyle, supporting others in their efforts to regain as well as maintain a sense of balance and mental wellbeing. The below team are people who work as honorary volunteer advisors. Without these wonderfully dedicated individuals our work would not be possible.


Robert Gebka – Dorset Mindfulness Centre director


Robert is a Qualified MBSR Teacher with the University of California San Diego Medical School, USA (UCSD CFM). He is former Buddhist monk who lived, worked and trained for five years at the Nan Hua Zen Buddhist monastery before joining the NHS. It is during this time that he was fortunate enough to meet HH the 14th Dalai Lama. He is an accredited psychological counsellor and has completed a two year project in Mindfulness Based Interventions in an NHS psychiatric hospital with a clinical population. He is also the author Managing Depression with Mindfulness for Dummies. Robert studied the neuroscience and physiology of mindfulness with Neuragy UK and is a registered member of the UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisations.Read about Robert HERE.
Dr Julia Forster, Ph.D. – Education Advisor

Julia begaJulia Forstern her career in mental health nursing during which time she became very interested in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as an empowering tool for those with anxiety, depression and eating disorders. Moving on to teach nurses and then into further education and teacher training, Julia’s interest in CBT extended to consider how such approaches could be adapted to support professionals in managing the emotional complexities of their roles. In 2013 Julia completed a Ph.D. at Southampton University investigating the impact of a CBT toolkit for supporting trainee teachers to more effectively manage challenging student behaviour. She completed the 8 Week MBSR programme as well as the Professional Mindfulness Practitioner training with the Dorset Mindfulness Centre and has developed a passion for exploring how mindfulness can be used to advance learning and development.

Dr Shantha Perera, M.D., Ph.D – Science and Medical Advisor

Shantha is a SDr Shantha Pererraenior Lecturer in Immunology at the University of Wolverhampton. He has a medical degree and masters and doctoral degrees in Immunology and Genetics. His current research interests include looking at the effects of mindfulness on several biochemical and immunological markers such as cortisol and interleukin. Shantha has been meditating since an early age and is very interested in secular Buddhist philosophy and practice and their integration into everyday life. He has completed the Dorset Mindfulness Centre Professional Mindfulness Practitioner training in 2017 and is exploring the use of Mindfulness Based Interventions within medicine.

Caroline Rice-Varian – Mindfulness Based Pain Management Advisor

Caroline is an NHS occupational therapist (OT) and works as a psychological therapist in a pain management service providing one to one pain psychology interventions to people with persistent pain problems. She also facilitates the pain psychology sessions on the Fibromyalgia Pain Management programmes in this service.  She is a Cognitive Analytic Therapist (CAT) and CAT Supervisor and is also trained in Eye Movement and Desensitization Therapy (EMDR). She has completed her MBSR Teacher Training with Bangor University Centre for Mindfulness and has graduated from our Certified Mindfulness Practitioner training with the Dorset Mindfulness. .


Dr Jerson L D S Pereira, MBBS, DPM, MD, MRCPsych – Psychiatric & Mental Health Advisor

Jerson is a London based private Consultant Psychiatrist and has completed his psychiatric training at the Maudsley, a centre of excellence and one of the most influential mental health establishments in the world. He has worked with leaders in the field of psychiatry and has been practicing in this area since 1992. Jerson currently works as a medical director of Southern Hill Hospital in the private sector. He has also completed the Dorset Mindfulness Centre 8-Week MBSR course as well our Certified Mindfulness Practitioner professional training. He has been practicing mindfulness for many years and has a particular strong interest in Compassionate Based Approaches and its application in the field of mental health.


Helena Edwards – Young Person’s Advisor

Helna EdwardsHelena is an Occupational Therapist working in the field of child and adolescent mental health, where she specialises in Sensory Integration Therapy. She is an experienced yoga, mindfulness and somatic movement teacher and has been successfully integrating these practices into her therapy work for quite some time. Helena has practiced yoga and mindfulness since her teens and is deeply dedicated to her personal practice. She is currently completing a Masters degree in Mindfulness with the University of Aberdeen. She loves working with children and young people and is especially interested in compassion-based mindfulness techniques drawing from both Tibetan Buddhist practices as well as the work of Professor Paul Gilbert and Kristen Neff.


