Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living

Training for professionals

Among therapists and other health care professionals, who personally discovered the wholesome effects of mindfulness, there is a growing need for ways to deepen their practice. The growing emphasis on productivity in modern health care is not seldom accompanied by ‘compassion fatigue’ (or ‘empathy fatigue’) and lack of self-compassion. Besides, many therapists seek ways to integrate a compassionate attitude and exercises to cultivate compassion into individual work with clients. Furthermore, many mindfulness trainers recognize the need to deepen their practice in loving kindness and compassion, not only within themselves, but also among clients who already participated in previous MBSR or MBCT courses.

To meet those different needs we developed several modules for therapists and mindfulness teachers to experience the practices and acquire teaching skills in MBCL:

  • MBCL course in 8 weekly or fortnightly sessions, similarly as offered to clients. For professionals sometimes also offered in two weekends of four sessions each.
  • MBCL Foundation Course (3 days) or residential MBCL Retreat (5-7 days): for professionals wishing personal deepening in their practice by experientially going through the whole MBCL program in condensed form. Although not the same as an eight-week course, this can offer an alternative for those people having no access to an eight-week course. The most important exercises are delivered, alternated with periods of silent practice and interpersonal mindfulness exercises in which the main themes are explored in contemplation.
  • MBCL Teacher Training. To apply for this one must at least have followed the Foundation Course or an MBCL retreat or the eight week programme with a registered MBCL teacher. There are two three-day Teacher Training modules which can be followed separately or as a six-day residential course. Module 1 can be followed by therapists and mindfulness teachers who wish to work with their clients with methods that develop, deepen and maintain (self-)compassion, either in groups or individually. The MBCL curriculum is explored session by session, both experientially and theoretically. The scientific foundation of the curriculum and the use of concepts from western and Buddhist psychology is accounted for. In Module 2 participants learn to deliver the MBCL curriculum to groups, guide exercises, do inquiry and deeping their didactic skills to work with the key themes of MBCL. 

Although there is considerable overlap with other compassion courses, there are also differences, in the way the course is offered to clients and in the teacher training pathway. While other compassion trainings are usually designed as stand-alone courses, MBCL is a follow-on course requiring form clients that they have completed MBSR/MBCT or equivalent course. To enter the A-register of professional MBCL teachers, one must:
- be a certified mindfulnessteacher (in MBSR, MBCT, Breathworks or equivalent);
- have successfully completed the MBCL Teacher Training (modules 1 and 2);
- have deepened their established mindfulness practice with MBCL practices for at least a year and have sought adequate supervision in teaching their first MBCL course(s).

Professionals with sufficient training and experience in mindfulness-based work (e.g. ACT or DBT therapists), who are not certified mindfulness teachers, can follow the Teacher Training modules to deepen their work with compassion-focussed themes and practices. They can enter a B-register, which does not entitle to formally teach MBCL courses to groups of MBSR/MBCT graduates, but to work with MBCL ingredients individually or in groups, within the ethical framework of their own profession.

Click here for "Discovering MBCL" by Barbara Hussong, an account of a mindfulness teacher's experience with MBCL.

Click here for "MBCL and MSC - What they have in common and how they differ" by Christopher Germer, Erik van den Brink and Frits Koster.

Teach from your own practice.