Dr Lauren Tober (the long version)
Dr Lauren Tober
BSc (Hons) DPsyc (Clinical) MAPS
Clinical Psychologist + Senior Yoga Teacher
My passion and study of both Clinical Psychology and Yoga developed side-by-side.
I discovered yoga as a university exchange student in Vancouver in 2000. I was studying psychology, sexuality and the philosophy of science at University of British Columbia (UBC), and chanced upon a community yoga class with a guy I’d met at a youth hostel. Yoga wasn’t as popular as it is now, but I knew straight away that yoga was going to change my life. If I’m honest, I didn’t really even enjoy that first class. It was physically challenging and really rather strange to my conservative middle class upbringing. But I had a sense that this was something I really needed to keep doing.
So I did. I started going to regular classes and reading all the yoga books I could get my hands on. After leaving UBC I went backpacking around Europe with a meditation book in hand. It took me several years before I stopped reading about meditation, and actually started doing it. There’s a world of difference!
After I completed my psychology internship back in Australia, I moved to London and apprenticed as an Ashtanga Yoga teacher. Nine months later I made my way overland from Germany to Iran, and then hopped across the border to study yoga in India. I immediately felt like I had come home.
After a year studying and teaching in India and other parts of Asia, I returned to Australia determined to integrate what I knew about yoga and psychology. I was accepted into a prestigious Clinical Psychology Doctorate program, however when I presented my proposal to research yoga and mental health, I was met with a stony silence. “How do you spell Yoga?” was the response from the head of the program.
Unphased, I went about researching Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), a well-researched and highly regarded treatment for recurrent depression, that integrates Cognitive Therapy, Mindfulness Meditation and (although they don’t talk about it in academic circles) Yoga.
Previously the research had only looked at individuals with a sole diagnosis of depression, but in reality depression and anxiety are often co-morbid, meaning that they often occur together. My research found that MBCT was helpful in reducing levels of both depression and anxiety in individuals with co-morbid depression and anxiety.
Since then I have been consciously and continually learning and integrating what I know about Clinical Psychology and Yoga, bringing yoga into the counselling room, and psychology into my yoga classes, and sharing this knowledge with other therapists and teachers.
The way I see it, yoga is a brilliant system for health, healing, happiness and awakening. Yoga doesn’t have to be mystical and cloaked in intrigue. It’s a highly practical science and psychological system that leads us to happiness and self understanding.
MY PSYCHOLOGY QUALIFICATIONS + EXPERIENCE
I have a Bachelor degree in Science and an Honours degree in Psychology from the Australian National University. I followed this with a two-year Psychology Internship program in Community and Mental Health, then a Doctorate program in Clinical Psychology at the Australian National University.
Yes, I spent 10 years studying to be a Clinical Psychologist!
I also started degrees in both Photography and Asian Studies, but pretty quickly realised that I only wanted to take photographs and explore Asia, not write assignments about them, so I dropped out of both and headed off around the world with my camera instead.
My Clinical Psychology training has been in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.
As a Psychologist I have worked in various government and private organisations, including Community and Mental Health (NSW Health), Occupational Rehabilitation, University Student Counselling (Charles Sturt University) and Disability Services (Therapy ACT).
I believe strongly in the right for everyone to access good quality health care, so I felt passionate about working for organisations that made this possible. But after a few years I began to feel disillusioned working for large organisations. I was asked to deliver therapies I didn’t truly believe in, there was too much emphasis on assessment and diagnosis, not enough resources and there were way too many meetings (yawn). So in 2008, after the Australian government introduced the new Medicare scheme making it affordable for everyone to access private psychological services, I left the public sector and opened a private practice. In private practice I was free to bring my love of yoga and mindfulness-based practices into my clinical work, and work in way that felt meaningful to me and brought about real and lasting change for my clients.
MY YOGA TEACHERS
I have had the privilege of studying with many great yoga teachers in India, Australia and all over the world. The teachers who have most influenced my life and my work are Richard Miller, Ganesh Mohan, Stephanie Lopez, David Swenson, Amy Weintraub, Ana Davis, Simon Borg-Olivier, Jayakumar Swamysree, Masterji Viswaanath, BNS Iyengar, Dr NC and Saraswathi Vasudevan. I am so grateful for their teachings and the love and commitment they brought in sharing this knowledge with me.
I don’t teach according to one particular method but integrate the teachings and wisdom based on the needs of the individual. The three most influential teachings in my work come from Integrative Restoration Yoga Nidra, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Svastha Yoga Therapy.
