MINDFULNESS BASED COGNITIVE THERAPY (MBCT)
The professional training organized at Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness is presented in collaboration with the Center for Mindfulness of the University of Oxford. The trainers are senior teachers of MBCT at the Center for Mindfulness of the University of Oxford.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was developed in the 1990s as a group-based relapse prevention programme for people at risk of depressive relapse who wish to learn longterm skills for staying well. MBCT combines systematic training in mindfulness with elements of cognitive-behavioural therapy.It is taught to classes of 8-15 people over eight consecutive weeks.
MBCT has a growing evidence-base both for its effectiveness and its cost-effectiveness (Gotink et al., 2015; Kuyken et al., 2016). From the original manual for the prevention of recurrent depression (Segal et al., 2013), it has been extended to new populations (e.g., people with health anxiety) and contexts (e.g., schools). MBCT is increasingly cited in treatment guidelines, and there is a growing demand from people who wish to participate in MBCT courses, as well as a growing number of organizations that wish to offer MBCT. To make MBCT accessible requires training sufficient numbers of MBCT teachers. Effectiveness and sustainability will be determined by the quality of this training.
Here you will find an approach to establishing a pathway to train MBCT teachers supported by the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre. It uses the MBCT Training Pathway (Segal et al., 2016) as a framework and the Mindfulness-Based Interventions Teaching Assessment Criteria (MBI-TAC) (Crane et al., 2013) to assess competency. It typically comprises a coherent, stepped approach as trainees progress from being novice, to beginner, to advanced beginner, to competent MBCT teachers. Transition points are an opportunity to pause and consider readiness to progress; sometimes a person will be ready to progress to the next stage of the pathway and sometimes more work will be needed before progressing. MBCT teachers need to teach from a position of embodiment and MBCT is not for everyone. If it is not a good fit, there are many other equally helpful therapeutic approaches.
An MBCT training pathway may be an integrated programme or a stepped, modular pathway over a more flexible period of time. There are different training models, developed for different settings that balance the demand for accessible teacher training with the need to ensure quality and integrity. The pathway integrates formal teaching with workshops/residential mindfulness trainings, skills training and supervision/mentoring. Regional collaboration and coordination, with support from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, is an excellent way to provide high quality training.
Pre-requisites for training to teach MBCT
Particular experiences are necessary before you can begin your teaching journey with the OMC.
Please note that if you can’t answer yes to all of the following questions, you are not currently eligible for the OMC’s teacher training pathway.
1. Do you have a regular personal mindfulness practice?
Regular mindfulness practice is the foundation of good quality teaching. Without it, whatever is taught is not based in an in depth appreciation of mindfulness and compassion. It is best if you have sustained your own mindfulness practice for at least a year before entering the OMC’s teacher training pathway.
2. Have you taken part in a structured face-to-face 8-week or 5-day MBCT programme?
Taking such a course develops and deepens personal meditation practice and provides an experience of the course as it is usually delivered. The OMC offers 8-week or 5-day experiential MBCT courses. If you are unable to attend any of our MBCT courses, or their equivalent, you may find a suitable course by going to the Mindfulness Network Listing (mindfulness-network.org) which ensures that the teachers listed meet the Good Practice Guidelines for teaching. If attending an MBCT class is not possible, attending an 8-week MBSR course is the next option. If this is not possible, for example if you live in a location where a face-to-face MBCT or MBSR course is not available, the next option is an online programme that can provide this training, along with access to weekly inquiry with a teacher.
For details on dates of MBCT and MBSR programs at the Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness visit here
3. Do you have knowledge and experience of the group or population to whom you would like to teach MBCT, including experience of teaching, therapy, or other care provision?
This would normally include qualifications that enable you to teach MBCT with the population and within the context in which you plan to teach. For example, for MBCT for depression you would need a qualification in clinical practice and mental health training that includes the use of structured, evidence-based therapeutic approaches (e.g. CBT, interpersonal therapy, behavioural activation) and the knowledge/skills to work with clinical populations.
