Institute Faculty

The faculty members of the IMA are among the most experienced and longstanding trainers in Europe and represent 10 countries. Not only do they have extensive experience teaching MBIs in the fields of medicine, mental health, clinical, educational, institutional and business, but also eight of its faculty are authorized meditation teachers in various traditions.

Linda Lehrhaupt

PhD, is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches/Institut für Achtsamkeit. She is acknowledged as a pioneer in introducing MBSR and mindfulness education in several European countries and is known for her depth of knowledge and expertise in the integration of mindfulness in education, health care and its social applications.

She began teaching MBSR in Germany in 1994 and has taught within the Institute’s MBSR teacher-training program since 2002. She began her MBSR teacher training at the Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical School, with Prof. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues in 1993 and completed its MBSR teacher certification program.

She has practiced Zen meditation since 1979 and is a Zen teacher (Roshi) in the White Plum Lineage founded by Taisan Maezumi Roshi. She has also completed a training and is certified to work as an interfaith spiritual director (companion).

Dr. Lehrhaupt earned a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University in 1990 with a specialty in ritual and traditions. She earned an M.A. in Drama (NYU) and a B.A. (Hofstra) in English and Secondary Education. In her early teaching career, she worked as a secondary school teacher before moving into adult education and professional training in mindfulness-based programs, where she has taught for more than 40 years. During these years, Dr. Lehrhaupt had led many hundreds of workshops and retreats.

She has written several books, including co-authoring a highly regarded introduction to MBSR that has been translated into 9 languages.

Born and raised in New York City, she has been living in Germany and France since 1983.

Nils Altner

Ph.D., works currently as a mind-body therapist at the Clinic for Natural and Integrative Medicine at the University of Essen, Germany. His work is in research and in teaching aspects of mindful pedagogy, personality development und health themes as taught at the University of Duisburg-Essen and at Harvard University. He is a graduate of the MBSR Professional Internship Programme at the Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts. He has intensive experience in Zen and Vipassana meditation, Hatha Yoga and Chi Kung. He is a co-author of Incorporating Qigong in Schools (in German) and author of Mindfulness and Health (in German).

Gabriela von Arx

has completed a training in coaching, organization development and supervision at the ZAK Basel (Zentrum für Agogik) BSO in Switzerland. She is the managing director of MachtBewusst Sein: The Institute for Identity and Development. She has many years’ experience in the field of organizational consulting, as well as a supervisor, coach and trainer. She completed her training as an MBSR teacher with the IMA. She has also taken part in further trainings with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli from the Center for Mindfulness (USA). She served as a member of the board of the Swiss MBSR Teachers Association from 2011-2015. She has taught MBSR extensively in different institutions and also Mindful Coaching for individuals. She has a diploma in Physiotherapy.

Pamela Duckerin

is a teacher, trainer and supervisor with the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice (CMRP) at Bangor University. She qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1984 and has worked in the field of mental health since then, working in a variety of settings and specialties within the UK and Canada. She has undertaken further professional training including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in 1996 and worked as a DBT therapist for 7 years. In 2010 she completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Evidence-Based Psychological Therapy and currently works in a primary care mental health service as a senior CBT therapist and lead for long-term physical health conditions. She set up an MBCT programme there in 2010, running 8-week courses and training and supervising trainee mindfulness teachers. She provides courses for staff, for clients with recurrent depression and for those with pain, illness or persisting physical symptoms. She has had a meditation practice since 1998 and completed her teacher training through the CPPD route with CMRP. She is interested in capturing the personal meaning of mindfulness to those she is so fortunate to encounter as a mindfulness teacher, having discovered the unique way that people describe how their personal practice has changed their lives.

