The Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
MBSR and MBCT Teacher-Training
Dr. Nils Altner (Germany),
Rebecca Crane, M.A. (U.K.)
Dr . Melanie Fennell (U.K.),
Frits Koster (The Netherlands)
Dr. Linda Lehrhaupt (U.S.A. & Germany),
Dipl. Psych. Petra Meibert (Germany)
Katharina Meinhard-BDY (Germany),
Dipl. Sozialpäd. Johan Tinge (The Netherlands)
Michael de Vibe M.D. (Norway)
The teacher-training program will be taught in English.
The extensive MBSR teacher handbook will be available in English only. The 8-week course participant handbook will be available in Norwegian and English.
The source book for MBCT is the standard work Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression by Zindal Segal, John Teasdale and Mark Williams
Accreditation from the Norsk Psykologforening (Norwegian Psychological Association): The MBSR-MBCT training program has been accredited by the Norsk Psykologforening for the award of 96 continuing education hours.
The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program was founded in 1979 by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues at the Stress Reduction Clinic of the University of Massachusetts, Department of Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, in Worcester, Mass. U.S.A.
MBSR has been successfully implemented in hundreds of hospitals, clinics, health centers, educational, management and other settings around the world. In Europe the program has been taught successfully since the early 1990s and interest has continued to grow steadily. MBSR is described in detail in Kabat-Zinn´s book Full Catastrophe Living.
A significant number of scientific studies underline the effectiveness of the MBSR program. The studies document impressively that a high percentage of course participants experience one or more of the following results:
- decrease of physical and psychosomatic symptoms
- being able to cope more effectively with stressful situations
- increased capacity to relax
- a growing self-confidence and capacity for self-acceptance
- increased vitality
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was created by Professors John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Mark Williams. They adapted elements of MBSR and combined them with elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to develop a program to prevent relapse of depression.
The U.K. National Institute of Clinical Excellence has endorsed MBCT as an “effective treatment for prevention of relapse.” MBCT has now been recommended for use within the the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) for the prevention of recurrent depression since 2004. The MBCT program is described in detail for professionals in the book Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression by Teasdale, Segal and Williams. The authors have also written a book for non-professionals called The Mindful Way Through Depression.
The MBSR/MBCT Teacher-Training Program of the Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches (IMA)
The Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches (IMA) has been offering MBSR teacher-training programs since 2002. In Germany, where it is based, it is known under the name: Institut für Achtsamkeit und Stressbewältigung (IAS). The leadership and faculty of both institutes is the same. The IMA/IAS currently offers teacher-training programs in Norway, Poland, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The institute introduced an MBCT training program in 2007. Its other offerings in addition to MBSR and MBCT teacher trainings, include a professional training for mindfulness in medicine and psychotherapy as well as introductory mindfulness trainings for personal development. In addition, its faculty members offer supervision for mindfulness professionals, as well as further education seminars in MBSR, MBCT and other emerging mindfulness-based approaches such as Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living.
The IMA-IAS faculty includes some of Europe’s most senior mindfulness-based approaches teachers and researchers, as well as guest teachers from the U.S.A. The high level of professionalism and experience of the institute’s teaching staff is a highlight of the program. The faculty, which currently numbers almost 25, includes professors of psychology, clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, professionals in medicine, social work, public health, nursing, education, physiotherapy, and teachers of Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Kung. All faculty members also have an established mindfulness meditation practice.
The training program is highly structured, at the same time encouraging personal creativity and expression. The multidisciplinary team is committed to each participant finding his/her own identity as a teacher. The training invites each participant to practice and integrate mindfulness skills in their own daily lives before passing them on to others.
This program is challenging and asks for commitment: to one’s own practice as well as to completing the requirements. Our faculty takes the position that we cannot ask someone else to do what we have not done ourselves. Thus trainees in the program are asked to do the same work and homework as participants in mindfulness-based courses.
Some participants who join our programs have already been teaching mindfulness-based approaches for some time. They join, they tell us, because they want to immerse themselves in a systematic, in-depth training, to profit from the faculty’s extensive experience, and to bring together the strands of techniques and methods they have gathered over time- sometimes in an auto-didactic way - in an integrated and thorough way.
A graduate of our MBSR teacher-training described her experience as follows: "I have never taken part in a training program, where so much of what was taught, was also actively practiced. So many of the participants ended up doing what they had been trained to do – in this case, teaching MBSR."
|Frequently represented professions that train in MB-Approaches in the IMA |
- Psychologists, Doctors and Nurses
- Naturpaths and holistic care practitioners
- Yoga, Tai Chi or Qigong teachers
- Physical therapists, body-centered and movement therapists
- Occuptional, art and music therapists
- teachers in schools, adult education and universities
- Chaplains and ordained ministers/priests
- Coaches, management trainers and human resources staff
- Hospice workers
- Social workers
- Counselors working with patients with cancer, addictions, diabetes, fertility issues
- Counselors working in centers for women, seniors, child protection, marital and family counseling,
- Mediators and judicial (including lawyers)
- Prison staff and other institutional care workers
We particulary encourage professionals Aged 55+ to consider training to teach MB-Approaches. There is a growing number of professionals who either plan to work beyond retirement age or who wish to teach mindfulness-based approaches when they have more time available. Most of our participants range in age between 40 and 65. Our oldest trainee was 72. We also have a number of participants under the age of 40.
|Some of the places where Mindfulness-Based Approaches are taught include:|
- professional practices (e.g. of psychologists, physiotherapists, physicians, etc.)
