What is an MBCT course?
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is an eight-week mindfulness based program adapted from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR (Mindfulness Stress Reduction Course). It was created to help people who have previously suffered depression and reduce the likelihood of relapse. For this purpose, the program has been shown to be significantly effective in a variety of scientific studies.
What are the requirements for undertaking the course?
The course I undertook was the MBCT Teacher Training Programme – Level One with the British Mindfulness Institute.
Before taking the course, there were a few requirements:
- Have practiced regular meditation for at least six months;
- Completed an MBSR course;
- Read MBCT for Depression;
- Read MBCT for Dummies
What can you learn?
In the first two-three weeks the main focus is to gain experience of actually doing the MBCT course. You carry out all 11 meditations and journal your experience of practicing each one. You also gain scientific and observational based background into human behaviour. This is similar (although with new and insightful information) to what was provided in the MBSR course.
The teacher training elements come to the fore in the latter half. What’s important to note is that this course is the first part of MBCT teacher training and is not meant to fully equip you to teach MBCT classes. What you do gain is a thorough understanding of two key areas:
- Leading the guided meditations (of which there are 11)
- Inquiry (the process of asking about the participant’s experience after the meditation practice)
The second part of the MBCT course provides more holistic training into how to fully lead the two-three hour classes.
How much time does it take?
The course itself is 6-8 weeks long. For the online, non-contact portion of the course, I would estimate the course takes on average 45-60 mins/day. There are also three 2 hour conference calls where you practice leading meditations and the process of inquiry (two calls with Dr Collard, and one with another experienced teacher). They take place in the latter half of the course and require some preparation for as you’ll most likely want to practice leading the guided meditation that you are assigned.
The course concludes with a two-day meetup at Dr Patrizia Collard’s workplace. For this meetup, you are expected to be familiar with all 11 meditations. This may sound daunting but it’s very manageable if you spend 30 – 60 mins/day practicing for a couple of weeks before the meetup. In fact, this isn’t really mandatory even.
Is the course worth it?
As this course costs £1299, this is a certainly a question worth answering. In short, the course is worth it. This is mainly due to one key factor: having contact and exposure to highly experienced mindfulness teachers. In particular, the contact with the Dr Patrizia Collard and also her associate teacher Helen during the two day meetup. The conference calls are also highly valuable and provide you with specific contextual feedback that you can implement straight away.
If anything there should be more contact because the teachers have a lot to share and there is a lot to be gained from their experience.
What are the main benefits I have gained from doing the teacher training course?
- Further knowledge about how emotions show up in the body
- Insight into how humans naturally turn away from unpleasant emotions (aversion)
- A greater appreciation for the body in general. This has influenced and motivated me to start practicing yoga regularly.
- Information on how to guide meditations skillfully with regards to instructions, the type of language to use and tonality
- Knowledge, experience and insight into how to inquire into other people’s experience of their meditation. In particular, how to use an open and friendly approach where the participant is viewed as the expert and you simply help guide them into uncovering their own insights from their experience.
- Feedback into areas that I could personally improve upon.
- An opportunity to discuss meditation and practice with other like-minded people
- Recommendations for further books I could read.
What was the meetup like?
If you are interested in hearing about the insights I gained from the meetup, take a listen below:
Do you have any tips going into the course?
Note that all communication is handled by email and sometimes this may cause you to misunderstand and miss messages altogether. I suggest putting reminders in your calendar for the conference calls and the meetup weekend so you know well in advance when they are happening. It can be especially easy to miss the calls with the happenings of your everyday life.
I am not financially connected with The British Mindfulness Institute in any way. If you do have any questions about this course or the MBSR course, feel free to shoot me a DM on Instagram😊