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Monday Morning Moments


The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) presents a virtual series to support the wellness of those working in the judiciary and courts. We will be showcasing real stories from bench officers, candid discussions of the challenges faced from the bench, and practical solutions to address those challenges and achieve success as a bench officer in juvenile and family court. 

This series is available to NCJFCJ members free of charge. Registration will grant access to all sessions.


All sessions are at 8:00 a.m. PDT


Monday, May 8: Wellness and Self-Care in your Courtroom: Breathing Techniques, Gentle Movement and Guided Relaxation with Sound: (All levels)


Monday, June 12: Mental Health and Children - Chief Justice John T. Broderick, Jr. (Ret.)

Monday, July 10: How Wellness Impacts Ethical Obligations - Caryn Tijsseling, Esq.

Monday, August 14: Deep Listening as an Act of Compassion -  Vivek Sankaran

Monday, September 11: Self-Compassion and Freedom from the Inner Critic - Elizabeth Pyjov

Monday, October 9: Diving into the Miraculous Role of the Nervous System - Dr. Rebecca Bailey

Monday, November 13: High Conflict Family Law Cases and the Nervous System - Dr. Rebecca Bailey

Monday, December 11: The Gift of Wellness - Judge Berryl Anderson

Season 5 Moments


Monday, May 8: Wellness and Self-Care in your Courtroom: Breathing Techniques, Gentle Movement and Guided Relaxation with Sound: (All levels)

Join Jen Donovan, Wellness Specialist, RYT, RCYT, RPYT for a session where she shares the tips, tools, and practices that she is teaching in courtrooms, conferences, retreats both in-person and on zoom. By incorporating a personal practice into your daily routine you will be able to reduce stress buildup, center your mind, and create a sense of calm. 


Jen Donovan, Wellness Specialist, RYT, RCYT, RPYT, is a registered Yoga Instructor, certified Sound Healer, certified Rawfood Nutrition teacher who leads sessions on breathwork techniques, posture, yoga/chi-gong movement, plant based whole foods education, and guided music meditations.  She has been sharing her 24 years worth of knowledge by teaching at judicial national conferences, workshops, retreats, and online platforms for several organizations and their teams.


Jen has dedicated her life’s work towards helping others to better regulate their stress levels and it's her personal mission to humbly teach and reach as many judges, attorney’s, case workers, probation officers, court clerks, psychologists, law enforcement and forensic nurses who are working with our children and families who have undergone trauma. Jen wants to be a part of the positive change in the lives of others by supporting the well-being of people that not only work in the judicial system but also the children and families who are affected by the system. During her sessions, Jen shares her knowledge of a variety of practical resources because she believes that by accessing these time tested tools, we all have the power to help create systems change.


Jen was with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) for a span of 15 years and now consults as a Wellness Specialist. She has played a key role in the NCJFCJ’s Monday Morning Moments and will be sharing at NCJFCJ’s Symposium Centering Ourselves for Leadership this spring. Jen teaches at judicial conferences, workshops, institutes, local courthouse, virtual courthouses, local wellness studios and retreat centers. Jen has worked with juveniles in custody, children who are in shelters and she works with individual clients.


Monday, June 12: Mental Health and Children

Over the last seven years Chief Justice John T. Broderick, Jr. (Ret.) has driven more than 100,000 miles on backroads and highways throughout New England speaking more than 750 times to tens of thousands of young people and adults at more than 350 middle schools, high schools, and other venues about changing the conversation and culture around mental health. In this webinar Justice Broderick will talk about his family’s journey with mental illness, his own mistakes and failings, and the need for all of us to address mental health challenges without shame, stigma, or shadows. Mental health challenges affect 1 in 5 adults and lawyers, judges, and the criminal justice system are not immune. Change is needed.


Monday, July 10: How Wellness Impacts Ethical Obligations

Where do our ethical duties align with our personal health and wellness? Is an unwell attorney a competent attorney? In this Monday Morning Moments webinar we will explore the connection between individual health and wellness and ethical lawyering. We will then explore practical steps to manage stress, improve our personal health and wellness.

This session will be led by Caryn Tijsseling, Esq., who is a civil litigator in private practice at Lemons, Grundy & Eisenberg in Reno, Nevada. As a certified Nutrition and Stress Management Coach, Caryn helps busy professionals and students adopt healthy habits to manage stress


Monday, August 14: Deep Listening as an Act of Compassion

Legal professionals, particularly judges, spend most of their time listening.  Research shows that deepening our ability to listen has a plethora of benefits including reducing the anxiety of those telling their stories, increasing their willingness to share, helping them see both sides of issues, and providing them with clarity on how to act.  It can also decrease burnout, increase collaboration, and create self-awareness.

Yet, legal education rarely treats listening as a discrete skill.  This conversation will start with a discussion of the benefits of deep listening, will give participants a chance to practice how to do it, and will culminate with a discussion on how to bring deep listening into the courtroom.

