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Emma JM. Ates2021.JPG

Emma JM. Ates 


Emma JM. Ates is the founder of the Center for Contemplative Creative Science (CCCS). Emma is a registered psychotherapist (CRPO), a registered Canadian art therapist (CATA), a contemplative creative psychotherapist (CCCS) with over 20 years of meditation practice, and 10 years as a contemplative creative instructor. She has been in practice for five years, first as a mental health therapist and provided brief therapy for youth, adults, and couples at the Centre Francophone du Grand Toronto. Since January 2021, she is in private practice (part-time) and offer services in both English and French at the Mindful Maelstrom Clinic in downtown Toronto.

Emma received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Aix-en-Provence University in France, and she holds a Master Level Diploma’s in Art Therapy (DTATI) from the Toronto Art Therapy Institute (TATI). She completed training and certifications in contemplative psychotherapy, and compassion-based resilience training (CBRT) with the Nalanda Institute; applied mindfulness meditation at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies; and trained in Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT).


Contemplative Creative Science (CCS) is a Buddhist-based holistic contemporary application of Contemplative Science and Dharma art into mental health and psychotherapy. It is informed by the many forms of contemplative science and arts in traditional and Buddhist modernism (McMahan), and the latest research on Buddhist psychology, neuroscience, mindfulness- and compassion-based interventions. Clinical research on CCS started in 2017 with my thesis on contemplative phototherapy (CPT) for youth with anxiety disorders. CCS has been informed from the start (2017) on the philosophy of mind, contemplative psychologies, contemplative arts, and meditation practices found in classical Mahayana Tibetan, Japanese, and Indian Buddhist systems.


This research is grounded in classical and modern Buddhist texts, scientific literature, and everyday applications of contemplative creative approaches and practices in contemporary life. This foundation facilitates the development of curriculums and programs based on ethics that respect Buddhist origins of contemplative study and practices. The root intention of Contemplative Creative Science (CCS) is the well-being and global health of all beings including the planet. The courses and programs developed for continuing education of mental health professionals, and training open to the public are focused on contemplative creative and bio (nature)-based practices.

CCS utilizes multimodal contemplative creative and bio-based methods and practices for cultivating attention, mindfulness, compassion, and introspection to directly observe cognitive functions, content and projections and their impacts on functioning in relationship with self, other humans and beings, and the natural world.

Contemplative creative practices (CCP) are forms of meditation that are a continuum of mindfulness, compassion and awareness meditation practices informed by Buddhist methods of inquiry such as contemplation, deconstruction, and meditation family of practices. The contemplative creative process is similar to the creative arts therapy; similar modalities are used, such as brush painting, collage, journaling, body movement, clay and natural arrangements, installations, and photography are mediums used to observe and contemplate the mind, as well as cultivate value-based qualities (Ates, 2017, 2022).

At CCCS, the modalities used in contemplative creative practices are:

brushwork, contemplative photo collage, mindful circles, contemplative writing, contemplative movement, clay and natural arrangements, and contemplative photography. Natural arrangements are bio-based practices on seasonal or five elements (water, air, fire, earth, and space) exploration and contemplation (e.g. digital portfolio below).


Presently, I am an instructor for the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies Applied Mindfulness Meditation certificate (course: Mindfulness & Art Therapy) and the Toronto Art Therapy Institute. For few years, I have been asked to develop and facilitate workshops focused on mental health and contemplative creative approaches with Glendon York University (2020/2021), the Mindful Society Global Institute (2018/2016), Sick Kids Hospital.


For over 10 years, I have been a contemplative arts practitioner. I was trained with Nalanda Miksang Contemplative Photography (level I, II, III, Absolute Eye & Maitri Space Awareness) with John McQuade. I am trained in Shambhala Art with Steven and Anne Saitzyk, and in Brushwork and Big Brush Mind with Barbara Bash. I was also introduced to Ikebana, E-Tegami with Sachiko Hata Pereklita; and Sumi-E (brush painting) with Hiroshi Yamamoto (Hakuho) at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center of Toronto.


Book: “Contemplative Photo Therapy: Group Intervention for Youth with Anxiety Disorders” (2017). 

*McMahan, D. L. (2008). The Making of Buddhist Modernism. Oxford University Press, New York: NY.

*Prebish, C. S., Baumann, M. (2002). Westward Dharma: Buddhism beyond Asia. University of California Press, London: UK. 

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