Stéphane Faure

is one of the first of three people in France to have received final certification as an MBSR teacher from the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society (CFM), USA. In 2012, he trained in Theory U and Presencing, and works with organizations of various sizes in the public and private sectors. He also teaches mindfulness to doctors, nurses and health personnel as well as to patients with severe and chronic diseases, in collaboration with several physicians and clinical psychologists. He has a degree in international law. He has completed two, three-year traditional Tibetan retreats and taught meditation for many years before beginning to teach MBSR in 2009. In 2014 he co-founded the BNB Social Club of Bordeaux, a organization dedicated to improving the quality of life through training in mindfulness and social action. The BNB offers various retreats and courses based on the practice of mindfulness, Qigong and compassion training.

Sagra J. Hannich

is an MBSR & MBCT Teacher. She has a Diploma in Sport (Area of specialization: Prevention and Rehabilitation) and is a Naturopath for Psychotherapy. She has many years work experience with cardiac patients in clinical settings. Since 2009 she is a member of the staff of the Asklepios Clinic in Hamburg, Germany, where she teaches MBSR and MBCT in the day clinic for stress medicine. She completed her training as an MBSR and MBCT teacher at the Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches, as well as further trainings with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli. Her personal meditation practice of almost 30 years is in Zen, Vipassana and meditative movement.

Kiyoko Inoue

is the director of the International Mindfulness Center Japan. She is a certified teacher of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT-For Life) and a certified teacher of MBCL (Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living). She has also completed her training as an MBSR teacher with IMA and is on the trainer Faculty of the IMA’s Japan MBSR teacher training program. She has trained as a yoga teacher. She is also a qualified teacher of Paws b (Mindfulness in School Project).

Amir H Imani

Amir holds a Master’s degree in Counseling and Adult Education from the University of Toronto, Canada. He worked in mental health research at the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Toronto and studies and practices the effect of mind-body integration in mental health and balanced living since the year 2000.

He has undergone MBSR Teacher Training at the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and has been teaching MBSR to different groups including Mindfulness trainers, corporate staff and executives since 2005.

Through his personal and professional interest in mind-body medicine, Amir has trained with Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn, founder of MBSR program and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Amir has also trained with pioneer leading teachers including Joseph Goldstein and Larry Rosenberg. He is the co-founder/director of the Indian based Omega Wellbeing, founding director of the only hospital-based MBSR program in the Middle East region, and a senior certified mindfulness teacher at UMASS Medical School.

Amir holds workshops and retreats internationally for public and private organizations.

Małgosia Jakubczak

is the Founder and Director of the Polski Instytut Mindfulness (The Polish Institute of Mindfulness-POLIM), which has played a leading role in introducing mindfulness in Poland. Among other programs, POLIM offers an MBSR teacher-training program in close cooperation with the IMA and is also a mentor for MBSR teachers-in-training within the IMA. She has a degree in education from the University of Warsaw (1981). She worked for many years in the area of professional development and in-service teacher training for the Polish Ministry of Education. She was the creator of various programs to enhance social skills for teachers, particularly in the area of communication, which were also introduced into the Polish educational system. She is the first person from Poland to complete the IMA’s teacher-training program and has led many MBSR courses. She has practiced Zen meditation practice since 1998. She is the author of Developing Mindfulness in Everyday Life (in Polish, 2010).

Elise Jansen

B.A, is the owner of Bloom Studio in Oslo, Norway where she works as a yoga and Mindfulness teacher. She has been practicing yoga and meditation since she was a teen-ager and has trained as a teacher of MBSR with the IMA. She is also a certified Yogaworks, Ashtanga Vinyasa, Restorative, Yin and TRE teacher. Elise has been teaching yoga for 15 years and teacher trainings in Mindful Restorative Yoga for the last 3 years. She travels extensively teaching yoga and trainings with focus on interception, mindfulness and deep rest in Europe and beyond.

