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Melanie Pensak: How Mindfulness Can Promote Joy, Prevent Burnout & Improve Therapy

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Three keys from this week’s episode:

🔑 Why making small changes over time often leads to the biggest results.

🔑 How mindfulness can be helpful for children, especially those with complex communication needs.

🔑 How mindfulness can be promoted in therapy through play-based activities, such as pretending to blow out a candle. 

This week, Rachel interviews speech-language pathologist and mindfulness meditation leader Melanie Pensak! Melanie offers nature-based and home-based speech-language therapy services through her business, Destination Speech. In addition to her work as an SLP, Melanie leads wellness workshops and meditation groups, and specializes in helping therapists and parents prevent burnout and increase joy! Melanie believes that being aware of the present moment is a “superpower” that everyone can use to live life with more joy! 

Before the Interview: 

  • Rachel talks about her experiences with cryo therapy
  • Discussion of why taking care of yourself is so important when helping others – “if your tank is empty, you don’t have enough left to give”
  • Rachel’s mindfulness routine in the morning
  • Questions about our relationship with time and the power of making routines
  • Why introducing small changes over time can lead to bigger gains when compared with an “all or nothing” mentality looking for fast change without failure. 
  • Importance of being kind to yourself and keeping positive
  • Mindfulness & selfceare takeaways from Chris’s trauma awareness training
  • Chris & Rachel challenge listeners to post a strategy in the FB group that has helped them become more mindful

During the Interview:

  • What mindfulness is: entering into the present moment experience. Stepping out of auto pilot and into what is happening now in our thoughts and emotional lives.
  • Developing habits through 5x5x5 – 5 min a day, 5 days a week, for 5 weeks. – There is power in committing to something like that and making it part of your daily life
  • Meditation isn’t disassociating from yourself, it’s about helping you deal with the world 
  • Incorporating mindfulness into play-based therapy activities (e.g., blowing out a candle, blowing out a cup of cocoa) can help anxiety and emotional regulation.
  • How mindfulness integrates into supporting people with complex communication needs. 
  • First, parents and therapists can use mindfulness to model how we want children to meet stresses, face challenges. and understand themselves. We want to help them build capacity to handle the ups and downs of life. 
  • For children, mindfulness can be used to develop stronger attention, increased self-regulation, and compassion towards others.
  • Use of the STOP acronym – Stop, Take a breath, Observe what’s happening in the moment, and Proceed wisely
  • Discussion of Destination Speech and nature-based speech therapy. Why Melanie finds working outdoors on speech & language with clients so helpful. 


To learn more about Melanie, visit www.melaniepensak.com

Melanie’s Meditate @ the Beach on AirBnB

Melanie’s Recommendations

Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda by Lauren Alderfer

Calm Down Time by Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen

My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing by Nick Ortner

The Mindful Child by Susan Kaiser Greenland

Mindful Games Activity Cards

Article on Adult Meditation Apps

Stop, Breathe, Think Kids App

Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life by Richard Louv

Interested in earning CEU’s by listening to “Talking With Tech”? Check out our course at bit.ly/twtcorepd.

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Hosts: Rachael Madel and Chris Bugaj

Producer: Luke Padgett

Audio Engineer: Michaela Ball

Music: “Ebb and Flow” by Fabian Measures

May 8, 2019

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