- psychosomatic clinics and hospitals (for patients)
- outpatient clinics and day centers for a range of medical and mental conditions
- clinics, hospitals and other facilities (for personnel)
- schools (for teachers and students)
- universities and other institutions of higher education (e.g. for medical students in training, student-health programs
- prisons (for staff and inmates)
- senior citizen homes
- company health programs
- leadership and management training seminars
- counseling centers
- chaplain services
- crisis centers for women, children and the homeless
- coaching for individuals
- centers for oncology, fertility, chronic pain, diabetes, etc.
- Yoga schools and physical rehabilitation centers
|Details of the IMA’s MBSR/ MBCT Teacher-Training Program|
- Participants learn and practice the main formal exercises of the MBSR/MBCT programs (body scan, mindful bodywork, based on gentle yoga, sitting meditation and walking meditation), as well as learning how to teach these exercises to others.
- The training program emphasizes the deepening of one’s own meditation practice as the basis for teaching others.
- The curriculums of both the 8-week MBSR and MBCT courses are examined in detail and elements of the weekly sessions are taught within the training program.
- A valuable resource of the program is the collegial network opportunities that develop through participation in the program.
- Program participants start the program and finish it together. This training structure allows for intensive collaboration between students as well as with the faculty.
- The requirement that participants already have an established mindfulness practice before entering the program ensures a high level and in-depth exploration of mindfulness, its practice and applications.
- Participants teach their own self-organized 8-week MBSR course during the last section of the training program, or shortly thereafter.
- Trainees receive a minimum of four, 50-minute, individual, telephone sessions with a supervisor during the time they teach their own eight-week course.
- Participants write and create their own Audios for each of the main exercises (Body Scan, Mindful Yoga and Sitting Meditation). These exercises will be covered extensively in the training program.
- Participants receive an extensive MBSR teacher-handbook in English
- A sample handbook for an MBSR 8-week course participants in Norwegian and/or English is available in digital format for trainees to modify and adapt for their own courses.
- The manual for MBCT will be drawn by the students themselves from the book Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression. Additional hand-out material will be provided by the IMA.
- Trainees profit greatly from our faculty’s wide range of involvement in research, pilot programs in university and clinical settings, in therapeutic, rehabilitative and social and educational settings.
|A selection of topics covered in the training program: |
- Participant prerequisites: Who is suited to take part in MBSR/MBCT courses, and for whom is it not suitable?
- The pre-interviews and the exit interviews at the beginning and end of each course are reviewed in detail.
- Stress theory and how it is presented in MBSR.
- Review of scientific research on MBSR/MBCT.
- Handling of themes specific to MBSR/MBCT, including:
- Mindful communication
- Being with difficult emotions
- Perception and stress
- Self-nurturing and taking care of oneself through mindfulness
- Mindfulness and chronic pain
- Review and experiencing of the exercises specific to MBSR/ MBCT and the similarities/differences between the two programs
- The role of the mindfulness-approach teacher.
- How does an MBSR/MBCT teacher ensure his/her own well being? How does one develop one’s own mindfulness practice?
- The pedagogy of meditation.
- How does one work with the questions and difficulties of course participants?
- The relationship between formal and informal practices of mindfulness meditation.
|Recognition of the IMA and IAS’s training program |
The IMA´s teacher-training program is recognized by the German MBSR-MBCT Professional Teachers Association (www.mbsr-verband.org). It is also recognized by the Swiss MBSR-MBCT Professional Teachers Association and that of Austria. Graduates of the IMA´s training program may apply for membership in these professional associations.
These associations represent their members in their dialogue with health insurance companies, the media, research organizations, government organizations, other professional organizations, and with the general public. The associations also define standards for teacher-training institutes to meet as well as ethical standards for good practice.
The IMA/IAS participates in dialogue with other Mindfulness-Based Approaches Institutes around the world. We also actively support the recent initiative of the Center for Mindfulness in the USA (the center founded by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn) and others to uphold standards for the training of MBSR teachers. Dr. Linda Lehrhaupt, the director of the IMA/IAS, is officially certified by the Center of Mindfulness to teach MBSR.
Contact in Norway:
Erlend Aschehoug, a psychologist and MBSR teacher in Oslo is assisting the IMA in the organization of the Norwegian MBSR-MBCT teacher-training program. If you have questions, he can be reached at
Lyngveien 16, 2214 Kongsvinger, Norway