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ACT 2021 Featured Capstone:

5 Steps to Joyful Parenting and

Applying Compassion in Clinical Trials

Karolina Kolasa

Associate Director at AstraZeneca, 

Compassionate Parenting & HSP Coach — Poland



Who did your Capstone Project serve ?
My Capstone Project served parents and children, but also me — as a mother and parenting coach — and my family. Simultaneously, I designed another project with the intention to serve AstraZeneca employees, sites and patients. 

What was the suffering that your project addressed?
Parents often struggle to be “enough." When challenging moments arise and they overreact, parents can feel helpless, isolated, ashamed and frustrated but unable to ask others for help. I wanted to help them practice more self-compassionate towards themselves.

How did this project address that suffering?
My method assumes that parents may experience joy and satisfaction not only in happy moments but also in moments of suffering, once they are able to offer compassion to themselves and their children. This requires the ability to notice suffering, understand it, have the desire to alleviate that suffering and act! 

Who was your audience and how many people participated? 
My audience was mainly parents, but also grandparents, teachers, child counselors, psychologists, therapists and coaches in Poland – anybody who supports children and parents. There were 95 participants in total. My other project with AstraZeneca included 18 employees — mainly directors and senior executives who helped me develop the business case for applying compassionate systems in our organization. 

How was the project delivered (the format)? 
For five weeks, I offered live Zoom group coaching main sessions with theory slides, exercises, group sharing, neuroscience exercises and Q&A.  After the course finished, I facilitated multiple 1:1 coaching sessions, supporting the resilience of highly sensitive individuals from my course group. The format of my AstraZeneca project consisted of presentations on the science of compassionate systems in an organization.

What was the reported impact on or feedback from participants? On yourself? 
One participant shared: “Previously I noticed that my child had difficult emotions, but I didn’t try to understand the reason behind his behavior. Thanks to the course, I dropped false beliefs and my attitude to daily conflict situations is totally different.” Positive feedback and gratitude from other mums inspired me to act further: I am now writing a book with neuroscience exercises for the wider public!

How has the ACT Program helped you become an Ambassador of Compassion? 
Designing my Capstone Project made me become a more self-compassionate mother. When challenging moments come, I am able to access compassion and respond mindfully to my highly sensitive child. Each time I facilitated the sessions with parents, I felt more confident and empowered to act as an Ambassador of Compassion in my professional, science-driven industry.

What advice would you give to someone who's considering participating in the ACT Program? 
Trust your intuition. It does not matter from which background you come or what you do professionally. If your heart or mind is saying “Oh yes, I feel this is for me!” then go for it! Thanks to ACT, you will share your dreams with the rest of the world and I believe they will come true sooner than you expect!



Be the change!

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