History & Training

 

I have strong roots in the South, having grown up in Montgomery, Alabama, but my life path carried me through different parts of the country and world before settling back in Atlanta in 2010. When I was 18,  I moved from Alabama to snowy New Hampshire to attend Dartmouth College, earning a degree in Psychological & Brain Sciences.  After college, I spent 15 months living in Tanzania and working with street children at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.  Following that life-changing experience, I worked for two years in New York City at an organization that advocated for reforms to the child welfare system.  These combined experiences affirmed my passion & commitment to spend my life working to help others, and I moved to California to pursue a graduate degree in social work at UC Berkeley. 

 

In graduate school & beyond, I served families in the child welfare system and was at times overwhelmed by the enormity of the suffering facing human beings.  Early on during this period, searching for strategies to help me stay in balance, I was introduced to mindfulness meditation. Since 2007, I have cultivated a meditation practice that has helped me be grounded, present and open-hearted, even in the face of great suffering.  Mindfulness practices were a natural complement to yoga, which has also been a precious source of balance in my life since I began practicing in 2001.  

 

After two years of post-graduate work in California, I resettled in the South & now happily call Atlanta home. My first four years in Atlanta, I worked at an agency that provides community-based psychotherapy to children, adolescents, adults and families.  In all my years of providing “in the trenches” therapeutic support to families & children, from Africa to California to Georgia, I have learned invaluable lessons about human resilience & the power of compassionate presence and empathy.  I am deeply honored to earn the trust of my clients and to walk alongside them towards wholeness, well-being, and peace.  

I am a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in the state of Georgia, a member of the Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work, and a member of the National Association of Social Workers.  From 2017-2019, I am pursuing certification as a Mindfulness Mediation Teacher through an intensive training program with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach, through their Awareness Training Institute.  I am honored to be part of the inaugural group of 300+ students from 17 different countries who gathered in California for three intensive training retreats in 2017.  I am on the faculty of the Atlanta Mindfulness Institute and am a member of the teaching circle of the Atlanta Insight Meditation Community.  Together with my dear friend and colleague, Jessi Heneghan, I also teach workshops for integrating mindfulness practices into families, through our partnership, Mindful Family Life.  

 

Additionally, I have taken courses in Jon-Kabat Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), in Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT) through Emory University’s Emory-Tibet Partnership, and in Mindful Self-Compassion.  I have completed a year-long course in mindfulness principles called “Awakening Joy," have been trained in Trauma-Informed Yoga for Youth by the organization “Street Yoga,” and have been trained in Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy.  

© 2023 by Elizabeth Wilder Young