What to Look For in a Mindfulness Teacher
There are not yet nationalized standards nor boards governing the quality of Mindfulness Teachers in the US. Yet there are many places offering credentials to teach mindfulness and meditation. Here is a set of criteria that the UK Mindfulness Trainers’ Network developed in 2010. These are all good things to consider about a mindfulness teacher, and you should feel free to ask someone teaching mindfulness what their training is, and how they meet any of the following criteria.
This is an extract of the main points from a recent statement by the UK Mindfulness Trainers’ Network.
A mindfulness teacher would normally have the following:
- A professional qualification in clinical practice, education or social context or equivalent life experience recognised by the community in which the teaching will take place.
- Prior knowledge and experience of the populations that the mindfulness-based approach will be delivered to, including experience of teaching, therapeutic or other care provision with groups and individuals.
- A professional mental health training that includes the use of evidenced based therapeutic approaches (if delivering MBCT).
- Familiarity through personal participation with the mindfulness-based course curriculum that they will be learning to teach, with particular in-depth personal experience of the three core practices of mindfulness-based programmes – body scan, sitting meditation and mindful movement (plus any other core practice that is a necessary part of the programme being taught e.g. specific other practices taught in theBreathworks programme).
- Completion of an in-depth, rigorous mindfulness-based teacher training programme or supervised pathway over a minimum duration of 12 months.
- Ongoing adherence to the appropriate ethical framework of their background and within which they are working.
- Engagement in a regular supervision process with an experienced mindfulness-based teacher(s) which includes:
- Opportunity to reflect on/inquire into personal process in relation to personal mindfulness practice and mindfulness-based teaching practice;
- Receiving periodic feedback on teaching from an experienced mindfulness-based teacher through video recordings, supervisor sitting in on teaching sessions or co-teaching and building in feedback sessions.
- Participation in residential teacher-led mindfulness meditation retreats.
- Ongoing commitment to a personal mindfulness practice through daily formal and informal practice and attendance on retreat.
- Ongoing contacts with mindfulness-based colleagues, built and maintained as a means to share experiences and learn collaboratively.
- Engagement in further training to develop skills and understanding in delivering mindfulness-based approaches, including keeping up to date with the current evidence base for mindfulness-based approaches