New Mindfulness Group Meets Tuesday Evenings

I’m delighted to offer an Intensive Mindfulness Psychotherapy Group on Tuesday evenings. Each group session will provide an opportunity to deepen your mindfulness practice with guided meditation and a time of sharing how your meditation practice is evolving. This mindfulness psychotherapy group will provide a safe environment for deeper exploration into your meditation practice as well as emotional and spiritual discovery and affirmation.
We’ll meet on Tuesdays from 5:30-7:00 p.m. The minimum commitment is 3 months and can accommodate up to 8 men and women. Previous mindfulness training is required for admission to this group.

RAIN: Four steps that help when we feel overwhelmed

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as we go about our daily activities, attempting to meet the expectations of our employers, our families, our friends, our communities, and ourselves.  When life’s challenges seem to be ganging up on us, we can remember to be mindful by “RAINing” some compassion and loving self-care on our lives.

RAIN is an easy-to-remember tool for practicing mindfulness. It has four steps:

Recognize what is going on;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with kindness;
Natural awareness, which comes from not identifying
with the experience.1

Awareness and kindness are keys to this process. Without them, we may begin to feel unworthy, falling into the trap of self-judgment and belief that something is fundamentally flawed within us. Most of us wouldn’t treat a dear friend so harshly, yet we will do it to ourselves.  This is when we may feel the “squeeze of anxiety or the weight of depression,” as Tara Brach observes in this month’s post on Mindful.org2.  Describing the RAIN concept, she explains that

Compassion fully blossoms when we actively offer care to ourselves. To help people address feelings of insecurity and unworthiness, I often introduce mindfulness and compassion through a meditation I call the RAIN of Self-Compassion.3

I encourage you to read Ms. Brach’s excellent article in its entirety. I especially like the way she describes recognition of the situation:

Like awakening from a dream, the first step out of the trance of unworthiness is simply to recognize that we are stuck, subject to painfully constricting beliefs, emotions, and physical sensations. Common signs of the trance include a critical inner voice, feelings of shame or fear, the squeeze of anxiety or the weight of depression in the body.4

She goes on to describe “allowing” as “taking a life-giving pause,” where we simply let the situation be, just as it is, rather than reacting in one of three typical ways: “piling on judgment; numbing ourselves to our feelings; or by focusing our attention elsewhere.”5 In that space of allowance we find freedom and power.

Investigating our feelings about a situation allows us to find truths that lead us to unconditional self care, healing, and resilience. We can develop “a heartspace where everything that is, is welcome.”6  This process can be difficult, bringing recognition of current suffering or memories of past suffering to the surface.  Brach shares a personal story of using RAIN to reach acceptance of her own chronic illness. She recognized that she felt trapped in both the symptoms of the illness and her own aversion to her reactions to the illness. She was able to allow those feelings to be and grieve the loss of her health, finding peace through compassion for herself.

When we’ve done the first three steps of RAIN, we’re rewarded with “N”: natural, loving awareness. Intentional recognition, allowance, and investigation allow us to simply rest in natural awareness, coming home to our true nature. As Brach concludes,

We each have the conditioning to live for long stretches of time imprisoned by a sense of deficiency, cut off from realizing our intrinsic intelligence, aliveness, and love. The greatest blessing we can give ourselves is to recognize the pain of this trance, and regularly offer a cleansing rain of self-compassion to our awakening hearts.7



Dr. Pamm

1Tara Brach, Feeling Overwhelmed? Remember “RAIN”,, August 2014.


3 Ibid.





Video Workshop: Mindfulness As Self Care with Dr. Pamela Cappetta

I taught this workshop on Mindfulness as Self Care to a group at the School of Education at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA on Jan. 25, 2014. We recorded the sessions and offer them to you here in three short sections totaling 45 minutes. I hope it will be 45 minutes well spent on your journey to greater calm and focus in your life.


Dr. Pamm

Mindfulness as Self Care, part 1

Mindfulness as Self Care, part 2

Mindfulness as Self Care, part 3

New Location as of Jan. 2, 2014

Dr. Pamela Cappetta’s office is moving! As of January 2, 2014, she’s located at 491 McLaw’s Circle, Suite 3A, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

Mindfulness Workshop for Counselors & Health Care Providers

At the College of William and Mary on January 25, 2014, Dr. Pamela Cappetta will teach health care professionals how to practice mindfulness.  Dr. Pamm explains, “as professional helpers we often practice great care for others, but forget the importance of healthy self-care. This workshop will introduce you to mindfulness and will provide you with an opportunity to put into practice the basics of paying attention on purpose in the present moment—non-judgmentally.”

When: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, January 25, 2014

Where: College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA

Cost: $50 per participant

Register: email Amy Williams

Mindfulness Workshop Flyer 2014


Dr. Pamm’s Stress Management Tactics Referenced

Learn how a young woman coping with a rare disease learned to manage stress with mindfulness practice during the holidays:

“A Proactive Approach To Holidays For People With Chronic Diseases”

Dr. Pamm’s advice for stress management is good any time of  year:

• Adjust your perspective: Set your intention daily to be positive and hopeful.

