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MBCL_Online Teacher Training

Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living
International Online MBCL Teacher-Training Programme

6 x Friday in Spring 2022
with the Founders of MBCL
Erik van den Brink, MD
Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist and Mindfulness Trainer
Frits Koster,
Meditation Teacher and Mindfulness Trainer

Why online?

The Covid-19 pandemic has enabled us to gain experience with working online. Despite some limitations, many have been surprised by the depth of teaching, practice and sharing online programmes can offer. The pandemic has increased our awareness of our vulnerabilities and the need to take care of ourselves, each other and the planet. It makes sense to expand the possibilities of online teacher trainings, which are kinder for the environment and for many participants who would otherwise have to travel great distances. It also provides richer opportunities to learn in groups of people across cultures.

Learning Objectives of the online MBCL TT Programme

  • To experience the main exercises of MBCL in more depth beyond the foundation course level.
  • To thoroughly review the content of the 8 sessions of an MBCL course.
  • To have a basic understanding of the scientific foundation of compassion training and the theoretical background in western and Buddhist psychology.
  • To review and develop the basic attitudes necessary for working with compassion-focused methods.
  • To have an understanding for which clients compassion training can be helpful.
  • To deepen the practice of mindfulness and clarify its relationship to compassion training.
  • Deepening the understanding of the structure and content of MBCL.
  • Learning how to teach the curriculum and how to guide MBCL exercises.
  • Introduction to leading inquiry following exercises.
  • Developing skills of how to present the background theory on compassion training.
  • Deepening one’s personal experience of compassion exercises.

Content of the Online MBCL TT Programme

  • The validation of pain and suffering.
  • How our brain has evolved to help us survive and how compassion is a necessity (not a luxury), for our well-being and survival.
  • Insight into the three basic emotion regulation and motivation systems
  • How mental images and patterns can bring emotion-regulation systems out of balance and how compassionate imagery can restore the balance.
  • The psychological expressions of fight, flight & freeze: self-hatred, self-isolation and over-identification and their antidotes: self-kindness, common humanity & mindfulness.
  • “Tend & befriend” as a fourth reaction to stress in addition to fight, flight & freeze.
  • Compassionately relating to resistance, desire and inner patterns; self-conscious emotions shame and self-blame; the inner critic and inner helper.
  • Developing the compassion mode with its attributes of care for wellbeing and relief of suffering, sensitivity to needs, sympathy, empathy, tolerance of distress and non-judgmental awareness.
  • The balanced cultivation of the four heart qualities: compassion, loving kindness, joy and equanimity.
  • Compassion in action and practical ethics.
  • The structure of MBCL’s 8 sessions will be presented in detail from the teaching perspective.
  • The content and structure of compassion-focused exercises will be reviewed and practiced.
  • Participants will have more practice guiding MBCL exercises as well as leading compassionate inquiry sessions.
  • Background knowledge and meta-perspectives for MBCL trainers, including:
    • Evolutionary perspectives
    • High and low routes toward compassion
    • The plasticity of the brain
    • The physiology of the breath
    • Individual and gender differences
    • Different attachment styles
    • MBCL and psychological problems, indications/contraindications
    • MBCL in private practice settings
    • Content and attitude in communication
    • The differences and common ground between psychotherapy and MBCL training.

Prerequisites for participation in the Online MBCL TT Programme

The MBCL TT Programme is currently taking place in various countries in Europe and offered for professionals already familiar with mindfulness practice and mindfulness-based work. All applicants are required to have participated in only one of the following experiential offerings:

  • an MBCL Foundation Course (minimum 3 days) - see also www.compassionateliving.info or www.mbcl.org for different options.
  • an eight-week MBCL training as a participant with a qualified MBCL teacher; Courses in various countries and languages can be found here Find an MBCL Teacher
  • an MBCL retreat (see the websites of the teachers)
  • an online eight-week MBCL training with one of the teachers, such as offered in Autumn 2020. Click here for more information.
  • an online MBCL training with one of the teachers in another format, such as the one offered by the IMA in early 2021 by Erik van den Brink, six half-days weekly, beginning February 9, 2021.
  • Participants must have adequate communication skills in English.
  • Participants must be familiar with using the online ZOOM video platform and willing to engage in mindful inquiry into their experiences through online sharing in larger and smaller groups. This includes interpersonal work in twos or threes in breakout rooms.
  • Participants are responsible for ensuring a good internet connection and a suitable PC, laptop or other device with adequate video and sound systems. Use of a smart phone is not recommended.

Dates and times:

Friday, March 18, 2022(Erik van den Brink)9.00 – 12.30 and 14.30-17.30 CET
Friday, April 1, 2022(Frits Koster)9.00 – 12.30 and 14.30-17.30 CET
Friday, April 15,2022(Erik van den Brink)9.00 – 12.30 and 14.30-17.30 CET
Friday, April 29 2022(Frits Koster)9.00 – 12.30 and 14.30-17.30 CET
Friday, May 13 2022(Erik van den Brink)9.00 – 12.30 and 14.30-17.30 CET
Friday, June 3, 2022(Frits Koster)9.00 – 12.30 and 14.30-17.30 CET

Additional information

The maximum number of participants is 18 participants. The online programme can take place with a minimum of 10 participants.

Zoom will be used as an internet application; it will offer interpersonal options, such as breakout rooms, chat and pin-up. This requires a suitable internet connection and a well-functioning device. Technical instruction in the use of ZOOM will not be offered. However, ZOOM provides excellent online tutorials

Course Fee: 1000,- Euro (Payable at the time of registration)

How to register

Please download the registration documents and fill out the registration form.

You will receive a confirmation by E-Mail when your application form has been received.
Please return the form to the IMA:

By email: jana.willms@ias-service.center


Erik van den Brink

is a psychiatrist/psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher/trainer. He 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 in the ambulant mental-health services in the city of Groningen. Since its founding in 2007, he was involved with the Center for Integrative Psychiatry, an innovative mental-health clinic, and he currently works at a psycho-oncological center. He is particularly 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 has a long-standing personal meditation practice and was trained by founding teachers in MBSR/MBCT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy, Mindful Self-Compassion 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. Website: www.mbcl.org

Frits Koster

is a Vipassana meditation teacher and a certified teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). He has also trained and worked as a psychiatric nurse. He has taught mindfulness in mental health settings, including clinics and hospitals, for many years. He has been practicing Theravada Buddhism for more than 35 years and lived as a Buddhist monk in Thailand for six years in the 1980s. He has been leading Vipassana retreats and courses since the 1980s. He is a member of the faculty of the Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches (IMA), the Institute for Mindfulness (IvM) in the Netherlands as well as various mindfulness training institutes across Europe.
He was trained by founding teachers in Compassion Focused Therapy, Mindful Self-Compassion and Interpersonal Mindfulness (Insight Dialogue). He is the author of several books, including Liberating Insight, Buddhist Meditation as Stress Management and The Web of Buddhist Wisdom. Thailand: Silkwormbooks. With Erik van den Brink he developed the MBCL programme and co-authored several publications. Website: www.compassionateliving.info