Frits Koster

born in the Netherlands, is the co-founder of Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL), an 8-week program for compassion training. He is also a teacher of MBSR and MBCT and serves as a faculty member in several MBSR & MBCT teacher training programs. In addition to being on the faculty of the IMA he teaches at the Institute for Mindfulness in Rolde, Netherlands and in the postgraduate mindfulness programme at the University College Artevelde in Gent, Belgium. He began practicing insight meditation in 1979. He ordained as a Buddhist monk for six years, practicing Vipassana meditation and studying Buddhist psychology in meditation centers and monasteries in Thailand and Burma. In 1988 he returned to the Netherlands, where he has been facilitating meditation activities ever since. He leads Vipassana retreats and mindfulness and compassion retreats for professionals. In his earlier years, he trained and worked in the field of psychiatric nursing. He is the co-author (with Erik van den Brink) of Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (Routledge, Jan. 2015) and author of Liberating Insight (Silkworm Books, 2004), Buddhist Meditation as Stress Management (Silkworm Books, 2007), and The Web of Buddhist Wisdom (Silkworm Books, 2014).

Bernd Langohr

M.D., is an MBSR & MBCT teacher. He studied medicine in Tübingen and Jena. During med school, he helped to establish a mindfulness program at the psychiatric clinic in Weimar. He was also involved in developing and establishing mindfulness trainings at local universities from 2015-2020. He has been practicing meditation since 2002 and lived in a Theravada-Buddhist monastery in Germany for two years. He completed his certification training in MBSR and MBCT with the IMA in 2007 and 2010.

Ted Meissner

started meditating in the Zen tradition in the early 1990's, and is a Certified MBSR Teacher from UMass Medical School's Center for Mindfulness. He is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science, has been published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, Mindful, and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He mentors MBSR teachers for UCSD and IMA, has held Masterclasses for Oxford Mindfulness Centre, and is the Executive Director of Mindfulness Practice Center. He plays the Shakuhachi flute as part of his meditation practice.

Katharina Meinhard

is a physiotherapist. Director of a Yoga teacher-training programme certified by the German Association of Yoga Teachers. She is the Co-Director of the Yoga School of Dresden and has been teaching Yoga since 1992 and MBSR teacher since 2003. She is a graduate of the training programme at the Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches. She began practicing Zen meditation in1990. Since 1989 she has worked extensively in health maintenance and rehabilitation programmes, with a strong emphasis on mindfulness-based bodywork in clinical settings.

Jean-Daniel Rüedi

PhD worked for more than 15 years in academia and private companies as project manager, R&D manager and CEO, before starting to work as freelance coach and consultant. He is the co-founder of O’Centre Formation and now work as trainer, coach and therapist with teams and individuals. He is trained in coaching, organization and relationship systems coaching, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), hypnosis, Non-Violent Communication (NVC), transpersonal therapy, as well as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). He trained as MBSR teacher with the IMA and as MBCL teacher with the Mindfulness Network. He teaches both these programs in Switzerland and online.

Wolfgang Schröder

born 1962, is co-leader of the (Mindfulness Practice)'Achtsamkeitspraxis Berlin' since 2012. His interest in spiritual development and meditation was awakened in 1985. When he trained as a bookseller in the Rhineland, he made a fundamental decision to dedicate his life to practicing and deepening the Buddhist practice. During a stay of several years in the Triratna Sangha in Great Britain, he was able to intensify his practice and study of Buddhism. At that time, he worked in cooperatively run companies and certified as a yoga teacher in 1994. Since he became familiar with Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book ‘Full Catastrophy Living’ in 2005, he continued to practice and train as teacher within the context of MBSR. In 2008 he certified as MBSR teacher, in 2009 as MBCT teacher and also trained as MBCL teacher. He continues to widen his experience and offering in the direction of ‘mindfulness at work’, for example at the Potential Project. He feels fortunate to meet people in different ways and to support them on their way to more awareness, clarity and kindness.

Rene Ryorin Slikker

René Slikker is a psychologist and physical therapist. His specific interest is mind-body medicine and personal development. As a psychologist, he combines mental and physical well being with return-to-work programs. He has worked in the United States, Great Britain and Germany as a physical therapist. When he learned about MBSR and Jon Kabat-Zinn, he was immediately inspired and still is. He was one of the first students to train in MBSR with Johan Tinge and his teaching staff at the Institute for Mindfulness in Holland in 2008. He has worked as a mindfulness teacher trainer at the post-doc program of the Hogeschool Utrecht. He has taught numerous MBSR courses and guided several retreats. He started practicing Zen Buddhism in 1998 and has integrated this into his work. At present, he works as a Buddhist psychologist in his own practice in Amsterdam. He and his wife have also founded and teach in a small Zen temple.

