Dr. Menard is a licensed clinical psychologist. He offers counseling/psychotherapy with a specialization in mindfulness training for adults. All appointments are currently online via a Telehealth portal.
Dr. Menard is in-network with and accepts the following insurance: BC/BS, CPHP plans such as Health Alliance (University of Illinois employees and Carle Clinic employees), Web-TPA (Christie Clinic employees) and Humana. For other insurers, claims can be electronically submitted or a Super Bill can be generated after payment is made.
If you would like to be on the wait-list to attend an 8 - 10 week Mindfulness Training class, contact Dr. Menard to be added.
Dr. Menard has provided Mindfulness Training (e.g., Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, Insight Meditation, & Finding Peace in a Frantic World) to the Champaign-Urbana community including U of I faculty, staff, and students since 2011. He has also led Mindfulness Training for numerous groups including, Champaign-Urbana K – 12 school teachers, University High Laboratory High School students, Champaign County Jail inmates, Danville prison inmates, and Rosecrance addiction recovery clients. He also trained and supervised mindfulness practicum instructors through the two-semester University of Illinois graduate Psychology-546 course. Additionally, Dr. Menard taught the undergraduate two-semester Psychology-340/341 Service Learning Mindfulness class and has been among the University of Illinois Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students.
From 2006 to 2016, he also provided neuropsychological assessment services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Psychology Department’s Psychological Services Center and provided neuropsychological assessment training and supervision to Clinical-Community PhD students with a specialization in ADHD and High Functioning Autism/Aspergers.
Dr. Menard has co-authored two research articles on mindfulness. One study in which Dr. Menard was a collaborator demonstrated the benefits (reduced distress) of mindfulness for individuals experiencing tinnitus; the second study demonstrated the benefits (reduced stress, reduced craving, reduced substance use) of mindfulness for individuals recovering from addiction.
Dr. Menard received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He was a board member of the local Mindfulness Teacher Foundation (MTF) from 2013 – 2017, developed the training curriculum for the Mindful Teacher Mindful Kids program to facilitate the dissemination of mindfulness in schools, and has provided ongoing supervision to MTF and other community mindfulness instructors. Dr. Menard has received a University of Illinois Campus Award for Excellence in Public Engagement.
Dr. Menard has trained in numerous mindfulness based approaches since 2011:
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP)
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Contemporary mindfulness training originated in 1979 with Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program and was further developed in the 1990s by psychologists (Zindel Segal, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale) with Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). MBSR and MBCT have both undergone extensive research demonstrating increases in well-being, reductions in rumination, reductions in stress, reductions in anxiety and depression and improvements with medical conditions. MBCT is recommended in England by the national health services as a front line treatment for preventing depression. Multiple randomized controlled trials have shown that MBCT is as effective as antidepressant medication in preventing relapses of major depression.
Mindfulness Training (MT): What You Need to Know
MT consist of weekly instruction, discussion, readings, and daily practice with audios to build mindfulness muscles. Individuals learn to cultivate calm and they learn how to work with resistance and common obstacles to practice.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PRACTICING
Regardless of each person’s motivations for learning mindfulness, one can only expect to see results if they put the time and effort into practice. Practice can sometimes seem boring. Sometimes we become frustrated with the busyness of our minds. Sometimes we feel too tired. Sometimes we think that we don’t know how to practice mindfulness. Facing these and other obstacles is essential when embarking on a journey to cultivate mindfulness.
I appreciate how it is often very difficult to carve out time for something new in lives that are already very busy and crowded. However, the commitment to spend time on home practice is an essential part of MT; if you do not feel able to make that commitment, it would be best not to start the training and wait until you are able to set aside time for practice.
The classes and the home practice assignments can teach you how to be more fully aware and present in each moment of life. On one hand, this makes life more interesting, vivid and fulfilling. On the other hand, this means facing what is present, even when it is unpleasant and difficult. In practice, you will find that turning to face and acknowledge difficulties is the most effective way, in the long run, to reduce unhappiness, to increase one’s capacity to work skillfully with stressful situations and to prevent depression. Seeing unpleasant feelings, thoughts, or experiences clearly, as they arise, means that you will be in much better shape to “nip them in the bud,” before they progress to more intense or persistent low moods.
