Compassion and Presence

Contemplative Tools for Stressful Times
with Kirsten DeLeo & John Douglas
Tuesday 15 October, 11am to Thursday 17 October, 1pm

A skills workshop for professionals and trained volunteers working in healthcare, social and human services and health education. Responding effectively to the needs of patients and clients remains an on-going professional and deeply personal challenge. In this skills workshop, you will learn contemplative tools that can support you towards developing greater resilience in your life and work, and can enhance the way you offer compassionate care.

  • How can we stay present to our patients’ experience of pain, loss or grief?
  • How can we sustain a compassionate attitude?
  • How can we respond to our patients’ needs and challenging situations?
  • How can we work with stress and fatigue in our work and lives?

Step-by-step, Kirsten and John will explore practical ways to use mindfulness, meditation and loving-kindness appropriately in any care setting as well as your own practice of self-care. The schedule allows time for relaxation, rest and to enjoy the breathtaking natural setting of the retreat center overlooking the Beara peninsula and the wild Atlantic.

Who is it for?

Compassion and Presence welcomes all those who provide care in hospitals, hospices and care organisations, social work, health care education, and other allied health professions, whether brand new to the practice of mindfulness or meditation, or experienced.

The workshop focuses on four core competencies:

  • Holding authentic presence and communication
  • Deepening our ability to extend compassion toward ourselves and others
  • Developing a personal understanding of the needs of clients and patients
  • Maintaining a warm and open presence when responding to distress and pain


Short talks, discussion, reflection, guided meditations, and interactive exercises for integrating learning.

Training topics

  • Cultivating presence through meditation and mindfulness practices
  • Methods for deepening compassion
  • Training in a contemplative listening model that integrates meditation and compassion methods into communication
  • Developing an understanding of compassionate self-care to strengthen resilience, reduce stress, and transform challenging situations
  • Research on the benefits meditation and compassion in care work



11-1pm with tea break Welcome Session

3-6pm   with tea break Session 1

6:45-7:30pm Session 2


10-1pm with tea break Session 3

3:30-6pm with tea break Session 4


10-1pm with tea break Session 5 and Conclusion

Compassion and Presence is part of a certificate programme in contemplative end-of-life care offered by Authentic Presence. To find out more, please visit,


The retreat will be held in our Spiritual Care Centre meditation room with expansive views across the bay.

Delicious two course vegetarian lunches, with soup and bread in the evenings. Cooked with love at Dzogchen Beara, using homegrown and organic ingredients whenever possible. Tea and coffee.

Book online now

Fee €340
Concession €

Dzogchen Beara has a policy of not turning anyone away for financial reasons.
Please email to to discuss flexible payment options or request assistance from our retreat fund.

Limited accommodation is available on-site. Book early!
A list of hostels, B&B’s self-catering accommodation and hotels in the local area is available here.

Vegetarian lunches and light evening meals are provided. The cost is included in your fee.

Online booking here

Enquiries by email or + 353 (0) 27 73032

To view our visitor information, please click here.

Kirsten DeLeo
Kirsten DeLeo
Kirsten DeLeo has been immersed in meditation practice for over twenty years, including a three-year meditation retreat. She is known for her clarity and warmth and teaches meditation in a down-to-earth way.
Kirsten serves both as a Buddhist chaplain and spiritual care trainer and supports the guests at Dzogchen Beara’s Spiritual Care Centre. She helped to pioneer “Authentic Presence”, one of the first training programmes in contemplative end-of-life care in the US. Based on her experience supporting terminally ill patients, she wrote the award-winning book “Present Through The End. A Caring Companion’s Guide for Accompanying the Dying”.To find out more about her, visit:
John Douglas
John Douglas
John Douglas first became interested in Buddhist Meditation in 1990 and moved to West Cork in 1994 to become part of the Dzogchen Beara community. As a Senior Meditation Instructor and Spiritual Care Educator, John is one of Dzogchen Beara’s main facilitators on a range of courses and workshops including Facing Loss and Healing Grief, Deep Listening, Self Compassion and Healing Relationships.

John is a Counsellor & Psychotherapist, accredited with the IACP, working in private practice in Castletownbere and with ARC Cancer Support House in Bantry, as well as being part of the care team supporting guests at the Care Centre in Dzogchen Beara