The UK Context: Mindfulness and Depression Prevention
The Role of the Teacher’s Personal Mindfulness Practice in Ensuring the Effectiveness of MBSR/MBCT
Paradigm Shifts — Doing and Being Mode of Mind
Being mode of mind skills
Doing mode of mind skills
Recognising and describing direct experience
Understanding and articulating rationales for processes
Being in touch with direct sensory perception moment by moment
Connecting direct experience with conceptual understandings
Approaching internal and external experience non-judgementally
Having clear curriculum as foundation for the program
Letting go of agendas and ambitions
Basing clinical programs and curriculum choices on clear rationale and evidence based underpinnings
Being open to the emergence of fresh perspectives
Measuring outcomes routinely to check efficacy
1. Coverage and pacing of session curriculum
The teacher’s ability to be responsiveness and flexible, to include appropriate themes and curriculum content, and to effectively facilitate the flow and pacing of session
2. Relational skills
The teacher’s ability to bring genuineness, compassion and, warmth to the relational process and to work collaboratively and to convey potency
3. Guiding mindfulness practices
The teacher’s ability to guide mindfulness practices using clear, precise, accurate, and accessible language whilst conveying spaciousness and non-striving and to make the key learning available to participants through the practice
4. Conveying course themes through interactive teaching
The teacher’s ability to enable participants to notice and describe elements of direct experience, to link themes to participants’ direct experience as appropriate to the group and the individual learning stage, and to move between the different layers within the inquiry process with a predominant focus on process rather than content
5. Embodiment of mindfulness
The teacher’s ability to communicate through their way of being a quality of steadiness, calm, ease, alertness, and vitality; to relate to participants and the teaching process with “non-reactiveness” but with appropriate attention, connection, and responsiveness; to convey qualities of non-judging, patience, beginner's mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go; and to communicate a sense of ‘in the moment’ trust in the process of mindfulness
6. Management of group process
The teacher’s ability to create and maintain a rich exploratory learning container made safe through ground rules, boundaries, confidentiality; to respond to group development processes; and to employ a teaching style that balances the needs of both individuals and the group
Framework for a Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Program
professional training and experience in the context within which they plan to teach MBSR/MBCT.
sufficient depth of personal experience of mindfulness practice to begin the development towards teaching. This usually includes a daily practice and a regular engagement with the three main practices taught in mindfulness-based interventions (body scan, sitting meditations, and mindful movement practice).
familiarity through direct experience with the 8-week mindfulness-based course structure and process.
Continuing to cultivate personal mindfulness practice through regular practice, participation in the 8-week MBCT course, and, on some training programs, attendance on largely silent mindfulness retreat lasting 3–7 days. The experience of a sustained period of retreat practice offers a qualitatively different experience to that of daily practice and enables dimensions of experience to be seen and then explored in new ways.
Learning the theory and research that underpin mindfulness approaches.
Learning the intentions, structure, and organization of mindfulness programs.
Some programs teach elements of the Buddhist psychology that underpins MBCT.
Practicing the core skills involved in teaching mindfulness-based approaches. Usually, students practice these skills first on peers and then teach courses to clients under supervision.
Regular supervision with an experienced mindfulness-based teacher. This offers an alliance that enables an open and creative exploration on personal process, mindfulness practice, and the ways these interweave with mindfulness-based teaching practice.
experience of having taught several mindfulness-based courses,
experience of attending a 7-day mindfulness meditation retreat,
ongoing engagement in a regular supervision process with an experienced mindfulness-based teacher.
Continued engagement with good practice guidelines for mindfulness-based teachers (see below).
Participation in further mindfulness-based teacher training to develop learning and skills. A key overall intention of training at this level is to support participants in developing the ability and confidence to teach from the immediacy of their own experience. This tends to grow out of a depth of experience of mindfulness practice, the teaching process, and the form of the program. Training at this level is focused on refining existing skills, further developing understanding of the MBSR/MBCT teaching process and its underpinning themes and inquiring into the ‘person of the teacher’ — the way in which the teacher relates to themselves, the participants, the group, and the teaching process itself.
there is an ongoing commitment to a personal mindfulness practice through daily formal and informal practice and regular attendance on silent retreat;
ongoing contacts with colleagues engaged in mindfulness-based teaching are built and maintained as a means to share experiences and learn collaboratively, including getting direct feedback on teaching from colleagues and supervisors;
an ongoing and regular process of supervision/peer supervision of teaching, and inquiry into personal practice by an experienced teacher of mindfulness-based interventions is in place;
an ongoing process of evaluating participant outcomes from mindfulness-based courses is in place, including benchmarking outcomes against those gained in trials of MBSR and MBCT.