Susan Gillis Chapman

Susan Gillis Chapman, MA, LFMT, author of The Five Keys to Mindful Communication, is a marriage and family therapist who has been studying and teaching mindfulness meditation for more than 30 years. She is founder of Greenlight Communications, which offers training in mindful communication to couples, therapists, and business people.

Chapman combines her expertise in Western relationship psychology together with the wisdom of meditation practice. After receiving her master’s degree in Buddhist and Western Psychology, she spent 10 years working with domestic violence as program director for a battered women’s shelter in Colorado and then as clinical director for a counseling center in Alaska.

“Going into the shadows of our society, I realized that our unrealistic expectations about love trigger the opposite reaction and we end up creating more suffering for ourselves and each other,” she says. “I saw this pattern in my own life but meditation also showed me the alternative: how friendship towards ourselves can open us to others in a new way.”

Chapman began her mindfulness meditation practice in the early 1960s in Vancouver and became a student of Tibetan master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974. She was later appointed shastri, or senior student, by his dharma heir, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. She and her husband completed a traditional Buddhist three-year retreat in 2002 and worked at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia under the mentorship of Pema Chödrön until 2008.

Susan Gillis Chapman now teaches weekend programs in contemplative psychology and mindful communication and is on the faculty of Karuna Institute, in Cologne Germany.