PATIENCE AND PERSISTENCE
Because we will be working to change well-established habits of mind, you will be putting in a lot of time and effort. The effects of this effort may become apparent only later. In many ways, it is much like gardening – we have to prepare the ground, plant the seeds, ensure that they are adequately watered and nourished, and then wait patiently for results. Building a mindfulness practice can also be equated with an exercise regimen, in that only after regular daily work-outs are the health benefits realized.
We ask you to approach the classes and home practice with a spirit of patience and persistence, committing yourself to put time and effort into the practice, while accepting, with patience, that the fruits of your efforts may not show straight away.
Over the weeks of the MT program, the practices help you:
To become more present in your physical body as opposed to being lost in thought, stuck in rumination about some past event, daydreaming/fantasizing about some imagined future, or actively avoiding aspects of life.
To become familiar with the workings of your mind.
To notice the times when you are at risk of getting caught in old habits of mind that re-activate downward mood spirals.
To explore ways of releasing yourself from those old habits and, if you choose, enter a different way of being.
To put you in touch with a different way of knowing yourself and the world.
To notice small beauties and pleasures in the world around you instead of living in your head.
To be kind to yourself instead of wishing things (and you) were different all the time.
To be kind to yourself as opposed to being lost in striving and driving yourself to meet impossible goals.
To accept yourself as you are, rather than judging yourself.
While Mindfulness Training is not counseling or psychotherapy, old or latent psychological wounds, emotions, beliefs, and mental health issues can sometimes arise while practicing mindfulness. If help is needed with these issues, contact Dr. Christopher Menard or another mental health professional for support.
Mindfulness Training is not a substitute for medication or other treatments for physical/mental health concerns. While MT is not intended as a treatment for current clinical depression, anxiety, and other acute health concerns, research has shown that mindfulness training can prevent recurrent depression, builds resilience, and helps individuals cope with the psychological challenges of work, relationships, stress, and illness.
Mindfulness Training develops skills in metacognitive awareness (i.e., the capacity to see a bigger picture and to reduce identification with thoughts and emotions), self-compassion, learning to step out of the doing mode of mind and into the being mode of mind, as well as learning to develop a type of attention that is infused with an attitude of curiosity and kindness.
The practice of mindfulness meditation trains you to pay attention to the present moment, noting thoughts, feelings and body sensations with an attitude of interest and kindness. This non-reactive stance toward experience creates the possibility of being in life as it is and allows for working more wisely with the challenging aspects of human experience (e.g., emotional difficulties, relational difficulties, impulses, aversion, confusion, rumination, worry…). Learning to calm the mind and work with these challenges is central to acting with wisdom and compassion in the world.
Mindfulness Training: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy - Focus on preventing depression (8-weeks)
This 2-hour weekly class is intended for individuals who wish to learn how to bring mindfulness skills to the process of preventing future episodes of depression. Participants should purchase The Mindful Way Workbook and read the forward and chapters 1 – 4 to prepare for class #1
Requirement: Initial individual online appointment with Dr. Menard & willingness to try to practice daily with mindfulness audios during this 8-week class
Class location: online via Zoom
2-hr class for 8-weeks
Fee: $600.00 (Health Insurance can be used for this service)
To register or ask questions, email: DrMenard@DrMenard.org
Mindfulness Training: Why Can’t I Meditate (10-weeks). Prerequisite: Completion of previous mindfulness training course. Participants should purchase Why Can’t I Meditate by Nigel Wellings and read the introduction and chapter 1 to prepare for class #1.
1-hr weekly for 10-weeks on Zoom
To register or ask questions, email: DrMenard@DrMenard.org
No refunds will be given after the first class, but if unable to complete a class, you may enroll again within one year at a reduced fee.
Christopher Menard, PsyD