• Identify and understand your personal stressors.

• When you feel yourself getting stressed, stop and take deep breaths.

• Adopt a healthy lifestyle through diet, exercise and good sleeping habits.

• Talk to your doctor if you find yourself overwhelmed by stress.

Free Download: “5 Practices for a Mindful Day”

5 Practices for a Mindful Day is handy guide for developing this natural human ability – it’s not all in your head! Please download this free PDF—courtesy of—and begin to manage your stress with these simple and effective tips.

Interview for Williamsburg Neighbors Magazine, Sept. 2013

Dr. Pamm was interviewed by Rachel Sapin for the September 2013 issue of Williamsburg Neighbors magazine. Check out her thoughts on Reducing Stress through Mindfulness.

Dr. Pamm to Teach at Woman’s Quest Wellness Symposium Nov. 9, 2013

Register now for the Woman’s Quest Wellness Symposium on Nov. 9, 2013. Organized by the Greater Williamsburg Area United Way, this one-day event covers a wide range of topics to help women achieve and maintain wellness in mind, body, and spirit. Dr. Pamela Cappetta will teach mindfulness skills at 11:00 a.m. The full day of events will be held at Kingsmill Resorts from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and costs $99.

Mindfulness Meditation: Self-care for Busy People

Notice your breathing as you begin to read this article. Take a few nice breaths and notice if you can feel the texture of your breath as it crosses over your lips or through your nostrils. Notice your thoughts. Are you judging whether this piece will catch your attention or if you will stop reading now? Are you thinking about what has to be done when you finish this article?

If you followed the suggestions above you have already begun to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is practiced by paying attention to purpose in your life as it unfolds moment by moment. By using a lens of non-judgment and curiosity we can begin to view our lives with more acceptance and compassion. There is evidence that this practice helps decrease automatic responses to stress and increase neuroplasticity in the brain (new brain cells).

Mindfulness is often done in a formal meditation but can be done anywhere and anytime as a form of self-care. By becoming committed to this simple practice of paying attention and “naming and noting” the present moment experiences, we become aware of patterns of thought that disrupt our peacefulness. Return to your breath over and over to keep the ever wandering mind in the present moment.

Notice your body. Are you sitting down or standing up as you read? Do you have any aches or pains in your body? Notice the clothing you have on today. Do you like the colors and textures of the clothing?

Notice your emotions. Are you feeling: Peaceful? Anxious? Calm? Rushed? Sad? Joyful? Sleepy?

One of my favorite homework assignments for myself and my clients is to watch the wind blow for ten minutes daily. Often folks look at me like I am crazy when I make this suggestion. Try it. Watching the wind blow is a simple process. You have time.

Watch your breath and notice the way you feel when you breathe. Notice your surroundings. Look at the colors of objects around you. If you can’t get outside, notice the air from a fan blowing. Notice how the breeze or stillness of the air touches your skin.

Becoming an active member of your self-care team will be time well spent!!

This post by Dr. Pamela Cappetta was first published on Behavioral Health Matters.

Behavioral Health Matters web site

Dr. Pamm Honored to Be Included in Who’s Who in America 2013

Dr. Pamm received notice this week of her inclusion in the 2013 edition of Who’s Who in America 2013:

Dear Pamela Cappetta,

Who’s Who in America 2013 (67th Edition) has just been published and I’d like to share with you some of the fascinating people whose biographies are appearing in the book – alongside your own – for the very first time.

Each year the Marquis Who’s Who staff researches people from all walks of life who merit inclusion in Who’s Who in America. Beginning with the inaugural edition in 1899, which featured such luminaries as John D. Rockefeller, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Theodore Roosevelt, Who’s Who in America has consistently represented the most current snapshot available of the professional and cultural landscape of the country.

Here are just a few of the new notables you’ll find in the new 2013 edition:

Sofía Vergara, multiple award-winning star of the hit sitcom Modern Family and highest paid actress on television. Recently named a brand ambassador for CoverGirl.

Robert Griffin III, winner of the 2011 Heisman Trophy and current starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins. First rookie quarterback in NFL history to be named Offensive Player of the Week in his debut.

Janet Wolfenbarger, commander of the United States Air Force Materiel Command and the first female to become a four-star general in the USAF.

Sara Ganim, crime reporter who broke the story of the Penn State scandal, for which she received numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.

Neal Kwatra, chief of staff to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Named one of 2012’s 40 Under 40 and 25 People to Watch by Crain’s New York Business.

Téa Obreht, author who became the youngest person to receive the presitigious Orange Prize for Fiction for her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife.

Michel Hazanavicius, filmmaker who won the Academy Award for Best Director for 2011’s The Artist, which also became the first silent film to win Best Picture since the inaugural Academy Awards in 1929.

We are proud to have you as part of the Marquis Who’s Who family and to welcome you into this edition of Who’s Who in America. On behalf of our entire team, I’d like to wish you the best of luck for your continued success.


Fred Marks