Melbourne Mindfulness Institute

The Melbourne Mindfulness Institute provides mindfulness training in a range of contexts. Our approach uses Mindfulness integrated Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (MiCBT), developed by Dr Bruno Cayoun.

We offer regular group MiCBT courses in Melbourne as well as providing MiCBT to individual clients who may need to work on issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, attention issues, anger, post traumatic stress, bipolar disorder, pain management to both groups and individuals enabling people to apply a mindfulness-based approach to daily life while improving their sense of well-being.

We also provide mindfulness programs in organisational settings. Our email contact is


Sarah Francis (M.Psych., M.A., B.Ed., Diploma in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Grad. Dip. in MiCBT., MAPS.)

Sarah Francis (M.Psych., M.A., B.Ed., Diploma in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Grad. Dip. in MiCBT., MAPS.)

Director of Melborune Mindfulness Institute

Sarah is a registered psychologist trained and experienced in mindfulness theory and practice. Sarah has worked as a teacher, human resources manager, general manager of learning and development, business consultant and is the author of “Workplace Communication: A Teacher’s Guide” (Pitman, 1993) and “The Clinical Handbook of Mindfulness-integrated Cognitive Behavior Therapy”, Cayoun, Francis and Shires, Wiley, 2018.

Sarah has trained in a variety of mindfulness-based approaches and prefers to work with MiCBT’s integration of traditional mindfulness skills with contemporary cognitive and behaviour therapies. She regularly delivers the training in MiCBT for professionals as part of the MiCBT Institute. She has conducted research into the measurement of mindfulness and is actively engaged in research on MiCBT. Sarah uses MiCBT in her therapy with individuals as well as regularly conducting group MiCBT training programs for depression, anxiety and stress, and well-being. She also conducts mindfulness training and supervision for health professionals, post-graduate students and corporate groups. Sarah is the convenor of the Melbourne MiCBT Interest Group. Having attended many Buddhist courses, teachings and retreats for over 20 years, Sarah is skilled in integrating key aspects of eastern and western psychology.


Boyd Cowley (M.A. Psych. MAPS., Grad. Dip. In MiCBT)

Boyd Cowley (M.A. Psych. MAPS., Grad. Dip. In MiCBT)

Boyd is a registered psychologist with many years experience working at schools and in private practice. At the Melbourne Mindfulness Institute, Boyd works with all age groups and specialises in providing therapy for children, adolescents and parents, covering a wide range of issues, including depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, chronic pain, behavioural difficulties, self-harm and bullying. In addition, he is a facilitator at Melbourne Insight Meditation.

Inside the brain. Concept of neurons and nervous system. Two neurons transmitting information.

There has been a huge increase in the amount of research into Mindfulness-based therapies – with fewer than 20 papers published by 1992 and over 30 papers in the single month of October 2016 (Mindfulness Research Monthly, Vol. 7 – No.10). Researchers have studied the effectiveness of Mindfulness-based interventions, how to measure the outcomes of learning mindfulness and what happens in the brains of those who practice mindfulness meditation.

This is a very exciting period in psychological therapies.

Research has shown benefits of mindfulness interventions for a range of problems:

  • chronic pain and psoriasis, (Kabat-Zinn, 1982, 1984 1985, 1986,1998)
  • cancer (Campbell et al., 2012, Smith et al., 2004, Speca, 2000)
  • diabetes (Van Son, 2011, Sohrabi et al 2020)
  • substance abuse (Chiesa & Serretti, 2013, Alfonso et al, 2011)
  • anxiety (Roemer & Orsillo, 2002, 2009)
  • eating disorders (Kristeller & Hasllett, 1999, Kristeller, 2003, 2013)
  • relationship enhancement (Carson, 2004)
  • depression (Galante, 2012)
  • functional relationships in families (Bogels and Emerson, 2019)

Research into brain changes with Mindfulness meditation

  • Areas of the brain have been shown to be impacted by mindfulness meditation including:
  • brain regions for attention, interoception and sensory processing including the prefrontal cortex and the right anterior insula were found to be thicker in long-term meditators than in non-meditators (Lazar, 2005).
  • decreases in amygdala grey matter density were reported after an 8-week mindfulness intervention (Holzel et al., 2010).
  • changes in stress were associated with decreases in right basolateral amygdala gray matter density (Holzel et al., 2010).
  • increased gray matter changes in the left hippocampus, posterior cingulate cortex, temporoparietal junction and the cerebellum following 8-week MBSR program (Holzel et al., 2011).
  • impact on the hippocampal area in a study comparing highly experienced meditators with a control group (Luders et al. 2013).
  • impact of mindfulness ­based interventions on brain activity – review paper showing Mindfulness-based interventions associated with increased insular cortex activity impacting awareness of internal reactions ‘in-the-moment’. (Young et al, 2018).
  • EEG study with meditators indicating that meditation is associated with increased integration of brain networks and this may underpin beneficial effects including improved cognition (Lutterveld et al., 2017)