Michael de Vibe

M.D. is a senior advisor at the Norwegian Center for the Health Services (Kunnskapssenteret). He is a medical doctor and a family therapist. He has an extensive background in general practice and family therapy and is a supervisor in family medicine. He has worked on quality improvement of health services since 1998. He has practiced mindfulness from his youth and took an MBSR instructor course at the CFM in 2002. He has developed and researched methods of mindfulness training and stress management, and has developed instructional material for this. He has taught this at college level since 2003 and held courses for many different health institutions. He has completed a Ph.D. studying mindfulness training for medical and psychology students in a two-centre randomized trial with long-term follow-up. In 2007-8 he ran an instructor course for mindfulness teachers at a university hospital in the north of Norway.

Erik van den Brink

studied medicine in Amsterdam and trained and worked in psychiatry in the UK. From his return to the Netherlands in 1995 until 2015 he worked as a psychiatrist/psychotherapist in the ambulant mental health services in Groningen. In the latter half of his career, he worked at the Center for Integrative Psychiatry, an innovative mental health clinic, and at a psycho-oncology center. He retired from clinical work in 2021.

Erik has always been interested in methods that empower people’s self-healing capacity and was one of the pioneers introducing mindfulness-based and compassion focused interventions in mental health services in the North of Holland. He developed as a mindfulness teacher and trainer based on a long-standing personal meditation practice in Vipassana and Zen and was trained by founding teachers in MBSR/MBCT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy, Mindful Self-Compassion, Mindfulness-Based Supervision, and Interpersonal Mindfulness. With Frits Koster he developed the MBCL programme and co-authored several publications. He is a frequent guest teacher at mindfulness training institutes across Europe.

Ingrid van den Hout

M. Sci. is the senior coordinator of the IMA MBSR Teacher-Training Programs. She completed her study of the Science of Human Movement at the Free University of Amsterdam in 1989. She works as a psychomotor therapist in mental health care. She is a teacher of MBSR, MBCT and Breathworks. She has a background in the martial arts (Aikido) and became a practitioner of Vipassana in 2001. She trained as an MBSR teacher at the Center for Mindfulness (CFM) in the U.S. in 2004 and 2005. Continuing her development as an MBCT teacher, she participated in the Advanced-Training for MBCT offered by the University of Bangor in 2008. She acted as senior teacher and assessor during a multi-clinic study on MBCT by Radboud University. Since 2006 she has been on the faculty of the Dutch Institute for Mindfulness as a trainer of MBSR and MBCT teachers. She completed her formal training as a supervisor at the British Centre for Supervision and Team Development in 2013. Her involvement in psychosomatics led her to train as a teacher of Breathworks.

Fairouz El-Hammar Vergnes

Dr. med Fairouz El-Hammar Vergnes has been an anesthesiologist at the Bordeaux University Hospital in France since 1993. The difficulties of her profession led her to a different approach through meditation and compassion. As an MBSR and MBCL teacher who trained with the IMA she has participated in the creation, beginning in 2018, of a meditation and hypnosis unit at the Bordeaux University Hospital, dedicated to the staff and patients. Currently she is fully engaged in teaching MBSR and MBCL in this unit.

Jana Willms

is a certified psychologist, certified MBSR, MBCT and MBCL senior teacher. Together with Frits Koster and Erik van den Brink she teaches MBCL at the Institute for Mindfulness Based Approaches (IMA), where she also offers supervision for MBCL and MBSR. She has been practicing Vipassana and Metta for 20 years and teaches mindfulness for over 10 years on a freelance basis. She is co-author of the german MBCL Workbook Mitgefühl üben. Das große MBCL Praxisbuch, which was published in 2020. She is also trained and worked as a physiotherapist and is a long-term yoga practicioner.