In some cases, for example teaching to the general public, MBCT teachers may not have a professional qualification. In this case additional training may be required, for example in CBT models and approaches and in mental health awareness. If you have little knowledge or experience of CBT, the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre (OCTC) has short courses e.g. introduction to CBT which can be done face-to-face or online.
4. Do you have skills for working with individuals and facilitating groups?
In total there are 4 steps in the training pathway: (1) Foundational ; (2) Apprentice Teaching; (3) Formal Competency Assessment and (4) Continuing Education
1. FOUNDATIONAL TRAINING
The content of Step 1 (Foundational Training) of the non-academic route is organized into four modules:
MODULE 1: MBCT from the Inside
This module deepens personal practice of mindfulness and develops a shared understanding of MBCT by guiding you through the course, enabling you to explore your own experiences of the practices and consider how they relate to the role of mindfulness teacher.
MODULE 2: DEVELOPING MBCT TEACHING SKILLS
This module provides opportunities to practice teaching the curriculum with peers. You will also learn about the intentions underpinning the various elements of the MBCT course and about the structure and sequence of the curriculum.
Module 1 and 2 are offered in a block of 6 days residental intensive format. This will next be available at Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness in collaboration with the Oxford Mindfulness Center (OMC) in February 2020. For more information click HERE
MODULE 3: BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY UNDERPINNINGS AND RETREAT EXPERIENCE
This module deepens experiential understanding of mindfulness through a 5-day residential retreat. It also includes teaching on the Buddhist psychology underpinnings of MBCT
This will next be available at Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness in collaboration with the Oxford Mindfulness Center (OMC) in September 2019. For more information click HERE
MODULE 4: FURTHER TEACHING SKILLS AND PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCIES
This module focuses on further development of teaching skills through continued practice of teaching with peers. Professional competencies, including working with groups, conducting orientation and assessment sessions, evaluating the efficacy of the courses you teach, and ethical issues, are also covered.
This will next be available at Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness in collaboration with the Oxford Mindfulness Center (OMC) in October 2020. More information soon.
Following Module 4, individual feedback on teaching strengths and areas for skill development will be provided using the Mindfulness-Based Interventions – Teaching Assessment Criteria (MBI-TAC). This will be an informal assessment and does not replace the formal competency assessment in Step 3 of the OMC’s teacher training pathway.
Foundational Training (non-academic route) in the block plan
The block plan is in development. At present, Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness in collaboration with OMC offers 6-day residential intensive trainings that cover Modules 1 and 2 of Foundational Training. This 6-day block has the same pre-requisites as described earlier. It is held in a retreat-like environment and includes periods of silence interspersed within each training day. It provides direct experience of the MBCT course in a condensed form over three days, followed by opportunities to practice teaching elements of MBCT to one another, with supervision from the trainers. It includes didactic, experiential, and small group work.
Additional Foundational Masterclasses are essential to move on to Step 2 and cover related topics, including:
1. Conducting Enquiry in MBCT
2. Teaching Mindful Movement
3. Cognitive and Clinical Foundations
4. The evidence base supporting MBCT
5. Buddhist Psychology
Masterclasses will next be available at Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness in collaboration with the Oxford Mindfulness Center (OMC) in September 2019. More information here.
These masterclasses are required to be booked separately.
2. APPRENTICE TEACHING
Upon completion of Step 1 (Foundational Training), you may be eligible for Step 2 of the OMC’s teacher training pathway: Apprentice Teaching.
