ABOUT BRENT CHERRY
Brent Cherry and the Hello Happiness Story:
Hello Happiness was foundered in May 2016, by Brent Cherry a Counsellor, Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation Teacher, Trainer and Group Work Facilitator, with 25 years experience. In 2010 Brent took a sabbatical from his practice, after Karen, his wife of 28 years, died of Breast Cancer (2007). He grieved, reminisced, got drunk, floundered around, felt sorry for himself, parented his daughter, completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Studies, volunteered with community organisations, toured round the South Island on his motorcycle, read, meditated, kayaked with Humpback Whales, rode his bike, moved to the beach, walked on the beach, body surfed, worked as a sustainable and active transport advocate at the local Council and most importantly married Sara in 2015. Over time Brent began contemplating returning to his passion, but wanted to engage with people in a completely different way. It would need to be informed by his life experience after Karen's death, but also his research into environmental psychology, system change, sustainability and resilience. This would then be overlaid by his 25 years experience working in the training and therapy field. Brent realised that humans seem to be a procrastinating species, who often avoided, denied or suppressed what was going on in their lives, in their communities, in their workplaces and in the environment. If we were to make the changes required we needed to develop a way of engaging people that wasn't based on shaming, lecturing or making them feel guilty, but in inspiring them to live a more balanced, connected and happier life.
The Hello Happiness approach challenges the dominant story about individualised happiness, based on success, desirability and status and instead focuses on connection, team building, vulnerability, courage and community. It encourages people to let go of the struggle, to no longer hold on so tightly to their status and image, but to learn to slow down, to live life rather than race through it, to face their problems with emotional agility and to reconnect with their loved ones, friends and communities in a meaningful way.
Longitudinal research into happiness, finds that it is less to do with achieving goals, thinking positively, or gaining status, but more to do with the quality of our relationships, with our partners and family, and the connections we have with our friends, within our work environment and with our communities.
About Brent Cherry
After completing a Bachelor of Science Degree, Brent Cherry became a Probation Officer in 1984. He trained as a Social Worker at the Department of Social Welfare, Tiromoana Residential Social Work Training Centre in Porirua. He also completed the Department of Corrections, Mediation and Conflict Resolution training programme, designed for Probation Officers to facilitate restorative justice and reparation meetings between victims and offenders of crime.
He was a founder member of the national (office) and Wellington and Lower Hutt Men For Non Violence. Working as the Lower Hutt coordinator for 2 years and co-facilitating their Stopping Violence programme for adult men and male teenagers for five years. He also designed and facilitated the Stopping Violence programme at Rimutaka Prison for five and a half years.
In 1990 Brent with Clive Bayliss formed Consensus Consultants Limited working with various community organisations, NGOs and Government Departments. Their programme focused on assertiveness training, conflict resolution, managing difficult and violent clients, mens issues, coping with stress and consensus decision making. Both Clive and Brent also worked as counsellors in private practice.
In 1993 Brent formed the company Brent Cherry Counselling and Mediation Limited and continued working in private practice, specialising in trauma recovery (ACC sexual abuse and physical trauma), stopping violence and relationship counselling (Family Court) plus his diverse range of private clients. As a Trainer/Facilitator Brent ran training courses/workshops with the following; Counsellors Association of New Zealand, Hutt Valley Family Violence Network, Relationship Services, Central Institute of Technology, Wellington Family Therapy Interest Group, Community Forums, Family Courts Association, Hutt Valley Family Court meetings, Department of Social Welfare Epuni and Kohitere Youth Centres, Department of Corrections and facilitated national and regional training For Men for Non Violence.
In 2007 Brent's (first) wife Karen died of Breast Cancer, after a long illness, giving him a very personal insight into grief, which now informs his work. In 2010 Brent took a sabbatical from counselling. He completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Studies, exploring climate change and environmental psychology. He became the School Travel Planner, then Travel Planner at Kapiti Coast District Council, surveying students, parents and staff in all Kapiti Primary Schools, (quantitative and qualitative) to gain baseline data about travel patterns, safety concerns, and solutions. Brent then mediated these community solutions into a works programme and then assisted in developing community behaviour change strategies.
Brent has a long history of volunteering and community engagement including; Transition Towns, Dream Catcher Cooperative, 350 Wellington, Peoples Climate March, Waikanae Beach Residents Association Inc, and Waikanae Estuary Care Group.
Brent attended the Gawler Cancer Foundation programme in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Australia, in 2004 (with Karen), where he was introduced to Mindfulness Meditation. He has also been involved with a Buddhist Meditation group whilst he lived in Lower Hutt. Meditation allowed Brent to face Karen's death in a way, where he could appreciate and have gratitude for their life together, but could also face the pain of her loss. In March 2016 he attended Meditation Teacher Training at The Gawler Cancer Foundation and became an approved provider of their 8 week Mindfulness Based Stillness Based Meditation Class.
Brent is a full member and is registered with the New Zealand Association of Counsellors and works to their ethics guidelines, their personal development and training requirements and complaints procedure.