How to keep the integrity of mindfulness courses and finding a teacher who is appropriately trained?
Mindfulness training is very transformative if taught by a qualified experienced teacher. Mindfulness teachers who follow the ‘Good Practice Guidelines’, have a commitment to ongoing development as a teacher through further training, for instance attending CPD masterclasses with experts, teaching on the MA programmes at Bangor CMRP (Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice) and at Oxford Mindfulness Centre. Whenever I attend a masterclass, I feel grateful for the depth of knowledge behind mindfulness-based courses, such as the MBSR and MBCT programmes. Experts in their fields – Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Mark Williams, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University and other highly trained professionals have co-developed these mindfulness-based programmes using their thorough knowledge in clinical psychology, neuroscience, Buddhist philosophy as well as their many decades of genuine meditation and mindfulness practice.
It is not surprising that these 8 week programmes have been the subject to considerable research demonstrating their effectiveness and benefits on our health, well-being and quality of life. MBCT based on MBSR is recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).
Mindfulness training is intended to understand and train the mind; reducing suffering and leading a more meaningful life, sometimes life-changing. It is important to choose the right course for you and especially the right teacher.
Mindfulness teachers who have trained to teach mindfulness through a training centre of excellence, such as CMRP Bangor University or OMC Oxford University will have a depth of understanding of the underlying psychological and philosophical background behind each topic, each exercise and practice, taught in the 8 week course. They will have also developed a daily formal and informal mindfulness practice and follow the Good Practice Guidelines for Mindfulness-based Teachers.
At this stage, there is no professional regulatory body for mindfulness teachers or formal certification for teaching mindfulness. As Dr Rebecca Crane says in her blog (See blog link below): “It is relatively easy for people who do not have the recommended credentials to set up as a teacher; and it becomes confusing for those wanting to access a well-qualified teacher to know how to judge the quality of their potential teacher”. The UK Mindfulness Network represents the leading teacher training organisations in the UK. It is the closest organisation to a professional body that currently exists. Teachers on this list have been assessed via an independent referee. They follow the Good Practice Guidelines and must fulfil rigorous training and practice requirements.
My intention in writing this post is to share information and resources of good practice, in order to keep mindfulness authentic, rooted in its rich background of psychological and philosophical knowledge and to keep it safe for the public.
You will find below some links that are helpful, if you are looking for the list of teacher training organisations and for mindfulness teachers that are appropriately trained, following the Good Practice Guidelines with depth and integrity:
- “Integrity of mindfulness classes and the UK listing of mindfulness teachers” Read the blog by Dr Rebecca Crane, director of the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University: http://oxfordmindfulness.org/news/know-someone-teaching-mindfulness-course-appropriately-trained/
- The UK Mindfulness Network is the closest organisation to a professional body that currently exists. Teachers on this list have been assessed and must fulfil rigorous training and practice requirements.
On their website you will find the lists of:
- Teacher Training Organisations of excellence such as CMRP Bangor University, Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Aberdeen and Exeter Universities where mindfulness teacher trainings are taught by experts and genuine practitioners. https://www.ukmindfulnessnetwork.co.uk/organisations/
- Mindfulness Teachers with thorough training and qualifications from one of the UK centres mentioned above. Teachers on the UK Network listing have been able to demonstrate (via an assessment process) that they meet the UK Good Practice Guidelines for Mindfulness-Based Teachers they are: suitably trained, committed to a daily mindfulness practice since at least 2 years and to continuous professional development, attend yearly 7 day silence retreats, hold appropriate insurance and are receiving supervision for their teaching. https://www.ukmindfulnessnetwork.co.uk/uk-listing/
- The teacher should be at least listed on the Mental Health Foundation’s ‘Be Mindful’ Teacher Listing https://bemindful.co.uk/learn-mindfulness/ and if possible listed on the UK Mindfulness Network website mentioned above.
Written by Sandrine Cranswick, March 15th, 2018
Sandrine is a Coach and Mindfulness Teacher MBSR
Listed on the UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teachers
MBSR Mindfulness Courses in Sussex – Groups and One to One