The OMC cannot guarantee apprentice teaching opportunities but will provide support and assistance in finding an apprenticeship for trainees who have:
- Completed all four modules of Step 1 (Foundational Training), including all required taught days and any required additional training for trainees without a professional mental health background
- Reached Advanced Beginner level, as defined by the MBI-TAC, based on informal assessment of the teaching to peers that occurs in Module 4
If your apprenticeship focuses on MBCT in its original form as described by Segal, Williams, & Teasdale (2013; also known as the “green book”), then no additional training is required before beginning your apprenticeship. However, you may wish to teach an alternate curriculum, such as MBCT for Life (MBCT-L) or Finding Peace in a Frantic World, and so seek an apprenticeship with someone teaching those curricula. You might also aspire to teach in a particular setting, such as workplaces, where the standard MBCT curriculum may not be used. In such cases, additional training for these curricula and settings is required before entering your apprenticeship. The OMC regularly offers this training and information is available in the Workshops and Masterclasses section of this website.
An apprenticeship involves co-teaching a minimum of two courses (standard MBCT or an alternate curriculum) with a teacher who is experienced with the relevant curriculum and setting. Your apprenticeship co-teacher will provide pre-session planning and post-session debriefing for each session. Your apprenticeship co-teacher may also be your formal supervisor, if he or she is willing and qualified to do so. Otherwise, you will need to find a separate supervisor. The OMC may be able to suggest potential supervisors. The Mindfulness Network has a listing of supervisors who meet high quality standards. The UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisations Good Practice Guidelines for Trainers of Mindfulness-Based Teachers can help you identify trainers who are qualified to provide supervision. Either your co-teacher or your supervisor should be familiar with the MBI-TAC, both as a framework for discussing your skill development and for advising you on your readiness for formal competency assessment.
You and your apprenticeship co-teacher will decide collaboratively how to structure your apprenticeship experience, depending on your levels of skill and confidence. This may include being a participant-observer, leading selected practices, leading portions of sessions, or leading whole sessions.
In many cases, it will be productive and convenient for an apprentice to complete an entire apprenticeship (co-teaching a minimum of two MBCT courses and reaching readiness for formal competency assessment) with the same apprenticeship co-teacher. However, either party could decide not to continue the arrangement before reaching this point. You would then seek another opportunity for continuing your apprenticeship.
Your apprenticeship co-teacher and supervisor will help you determine when you are ready for formal competency assessment (Step 3). To be eligible to apply for Step 3, you must have taught at least two courses (standard MBCT or an alternate curriculum) as an apprentice and your apprenticeship supervisor must agree that you are ready. Formal competency assessment requires teaching or co-teaching an entire course and submitting recordings of all sessions to the OMC’s competency assessment service. This is described in more detail here.
3. FORMAL COMPETENCY ASSESSMENT
As an apprentice teacher you can apply for formal competency assessment when you have met all of the requirements and your supervisor agrees that you are ready.
The requirements for applying for formal competency assessment are set out in the MBCT International Training Pathway (Segal et al., 2018). Before applying, you will have taught at least two MBCT classes as an apprentice, with regular ongoing supervision from an experienced MBCT supervisor. Your supervisor may advise you to gain more experience of teaching before applying for a formal assessment.
If you meet the pre-requisite criteria and you are judged as competent in all six domains of the MBI-TAC, you will be awarded a Certificate of Competency to Teach MBCT from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.
4. CONTINUING EDUCATION
Information on how to formally apply can be found here please do check this process to ensure you are eligible to apply. At the moment we are accepting applications to a waiting list and will liaise directly with those on the waiting list regarding submission of a full application for competency assessment. To apply to the waiting list please complete the form here
A summary of the MBI-TAC is available here.
It is important for you as a competent MBCT teacher to continue to develop skills, deepen experiential understanding, and develop specialist areas of expertise.
The OMC recommends a range of development opportunities, including attending Masterclasses, workshops, Summer Schools and conferences. As part of the good practice guidelines it is recommended that you regularly attend teacher led residential retreats for intensive personal practice. We also encourage you to share experience and learn collaboratively through alumni networks or with colleagues.
Continuing education available through the OMC includes:
- Training in MBCT curricula, including MBCT for Life and Finding Peace in a Frantic World
- Offering MBCT in various settings, including workplaces, the criminal justice system, educational settings, health care, and others
- Training in becoming a supervisor, MBI-TAC assessor, or trainer
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