Vivek Sankaran is the director of the Child Advocacy Law Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School and is the co-founder of LawLifeProfs, which helps legal professionals apply design thinking skills to further their wellbeing and fulfillment in their lives.  Professor Sankaran has designed and led workshops on compassion, human-centred lawyering and substantive child welfare issues, and is a part of Stanford Medicine's Applied Compassion Training. More information about Professor Sankaran can be found here


Monday, September 11: Self-Compassion and Freedom from the Inner Critic

It’s easy to criticize oneself and others. What lies behind the inner critic? This presentation takes a scientific, evolutionary perspective on the inner critic to uncover how the inner critic was created, what purpose it serves, and how we can transform harsh judgments into skillful discernments. We will use psychological strategies, wisdom from ancient cultures, and guided meditation practices to break free from a harsh inner voice, finding empowering ways to think about the past, present, and future. You will get tools that you can put into practice right away, as well as a guide for cultivating freedom from the inner critic in the long term.

How do we create a positive inner environment, no matter what is happening outside of ourselves? What does it mean to be on one’s own side in all situations and cultivate what psychologists call “unconditional positive regard”? How does self-compassion impact the body and brain? Why does self-compassion increase levels of energy, ignite creativity, and help protect from burnout? How is self-compassion different from self-indulgence or self-esteem? After examining the science of self-compassion, we will end the session by looking at ways to practice self-compassion every day on-the-go.

Builds: Increased levels of happiness and optimism, more life satisfaction, reduced stress, lower levels of burn-out, lower levels of anxiety, more feelings of connectedness and collegiality, more confidence, less fear of failure, stronger leaders, more effective communication.


Monday, October 9: Diving into the Miraculous Role of the Nervous System

This presentation introduces polyvagal principles and the role of the nervous system in human behaviour. The principles introduced have an important role in deepening awareness and understanding to enhance engagement in the courtroom and elsewhere.

This session will be led by Dr. Rebecca Bailey, a leading family psychologist and equestrian who has become a world-renowned professional teacher, speaker, author, and entrepreneur. She is a pioneer in the field of animal-assisted therapy and system-based interventions.

She is the founder of Transitioning Families, a group of independently licensed mental health practitioners dedicated to Bailey’s innovative ideas for helping families through crisis and difficult change. She is best known for her work with survivors of non-familial abduction and complex trauma and is on the advisory board of the JAYC foundation. Together with two colleagues she created an innovative model utilizing horses and humans to help teach and educate judges, police officers, therapists and other professionals about compassion, kindness, and connection.


Dr. Bailey is the co-creator of the Polyvagal Equine Institute, an organization dedicated to equine-assisted psychotherapy and education with a focus on

applying Dr. Stephen Porges research on the autonomic nervous system to a variety of populations. She believes that understanding the interaction between the nervous system and our thoughts and actions is key to compassionately responding to and addressing the complexities of today's societal demands. She has appeared on numerous Network shows including Andersen Cooper and ABC’s 20/20.


A graduate of The Wright Institute in Berkley, CA, Dr. Bailey was raised in the Boston area but relocated to California 35 years ago. She now lives in Northern California with her loving husband and countless animals.


Monday, November 13: High Conflict Family Law Cases and the Nervous System

High conflict cases in the courtroom by their nature require a flexible nervous system in the judicial officers. When the impact of multiple nervous systems fueling dueling agendas is taken into consideration it can become easier to manage the complexities in the room. Ideally, participants will have attended the prior session on polyvagal principles. However, the principles of polyvagal concepts will be reintroduced and explained briefly.

Monday, December 11: The Gift of Wellness

As we approach the holiday season of giving, join Chief Judge Berryl A. Anderson and Judicial Wellness Specialist, Jen Donovan for a candid conversation about giving yourself the gift of wellness. With more than 20 years on the bench, Judge Anderson will share how she has incorporated   wellness practices into her routine, and how it has become an essential tool in her judicial toolbox. Judge Anderson will review the key results of a recent national study about stress and resiliency in the judiciary and explore a variety of proven tips for reducing stress and charting your own journey to wellness.   Jen Donovan will share her experience working with the judiciary and takes us through some simple exercises and go to and effective techniques that work such as posture, chair yoga, intention setting, breathwork, focus, balance and gratitude. Being honest with our stress levels and changing our habits can be lifesaving. Giving yourself the gift of wellness can result in a healthier, happier judge, and better decision making for families and children.

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Working alongside clients on OurFamilyWizard, family law and mental health practitioners can assist families to move beyond conflict and co-parent with confidence. OurFamilyWizard's web and mobile applications offer parents living separately an array of tools to easily track parenting time, share important family information, manage expenses, and create an accurate, clear log of co-parenting communication.