Dr Louise Baker-Martins, Ph.D., D.Clin.Psych – Research Advisor

Dr Louise Baker, Ph.D.Louise completed her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Exeter and specialises in interventions for poor sleep/insomnia. She has worked in various NHS mental-health services in East Dorset and has developed and delivered sleep interventions incorporating Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Prior to clinical training, Louise completed a PhD at the University of Southampton which involved research into the impact of insomnia symptoms on cognition and emotion. It was during this time that her interest in Mindfulness began and she completed an MBSR course which was a transformational experience. She has been very pleased to work with Dorset Mindfulness Centre on her recent research; a qualitative investigation into how the process of MBSR is experienced by those with complaints of poor sleep.


Deborah Howard – Health & Social Care Advisor

Deborah Howard 1 DMC

Starting out her career as a social worker Deborah has extensive mental health service leadership and management experience across the health and social care services in Dorset. Between 2012 and 2014 Deborah worked for Dorset HealthCare as the Associate Director for Community Mental Health Services and has recently taken on a wonderful new challenge as the Joint Head of Mental Health Services for Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Somerset County Council. She also has a longstanding interest in mindfulness and practices Yoga on a regular basis. She enjoyed completing the Dorset Mindfulness Centre 8-Week MBSR course and is a passionate advocate for the effectiveness of mindfulness in promoting health and wellbeing.

Linda Kinsella – Natural Health Advisor

Linda Kinsella Mindfulness meditation Bournemouth

Linda is a natural health practitioner with over 20 years experience in integrative healing. She specialises in radionics therapy and shiatsu massage as well as nutrition for mind-body health. Her interest in food as therapy has also led her to qualify as a chef. Linda has a strong interest in positive and energy psychology and enjoys supporting others on their journey to emotional wellbeing. Her creative approach empowers individuals to find a great sense of unique self-expression. She lives in Bournemouth has completed the 8-Week MBSR course with the Dorset Mindfulness Centre. She teaches her own style of mindful movement exercises called Creative-Flow.


David Mayes – Mindful Leadership Advisor

David is a qualified coach and works in the field of Learning and Development, specialising in leadership development and coaching. He has experience of working across multiple industries and with both private and third sector organisations. In early 2017 David set up his own business and it was during this time that he became interested in mindfulness, completing the Dorset Mindfulness Centre’s 8 week MBSR course before building his understanding by undertaking the centre’s Professional Mindfulness Practitioner Programme in 2018. David is particularly interested in the concept of ‘Mindful Leadership’ and is exploring how mindfulness may help those in leadership positions become more effective and resilient in our ever increasingly complex and fast paced world.


Dr Xun He, Ph.D. – Experimental Psychology Advisor

Dr Xun He

Dr Xun is a lecturer in psychology at Bournemouth University. He has a Ph.D in biophysics from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences which explored perception and attention. He has a very strong in interest in psychology and human behaviour as well as as the underlying neural mechanisms involved in both. Xun has extensive experience both with functional brain mapping (fMRI) and intervention of brain functions (e.g., TMS), as well as extensive expertise in human brain electrophysiology, specifically the event-related potential (ERP) and steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) techniques. Recently his research has gradually oriented itself towards experimental social psychology and social neuroscience.

Jonathan Stock – Innovation & Development Advisor

Jonathan is a mindfulness based counsellor. He is also a former Head of the English department at the London School of Management and Science. He has received training in both psychoanalysis at Middlesex Universtiy as well as in Core Process Psychotherapy at the Karuna Institute, Devon. Jonathan worked as a counsellor at the Nan Hua Buddhist Monastery supporting students in their academic and personal development and has also had the experience of working with young adults, supporting their emotional and psychological wellbeing. Jonathan lives in Bournemouth working as a teacher of English and also enjoys practicing Tai Chi and reading on psychology, philosophy and science. Jonathan completed the centre’s 8 Week MBSR course and is the co-designer of the Professional Mindfulness Practitioner training.


For more information or an application form please contact Clare Clements

Hello, my name is Clare and I am here to help you in whatever way I can. Whether you have a question about our mindfulness courses or simply want to know whether mindfulness could help you, I will be delighted to be of support.

Feel free to email me on or give me a call on

01202 021 063 for a no obligation telephone chat


Or click here to use our CONTACT FORM

APCTC Awards Finalist Logo 1

NHS-OSCARSWe are the winners of both the Runner Up CEO Award for Innovation at the NHS OSCARS for our contribution to NHS staff wellbeing and finalists at the Association of Professional Coaches, Trainers and Consultants awards ceremony in London.


Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
– M. Scott Peck