I’m committed to ongoing education and training. Here’s a summary of my training over the past couple of decades:
1998 to 2002 – Bachelor of Science at Australian National University (Canberra) and University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada)
2001 – Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Training (2 days) – Canberra
2002 – Honours (Psychology) at Australian National University – Canberra
2003 to 2005 – Psychology Internship in Community and Mental Health (NSW Health)
2004 – Triple P Positive Parenting Program Training (5 days) – University of Queensland
2005 – Ashtanga Yoga Apprenticeship at London School of Yoga (6 months) – London, England
2005 – Yoga Bugs and YogaD*Up Kids Yoga Teacher Training (6 days) – London, England
2005 – Reiki Level One Training (3 days) with Elahn Keshava in Shekinashram – Glastonbury, England
2006 – Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training (3 months) at Foundation of Patanjali Yoga Kendra with Masterji – Bangalore, India
2006 – Certificate of Classical Astanga Yoga and Applied Yogic Sciences (3 months) with Jayakumar – Mysore, India
2006 – Ashtanga Yoga Intensive (1 month) with BNS Iyengar – Mysore, India
2006 – Creative Dance Therapy (7 days) with Tripura Kashyap – Hyderabad, India
2006 – Reiki Level Two Training (3 days) with Sonia Van Dam – Auroville, India
2006 – Reiki Master/Teacher Training (1 month) with Muralidher – Mysore, India
2006 – Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training (5 days) with David Swenson – Singapore
2007 to 2011 – Doctorate of Clinical Psychology at the Australian National University – Canberra
2008 – Pre and post natal Yoga Teacher Training (3 days) with Ana Davis from Bliss Baby Yoga – Byron Bay
2008 – Practical Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga with Simon Borg-Oliver (8 days) from Yoga Synergy – Sydney
2008 – Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Training Retreat (10 days) with Melissa Blacker and Dr Melanie Fennell – Adelaide
2008 – Intro and Advanced Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Training (4 days) with Russ Harris – Canberra
2009 – Accredited Psychology Supervisor’s Training – NSW Psychologist’s Registration Board (2 days) with Daphne Hewson – Sydney
2010 – Yoga for Stress Training (1 day) with Dr NC and Saraswati Vasudevan from Yoga Therapy Australia – Byron Bay
2012 – Trauma Sensitive Yoga Teacher Training (1 day) with Annabel McLisky from Trauma Sensitive Yoga Australia – Mullumbimby
2012 – Vinyasa Krama with Dr NC from Yoga Therapy Australia (2 days) – Brisbane
2013 – iRest Yoga Nidra® Level 1 Teacher Training (5 days) with Dr Richard Miller – Gold Coast
2013 – Yoga for Depression Teacher Training (module b) with Amy Weintraub – online
2014 – iRest Yoga Nidra® Level 1 Teacher Training (5 days) with Stephanie Lopez (audit) – Gold Coast
2014 – iRest Yoga Nidra® Level 2 Teacher Training (5 days) with Dr Richard Miller and Stephanie Lopez – Gold Coast
2015 – Yoga Therapy for Depression and Addictions Teacher Training (4 days) with Ganesh Mohan from Svastha Yoga – Sydney
2015 – Yoga Therapy for Stress and Anxiety Teacher Training (4 days) with Ganesh Mohan from Svastha Yoga – Sydney
2015 – iRest Yoga Nidra® silent retreat (7 days) with Dr Richard Miller and Fuyuko Toyota – Sydney
2015 – Mind, Brain, and Body in the Healing of Trauma Training (3 days) with Dr Bessel van der Kolk – Brisbane
2015 to 2017 – iRest Yoga Nidra® Certification Training with Stephanie Lopez (2 years)
2016 – Assisting on iRest Yoga Nidra® Level 1 Teacher Training (5 days) with Stephanie Lopez and Fuyuko Toyota – Sydney
2016 – Yoga for Fertility Teacher Training (1 day) with Rosie Matheson from Bliss Baby Yoga – Byron Bay
2017 – Assisting on iRest Yoga Nidra® Level 1 Teacher Training (5 days) with Fuyuko Toyota – Auckland, New Zealand
2017 – iRest Yoga Nidra ® silent retreat (7 days) with Dr Richard Miller and Fuyuko Toyota – Sydney
2017 – Meditation for Exhaustion workshop (1 day) with Dr Lorin Roche, Camille Maurine and Alison Potts – Brisbane
2017 – Accredited AHPRA Psychology Supervisor’s Training (1 day) with Daphne Hewson – Ballina
2017 – Restorative Yoga Teacher Training with Cindi Lee from OM Yoga – online
2017 – Befriending the Body, Befriending the Self Workshop with Donna Farhi (5 days) – Gold Coast
2018 – Restorative Yoga Teacher Training level 1 and 2 (4 days) with Lizzie Lasater – Brisbane
2018 – Introduction to Yoga Therapy and Yoga Psychology (4 days) with Nikola Ellis and Sunita Baste from Adore Yoga – Sydney
2018 – Psoas Workshop (2 days) with Liz Koch – Byron Bay
2018 – Savasana Intensive (21 days) with Judith Hanson Lasater and Lizzie Lasater – online
2018 – Sacred Birth Doula Training (4 days) with Anna Watts from Celebration of Birth – Byron Bay
2018 – Compassionate Supervision – Enhancing Supervision with Compassion-Focused Therapy (1 day) with Tobyn Bell – Lismore
2018 – Sutras and Sadhana: The Psychology of Yoga (3 days) with Saraswati Vasudevan from Yoga Therapy Australia – Byron Bay
2019 – Subtle Breath Subtle Mind (3 days) with Saraswati Vasudevan from Yoga Therapy Australia – Byron Bay
2019 – When Words are Not Enough: How to Engage the Body to Disrupt Entrenched Patterns (2 days) with Dr Pat Ogden – Brisbane
2019 – Pranava, Prana, Pranayama: A Practicum (1 day) with Dr Robert Svoboda – Byron Bay
2020 – Introduction to Compassion Focused Therapy (3 days) with Dr Paul GIlbert – Brisbane