Body, Mind & Spirit is a series introducing Kansas City wellness professionals whose service offerings address the whole person.
May I humbly introduce myself? I am Tracy Ochester, PsyD, RYT, clinical psychologist, mindfulness coach and registered yoga teacher. I have an independent psychology practice, Ochester Psychological Services, LLC in Leawood, KS and a mindfulness coaching practice, Clear Mind Open Heart, LLC in the Beacon Hill neighborhood in downtown Kansas City.
Please tell us a little about yourself, what you do and your journey into this type of work:
I have always been interested in the humanities and fascinated by people’s stories, wondering what makes us do what we do. I studied theology, psychology and philosophy in college, not thinking this could be a career path for me. Once I finally worked up the courage to go to graduate school, I knew I was moving in the right direction.
My interest in theology and experience with psychological interventions that include elements of mindfulness led me to develop a personal yoga and mindfulness practice. Seeing the positive impact of the practices on my own life, I decided to seek out formal training to deepen my understanding and so I could share them with others.
How does the body-mind-spirit connection inform your work?
Psychologists have long understood that the mind and body are interconnected and research shows us that faith and spirituality are correlated with wellness. My original training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy is based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and behavior impact each other in important ways and teaching clients how to intervene in any of these areas can reduce distress and dysfunction. I eventually sought out further training in mindfulness based interventions which teach clients to relate with internal sensations in a new way so they can respond with wisdom rather than reactivity.
What makes your services unique?
I am a licensed psychologist, qualified mindfulness based cognitive therapy teacher (mindfulness coach), and registered yoga teacher. I don’t think there are many of us here in Kansas City (at least at the time of this writing) with this particular triad of specialties, but I hope I will see more in years to come.
My training and especially my experience in psychology (my clients have been my best teachers) give me unique insight into human behavior while my mindfulness and yoga training help me offer simple, practical and concrete tools for cultivating wellness.
What can people expect to experience when they first come to see you?
In my one-on-one work, our first meeting is generally an interview to get to know you and what your goals or intentions are. This is also an opportunity for you to get to know me and decide whether I am a good match for you.
I also try to offer some guidance or practical suggestions for what you can do on your own between meetings to work toward your goals. This isn’t always possible in the first meeting in my psychology practice as I must conduct a full psychiatric diagnostic interview and that takes quite a bit of time.
What does your personal wellness routine look like?
I rise early each weekday to practice Mysore style Ashtanga yoga and I practice sitting meditation afterwards. On the weekends I like to take led yoga classes, sometimes mixing it up with other styles of yoga. I am a vegetarian and I try to eat organic foods at home as much as possible. I am a lifelong learner reading books, blogging, and enrolling in various classes, workshops, trainings or retreats throughout the year. I also volunteer, spend time with family, and actively cultivate new relationships.