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Being mindful not all in the mind

Briefs

Cite as: December 2010 84(12) LIJ, p.16

The “mindfulness training” course developed by the LIV to help address mental health issues in the legal profession has been rated highly by its first participants.

Designed as a preventative health measure, the six-week program run by lawyer and clinical psychologist Qusai Hussain outlined practical strategies and skills that could be used by practitioners to alleviate stress.

The course was put together following the release of resilience@law, a DVD aimed at raising awareness and understanding of the nature and impact of stress, anxiety and depression across the legal profession. It was a joint initiative of five major law firms – Allens Arthur Robinson, Blake Dawson, Clayton Utz, Freehills and Mallesons Stephen Jaques – and the College of Law.

The DVD broadly addresses issues to do with depression and anxiety in the legal sector by showcasing practitioners who talk about their own experiences of working through depression and anxiety issues.

The aim of the mindfulness training was to teach people some basic skills to build their resistance against depression and anxiety. Practitioners may have some awareness of what clinical treatments are available to them, but the LIV course’s aim was to provide people with strategies they could use daily.

Initial feedback has been that the course helped build participants’ inner strength.

The course, which was run as a CPD activity, included breathing exercises that could be used in times of high stress and focus exercises to help people think more positively and with greater clarity.

Many participants were attracted to the course because they wanted help to manage stress, not because they felt they had a specific mental health issue. More courses are scheduled for next year.

To obtain a free copy of the resilience@law DVD, email humanresources@liv.asn.au. The LIV’s members-only confidential counselling service LawCare is available on ph 0408 586 966. A range of fact sheets on issues including workplace and personal stress and depression are available at www.liv.asn.au/Getting-Legal-Advice/LawCare.

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