Learn to Facilitate MBSR

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an empirically supported 8-week psycho-educational group that teaches mindfulness meditation as a health intervention. Created by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979, MBSR offers participants the possibility to develop a different relationship to stress resulting from chronic physical and psychological conditions. Research has demonstrated improved physical, psychological, and behavioural outcomes.

The Centre’s MBSR Facilitation Certificate is an internationally recognized training pathway to become an MBSR facilitator. It is the premier training program for MBSR facilitation in Canada.

…the quality of MBSR as an intervention is only as good as the MBSR instructor and [their] understanding of what is required to deliver a truly mindfulness-based program... Mindfulness can only be understood from the inside out. It is not one more cognitive-behavioural technique to be deployed in a behaviour change paradigm, but a way of being and a way of seeing that has profound implications for understanding the nature of our own minds and bodies, and for living life as if it really mattered.”

– Jon Kabat-Zinn (2003) quoted in Some Reflections on the Origin of MBSR, Skillful Means,
and the Trouble with MAPS, Contemporary Buddhism, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2011.

The first three steps of the MBSR training program are attendance-based and intended to provide accepted applicants with a level of training to enable them to offer this modality to the public as Trained MBSR Facilitators. Step 4 then allows trainees to hone their skills through a process of assessing their competency and ensuring their abilities to become a Certified MBSR Facilitator.

 

Step 1: Get Started

8-Week MBSR Personal Program

In order to facilitate the MBSR program with first-person experience and a “living foundation” (Kabat-Zinn, 2011), it is essential that trainees complete an in-person or online MBSR program as a participant. The Centre welcomes all applicants to participate in one of our MBSR programs, but it does not have to be a Centre program to complete this prerequisite.

Learn more about our 8-Week MBSR Personal Program.

5-7 Day Silent Retreat

Participation in a longer, preferably residential* silent retreat allows trainees to increase their self-reflective capacity and to deepen their practice through periods of silence and inquiry. A 7-day (or longer) silent retreat is ideal while a 5-day silent retreat is sufficient. If applicants are unable to participate in a 5-7 day silent retreat, the Centre will accept the completion of a 3-day silent retreat as well as a 2-day silent retreat. In exceptional circumstances, we may also accept a 3-day silent retreat combined with the completion of two 1-day silent retreats but please obtain explicit approval from the Centre before pursuing this last option.
* in most cases, non-residential and online silent retreats are accepted

Daily Mindfulness Practice

MBSR facilitators are expected to embody the practice throughout the 8-week program – not only during the scheduled sessions but with all participant and co-facilitator interactions. As a clear start to obtaining this goal, all trainees must have a personal mindfulness practice that includes at least 15 minutes per day of formal practice, at least 5 days per week, and have maintained a daily mindfulness practice for a minimum of 3 months.

Upon completing Step 1, the Centre suggests that you apply to the MBSR Certificate Training Program if you haven’t already done so.

Step 2: Train

Mindfulness Core Concepts (or equivalent) must be completed before taking the MBSR TTI. Trainees in the MBSR certificate program should also complete the 5-7 day silent retreat before taking the MBSR TTI; if they have not, they must contact the Centre before registering to see if an exception can be made. The Centre does accept registrants who are not pursuing the MBSR Certificate into the MBSR TTI; however, if those registrants then decide to pursue the MBSR Certificate they must go back and complete all other prerequisites and training modules.

1. Mindfulness Core Concepts

Learn about the research and application of mindfulness in this 6-hour introductory training. This general course is most suitable for those interested in the personal and professional applications of mindfulness. If trainees have taken the Centre’s MBCT Basics course, this training module is automatically waived.

Learn more about Mindfulness Core Concepts.

2. MBSR Teacher Training Intensive

This 6-day intensive training will provide participants with the opportunity to study and experience the foundational underpinnings, mindfulness practices and specific exercises that are the framework of the MBSR program. Trainees will engage in teach-backs of the various meditations and exercises. Whether taken in-person or online, participants can expect to spend some periods in silence and others in active discussion and interaction. The course follows a concentrated schedule and it is highly recommended that trainees clear their schedules as much as possible and use any free time for rest, relaxation, and reflection on the course learnings.

Learn more about our MBSR Teacher Training Intensive.

Upon completing Steps 1& 2, trainees can refer to themselves as an MBSR Facilitator-In-Training.

Step 3: Practice

Trainees are encouraged to facilitate and practice as much as possible in order to refine their skillset and improve embodiment. It is highly recommended that trainees facilitate at least one MBSR program before taking Inquiry Essentials. This does not have to one of the same programs through which they are mentored but most trainees choose to be mentored through the first group they facilitate.

3. MBSR Mentorship

The Centre considers mentorship essential for competency in any therapeutic domain and we are proud to have more than 10 Approved MBSR Mentors. A minimum of 22 hours of mentorship over the course of two 8-week MBCT program is required to complete this training module. Trainees should start by contacting their preferred mentor(s), entering into a mentorship agreement, and submitting the $200 administrative fee. Questions or concerns regarding mentorship should be addressed to education@MindfulnessStudies.com.

Learn more about MBSR Mentorship.

4. Inquiry Essentials

Inquiry is the practice of asking a question to investigate our experience. It is at the heart of mindfulness-based programs and is often the most difficult skill to learn. This 12-hour training is suitable for any mindfulness facilitator who has facilitated at least one mindfulness-based group.

Learn more about Inquiry Essentials.

Upon completing Steps 1-3, trainees can refer to themselves as a Trained MBSR Facilitator.

Step 4: Get Certified

It is expected that trainees will facilitate at least two additional 8-week MBSR programs before pursuing this final step in the MBSR training pathway. The ATTI and Advanced MBSR Mentorship can then be done in any order although most trainees choose to complete the ATTI first.

5. Advanced Teacher Training Intensive

This 4-day intensive training is focuses on advanced inquiry and embodied presence through teach-backs, coaching, and feedback. It is suitable for any mindfulness facilitator who has facilitated at least three mindfulness-based programs.

Learn more about our Advanced Teacher Training Intensive.

6. Advanced MBSR Mentorship

As with the first round of mentorship, trainees should start by contacting their preferred mentor(s), entering into a mentorship agreement, and submitting the $200 administrative fee. Many trainees choose to stay with the same Approved MBSR Mentor but there is no requirement to do so. A minimum of 12 hours of mentorship over the course of one 8-week MBSR program is required to complete this training module. Certification will not be obtained until the mentor writes a letter of recommendation on behalf of the trainee. The recommendation letter is expected to make clear reference to the trainee’s abilities in each area of the MBI-TAC. Questions or concerns regarding mentorship should be addressed to education@MindfulnessStudies.com.

Learn more about Advanced MBSR Mentorship.

 Upon completing Step 4, trainees can refer to themselves as a Certified MBSR Facilitator.

Finished all of the training modules to become a Certified MBSR Facilitator?