INTRODUCING FIONA FALLO
PSYCHOLOGIST & REGISTERED MEDITATION TEACHER
Welcome to the Adelaide Meditation Studio. My name is Fiona Fallo, and I was born and raised on Kaurna Yerta, with a large extended family. I am now mother to four great kids, wife to a loving Sicilian and involved in the mainstream culture of Adelaide which includes working, running kids to sports and music events, taking beach time and exploring the Peramangk ranges whenever time permits.
History with meditation
My meditation journey began 27 years ago with an interest in Buddhism. At University I took subjects about Buddhist contributions to Western Psychotherapy and developed an interest in Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings. With the completion of University studies in 2000 I focused on practicing “Engaged Buddhism” and benefited from the resulting presence of mind. In 2004 I committed to
attending weekly meditation classes at The Centre for Advanced Buddhist Studies (Adelaide) and studied under yoga teacher Ms Plejewska-Suszko who is mentored by Yoga Master Shanti Gowans. During this time, Australian Indigenous philosophies were increasingly important to developing my understanding of meditative practices.
I was introduced to Vedanta (a school of philosophy from 8th century India) in 2005 and studied
translations of Ramana Maharshi’s works. From then I took yoga twice a week and in 2010 began
meditating daily using general methods of stabilising and Insight. In 2012 I settled in to studying
Advaita Vedanta and experienced meditation methods based on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s teachings.
I committed to twice daily meditation which I have continued uninterrupted for the past 7 years. I learned from Mr Hoole, a meditation teacher in South Africa who was instrumental in refining the way I communicate about knowledge from the Vedas.
My priority throughout the journey of meditation has been to discern and develop meditative practices that actually benefit daily life. My journey has been shaped by connection to country here, by the love of our First Nation cultures and by people such as Ngarrindjeri Elder Ellen Trevorrow and Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann.
I have been continually engaged in meditation and yoga practices for the past 15 years with twice a day meditation sittings, continuing uninterrupted for the past seven years.
I gained membership of Meditation Australia in 2015 and have been registered as a Meditation Teacher since then. I have a high level of understanding of the indications and contraindications of practicing meditation, which includes detailed knowledge of the cognitive and emotional processes involved in the various meditation methods I teach. In addition to western psychological concepts and theories, I have a
sound understanding of the Vedic philosophies of consciousness and of the specific mechanics proposed to aid meditative practices.
I maintain current knowledge of evidence-based meditations and rely on this knowledge to help choose the most likely beneficial practice for each individual. When indicated I use assessment and screening tools (to recognise post trauma symptoms, personality vulnerabilities and risk) to guide meditation training and I also invite participants to complete psychometric measures (pre and post
training) to accurately monitor meditation effects.
Academic and work history
I have been working as a Psychologist both in private practice (for 16 years) and as a consultant with Indigenous peoples of the greater metropolitan area of Adelaide (for 10 years), providing assessment and treatment of wide range of mental health difficulties including post traumatic stress, addiction, depression and anxiety.
My academic journey began when I was accepted to the competitive Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) programme at Flinders University in 1995. I conducted research into my three main areas of interest;
(1) Indigenous mental health, (2) Social justice and (3) Buddhist contributions to Western Psychotherapy.
I was awarded first class Honours and as the highest ranked female applicant (based on academic performance) in South Australia I received the only Scholarship on offer to study Clinical Masters in Psychology at the University of Adelaide. I completed the Clinical Masters degree in 2001, which included a thesis investigating “The Impact of Trauma on Maternal Care-giving”.
My training journey is continuing now as I am a clinical psychology registrar undertaking advanced supervised practice, hoping to be endorsed by the Clinical College of the Australian Psychology Society as a Clinical Psychologist in February 2020.
My approach to meditation
The meditation methods I teach are practical and designed to benefit daily life, without arduous practice. You cannot train yourself to be free. What sets us free is the experience of freedom. Instead of fighting with the mind that is always thinking, learning meditation methods that make use of the mind’s natural tendencies can help us experience that freedom. When we make use of the mind’s natural tendencies, meditation is a relief. Meditation is a freedom.
Anyone who wants to learn, can learn
“The pre-frontal cortex is what makes us human. It’s responsible for our judgement and planning. When we’re under stress, that gets shut down so we become more impulsive. When we meditate, the stress reduces and the whole brain starts to once again function the way it was meant to so that we are able to be more insightful”. Dr Tim Carr on Catalyst (2010)
Rest is the basis of activity. Mental rest in meditation promotes efficient, wise action in daily life. What you are seeking for is already there. Rest within yourself. There is nothing else to do.
“I have arrived. I am home. There is nothing to do”. Thich Nhat Hanh