As professionals working in the Dutch mental health services Erik van den Brink and Frits Koster have developed an advanced course Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) or Compassion Training for those who already followed a mindfulness training (MBSR or MBCT). The practice of compassion, which is already implicitly present in the basic mindfulness course, is explicitly taught in this program, while at the same time mindfulness skills can be deepened. The program is based on a scientifically grounded application of compassion practice in a health care setting. The training is based on the work of – amongst others - Paul Gilbert, Christopher Germer, Kristin Neff, Tara Brach en Rick Hanson.
Similarly as MBSR, MBCL is also offered to people with a variety of health problems. The focus is not on specific forms of suffering, but on our relationship with suffering in whatever form it presents in our lives. MBCL is no substitute for evidence-based treatments for specific disorders. Like MBSR, MBCL may well be a complementary method or a method that may be helpful when first-choice remedies yielded no or insufficient results. Besides, compassion practice can help us to choose wisely in a given situation for methods with the most wholesome and the least harmful effects.
May the blossom of compassion grow
in the fertile earth of kindness,
sprinkled by the fresh water of appreciative joy,
in the cool shade of equanimity.