Deep Listening Therapy ~ Danya Daccash, MSW

Telephone Counselling for Women

Mindfulness, Self-Compassion and Sexual Violence Trauma

As a therapist I’ve always had an eclectic approach, open to wisdom from many sources. I’m holistic in nature, understanding the deep significance of the mind-body connection. I believe the best counselling offers empowering practices to help clients get grounded and centered, practice deeply listening to their inner wisdom with mindful presence and compassion. These skills can be used throughout their lives to help them live with peace and take good care of their whole selves – mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and social.

Many of you know that one out of three women around the world experience violence against women, which often impacts their sense of self worth. Mindfulness and self-compassion are powerful practices for healing the trauma of gender-based violence, and are at the heart of my Sexual Violence Healing Program, a comprehensive healing program addressing the destructive impacts of interpersonal violence.

Last year, I was interviewed by Kendra Kantor for her Self Worth e-book. She was exploring the connection between kindness, beauty and our experience of self worth, stemming from an understanding that at the core of wellness is the practice of self care and positive self worth.

Kendra: What does “self worth” mean to you?

Danya: I honour my inherent value as a life form, one of many in this wondrous universe. I am intrinsically deserving of care and concern, like everyone else. I value such qualities as kindness, compassion, connection and cooperation. This is revolutionary as our society focuses self-esteem on comparing oneself to others, and often sets standards that are unattainable and promote feelings of inadequacy. This competitive focus sets us up for feeling disconnection and leads to harsh self-criticism. Instead, mindful self-compassion allows me to look deeply at the authentic me, seeing with clarity my actual skills, abilities and strengths.

Kendra: How do you embrace yourself with love and kindness?

Danya: I pay close attention to my emotional and mental states moment to moment. I practice self-compassion, with an attitude of non-judgemental acceptance, and an approach of loving kindness especially when faced with challenges and suffering.

I often put my hand on my heart and say to myself “This is really hard,” I wrap my arms around myself and say “Darling I’m here for you”, “I’m listening, what do I truly need right now?”. Then I listen deeply for my truth.

Taking care of my suffering with self-compassion provides emotional safety. In building a caring connection within, I am taking good care of my emotional self first. I know I can always use my intellect later to find solutions.

Being self-compassionate also gives me an increased capacity to be present with compassion for others. Since I regularly take care of my own suffering as it comes up, I have enough emotional stability to be truly there for the suffering of others.

(Research shows that self-compassion is learnable, and is at the heart of empowerment, inner strength, resiliency and well-being.)

Kendra: What makes you beautiful?

Danya: What makes me beautiful is a deep connection to my spirit, my deepest self, which shines through me.

Mindfulness practice helps me live in the present moment, deeply connected to myself, my spirit and the world around me. In paying attention to the “suchness of now”, the uniqueness of this moment, I am in relationship with the beautiful dance of life. In touching the beauty all around me with presence and awareness, I connect with the amazing & magical sensations of the natural world. Seeing the rainbow after the rain, feeling the bird’s wing grazing my cheek as she flies by me, hearing the wind rustling the leaves all birth a sense of Awe in me. I am grateful for my incredible body that allows me to sense this magnificent world.

Mindful Self-Compassion – A Healthier Way of Relating to Yourself

“Self-compassion gives emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to recover more quickly, and respond to ourselves and others with care and respect.” ~ Kristin Neff, self-compassion researcher

3 Elements of Self-Compassion:

1) Self-kindness: being kind and understanding toward oneself in instances of pain or failure, rather than being harshly self-critical;
2) Common humanity: perceiving one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience, rather than seeing them as isolating; and
3) Mindfulness: holding painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness, rather than over-identifying with or avoiding them.

The Scientific Benefits of Self-Compassion -Emma Seppala cropThe Scientific Benefits of Self-Compassion -Emma Seppala clipFrom Emma Seppala’s The Scientific Benefits of Self-Compassion Infographic

Mindful Path of Healing the Trauma of Sexual Violence:

Mindfulness and Compassion are at the heart of my upcoming Sexual Violence Healing Program, which is designed as a comprehensive healing program to address the destructive impacts of violence against women. Offering a safety net of support, we build a supportive community of women whose common goal is to create a healthier, happier, and more peaceful future.

This unique international Program includes 10 weeks of individual telephone counselling coupled with a weekly online support group. It weaves together ancient wisdom, modern scientific discoveries, and a grassroots feminist approach to support women to heal and transform the trauma of sexual violence.

Program Participants receive the online support group free of charge, paying only the cost of individual tele-counselling. Additionally, as an expression of compassionate community building and generosity, a “community spot” in the Program is donated to a survivor from a local Rape Crisis Center.

Find out more about the Sexual Violence Healing ProgramRegistration is limited. Health insurance receipts are available.

VIDEO: “Mindfulness for Healing Sexual Violence Trauma”.  We explore basic neuroscience of mindfulness and trauma, what is mindfulness, practice a mindfulness meditation, and I’ll even give a Belly Dance lesson illustrating embodied practice through mindful movement.

This event is in support of Shine the Light on Violence Against Women campaign and the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign.

Danya Daccash, MSW, RSW
Therapist ~ Registered Social Worker

10-week Sexual Violence Healing Program link: 

Why I Organize the Virtual One Billion Rising Event

Originally posted on January 24, 2015.


My name is Danya Daccash, and I have been a sexual violence counsellor for 25 years. I have worked in Canadian grassroots community organizations counselling targets of gender based violence, helping women heal from the devastating impact of abuse. I have offered countless workshops and trainings on violence against women, healthy relationships, bystander intervention, and how to support survivors from a feminist perspective.

