In 2010, the UK Mindfulness Trainers' Network developed some good practice guidance for Teaching Mindfulness-Based Courses. Mindfulness teaching is currently carried out in a range of settings, and by skilled and experienced teachers, many in the Buddhist tradition. This foundational work is warmly supported. As the interest in mindfulness as a secular practice has grown, however, training centres are often asked how best to judge whether a course that is offered is being done so with the care and competence that is required.
This is an extract of the main points from a recent statement by the Network.
A mindfulness teacher would normally have the following:
1. A professional qualification in clinical practice, education or social context or equivalent life experience recognised by the community in which the teaching will take place.
2. Prior knowledge and experience of the populations that the mindfulness-based approach will be delivered to, including experience of teaching, therapeutic or other care provision with groups and individuals.
3. A professional mental health training that includes the use of evidenced based therapeutic approaches (if delivering MBCT).
4. Familiarity through personal participation with the mindfulness-based course curriculum that they will be learning to teach, with particular in-depth personal experience of the three core practices of mindfulness-based programmes - body scan, sitting meditation and mindful movement (plus any other core practice that is a necessary part of the programme being taught e.g. specific other practices taught in the Breathworks programme).
5. Completion of an in-depth, rigorous mindfulness-based teacher training programme or supervised pathway over a minimum duration of 12 months.
6. Ongoing adherence to the appropriate ethical framework of their background and within which they are working.
7. Engagement in a regular supervision process with an experienced mindfulness-based teacher(s) which includes:
o Opportunity to reflect on/inquire into personal process in relation to personal mindfulness practice and mindfulness-based teaching practice;
o Receiving periodic feedback on teaching from an experienced mindfulness-based teacher through video recordings, supervisor sitting in on teaching sessions or co-teaching and building in feedback sessions.
o Participation in residential teacher-led mindfulness meditation retreats.
8. Ongoing commitment to a personal mindfulness practice through daily formal and informal practice and attendance on retreat.
9. Ongoing contacts with mindfulness-based colleagues, built and maintained as a means to share experiences and learn collaboratively.
10. Engagement in further training to develop skills and understanding in delivering mindfulness-based approaches, including keeping up to date with the current evidence base for mindfulness-based approaches
Aberdeen University offers PGCerts, PGDips & MSc's in Mindfulness. Their training in mindfulness is entirely secular and is available as a blended learning opportunity, combining e-learning and face to face teaching. Participants study part-time at a distance while staying in post in their own professional setting. An important part of the programme is that participants develop a daily mindfulness practice.The programme seeks to meet the needs of experienced practitioners from a variety of settings who aim to enhance their practice and extend their professionalism.
Bangor University offer Masters Degrees in Mindfulness and Mindfulness CPD / Teacher Training.
Their Masters Programmes are validated by the School of Psychology in Bangor University. They offer people who are interested in bringing mindfulness-based approaches into their work and lives, the opportunity to study many aspects of these, and to gain academic credits at Master's level. The courses are flexible & part time.
Their professional training programmes focus on the application of mindfulness-based approaches in clinical and work settings, as well as in trainees' own lives. They include Teacher Development Retreats (for those who want to teach the 8-week course) and Mindfulness and Individual Therapy (for those who are experienced therapists and want to use mindfulness in their work with clients).
Breathworks mindfulness trainers follow a similar path.
Training is made up of progressive levels:
Enter Mindfulnes offer a two stage approach to Mindfulness teacher training. The second stage is designed to facilitate the deepening of your personal mindfulness practice. The main focus will be on developing sound teaching skills in MBCT and skills in inquiry and dialogue. The course will be interactive and experiential to a large extent. You will need to demonstrate teaching skills in small groups and discuss your journals with one-another.
This training is in line with established MBCT trainer training standards and will require you to do meditational homework. However, there is currently no official accreditation or qualification existent for MBCT, even though the academic institutions have established particular standards (to which Enter Mindfulness adhere).
Exeter University offer a number of programmes designed for those who wish to apply MBCT in their work.
They offer two progression routes to the MSc Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapies, a level 1, the Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert), and a level 2 Postgraduate Diplomas (PgDip).
The two progression routes are related but differ in their emphasis and placement opportunities. The route that includes the PgDip Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapies is designed for individuals with a health background, including those who work in the NHS and other healthcare settings, who wish to teach mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in the health service; placements will be in healthcare settings. The route that includes the PgDip Mindfulness-Based Approaches has been developed for individuals from a non-health background, for example those who work in education, voluntary or forensic settings; this route will include engagement with tutors from a broader base who may work in non-healthcare settings and the placements will similarly be within non-healthcare settings.
The training requires you to be experienced in mindfulness practice. Teach Mindfulness is ideal for coaches, therapist and other professionals interested in integrating mindfulness into their work but are unable to attend an in-person training due to time, money or location constraints. The sessions are all recorded so you can access them anytime.
Places are limited to enhance interactivity. Click on link to find out all the details.
Oxford Mindfulness Centre is an international centre of excellence within the University the Oxford's Department of Psychiatry. They offer a range of mindfulness courses including an MSc in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.
The MSc course is taught, part-time, over two years, and is organised in ten three-day teaching blocks (held in Oxford) and two residential training retreats (five days in Year I and seven days in Year II). In addition to the taught component, students will need to set aside 6-7 hours per week for private study, personal practice of MBCT, completion of written assignments, etc. Participants on courses with similar demands confirms that this time is crucial to completing the course successfully.
On successful completion of the taught components of the course and associated assignments, the award of the Master's degree is made by the University of Oxford, under the aegis of its Continuing Education Board.
Oxford Mindfulness Centre also offer:
The Mindfulness Association offers a comprehensive Mindfulness Teacher Training pathway meeting the best practice in the UK.
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