In 2013 when One Billion Rising began, I was not able to attend my local gathering due to disability. I wanted very much to participate in this global event, so I decided to celebrate on my own. In keeping with the feminist notion of “the personal is political”, I knew that there were many others around the world that, for a variety of reasons, also would not be able to attend a local gathering.

So, in keeping with my community activism, I came up with this creative solution – to host an annual Virtual Event through my Facebook page called ”Online Event: ONE BILLION RISING – Virtual RISE UP & DANCE FOR PEACE”. We know that violence against women is a global human issue, present in every culture of the world. This virtual option is available to everyone on the planet, regardless of where they reside. Now, through the online community, we can all be part of the *Web* of Energy for the Global Dance for Peace for Women! We can RISE UP & DANCE in “virtual” solidarity with all the events across the planet. Let us join in and be counted as One Billion Rise in this worldwide REVOLUTION!

So far, about 1000 people around the world have participated in this online event. If you would like to participate in this year’s 3rd annual Virtual Event on February 14, 2015, sign up here: Online Event: ONE BILLION RISING REVOLUTION – Virtual RISE UP & DANCE FOR PEACE.

Together we are creating a global community that teaches our boys & men to respect women & girls and to speak out against “rape culture”, a culture that condones gender based violence, blames victims and defends abusers. We are creating a society that values compassion and prioritizes support for targets of sexual violence. This year we are rising for Revolution.

#1BillionRising #Rise4Revolution

I invite each of us to think about 1 thing we can do this coming year toward ending gender violence, and helping bring peace and safety for women and girls. (eg. speak out against sexism or sexual violence, support a survivor, volunteer at a crisis center, post about this issue on your Facebook page, talk to friends and family about these issues, be a role model for your kids, write a letter asking for harsher sentences for rapists, heal your own trauma, etc. )

In Solidarity,

Danya Daccash, MSW, RSW

Direct Link to Virtual Event:

Note: This was originally published on the One Billion Rising Website.


Originally published January 24, 2015


The following event is a creative solution to my inability to attend my local ONE BILLION RISING event. Now the online community can take part in this worldwide event and dance to celebrate our Love and our desire for Peace for women!

~Danya Daccash

Be part of the *Web* of Energy for the Global Dance for Peace:

Link for 2015 Event: Online Event: ONE BILLION RISING REVOLUTION – Virtual RISE UP & DANCE FOR PEACE




ONE BILLION RISING is a powerful global campaign to raise awareness and stop violence against women, and to help heal women and men around the world. The campaign highlights the fact that violence against women is a global human issue, present in every culture of the world.

Every February 14, we rise – in hundreds of countries across the world – to show the world what one billion looks like and shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors most often face. We rise through dance to express joy and community and celebrate the fact that we have not been defeated by this violence.

We rise to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable. Together we are creating a global culture that teaches our boys & men to respect women & girls, and to speak out against “rape culture” that condones gender based violence, blames victims and defends abusers. We are creating a culture that values compassion and prioritizes support for targets of sexual violence. This year we are rising for REVOLUTION.

There are events all around the world, however if your city is not holding a gathering, or if you are unable to attend, JOIN IN, as an online community, to RISE UP & DANCE in “virtual” solidarity with all the events across the planet.

Join ONE BILLION RISING with the Virtual RISE UP & DANCE Event:

You can take part at work or school, in your home or outside on a walk… wherever you are! You can gather with a group of friends or colleagues, participate with your family and children, take part with your Valentine date, or simply celebrate by yourself.

When: February 14 at 5:30 pm (or whatever time is convenient for you!)

Where: Wherever you are!

Who: Women and the men who love them ♥ 

What: Participation is simple…

1. Take a minute to get centered in feeling Compassion for survivors, and your desire for women and girls to live free from gender-based violence. Breathe deeply and get in touch with your Love and desire for women to have Peace. Breathe in LOVE, Breathe out PEACE.

2. Listen to the catchy ONE BILLION RISING Anthem “Break the Chain” and RISE UP & DANCE to celebrate the liberation of women towards peace:

~ Break the Chain Anthem video

Break the Chain Anthem audio

~ If you’re having so much fun that you want to keep on dancing, visit my playlist for some other ONE BILLION RISING International Music Videos

~ Playlist for my ONE BILLION RISING Featured Videos


“Dance is dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive, contagious, it breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere, anytime, with anyone and everyone, and it’s free. Dancing insists we take up space, we go there together in community…”Break The Chain” is the anthem that will call up one billion to rise.” – Eve Ensler, Founder of V-Day

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” – Emma Goldman

This is at the same time a Peace protest and a giant global Celebration. February 14 is traditionally a day to celebrate love. Join the ONE BILLION RISING in celebrating our love and respect for women, an affirmation of the feminine and of our desire for women and girls to be safe in the world. What does ONE BILLION look like? On February 14, it will look like a REVOLUTION.

Join the rEVOLution: Let’s dance to end the violence. Let’s shake the earth into awareness!


#1BillionRising #Rise4Revolution


One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action in human history. The campaign began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS.

On 14 February 2013, people across the world came together to express their outrage, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women. Last year, on 14 February 2014, One Billion Rising for Justice focused on the issue of justice for all survivors of gender violence, and highlighted the impunity that lives at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy. Events took place in 200 countries, where women, men, and youth came together to Rise, Release, and Dance outside of court houses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, homes, or simply public gathering places where women deserve to feel safe but too often do not. The campaign was covered widely by media in all corners of world including The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, and many more.