MBCL Online Teacher Training_2

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

Please note, that there has been a change in dates.

Orientation: Monday 30th October 2023 - 15.30-17.30 CET

6 x Wednesday
November 1st - December 20th 2023


Erik van den Brink

MD Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist and Senior Mindfulness Trainer

Co-Founder of MBCL

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 as a post graduate education 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:

  • A MBCL Foundation Course (on location or online, minimum 3 days)
    - see also or for different options.
  • An 8-week MBCL training (on location or online) as a participant with a qualified MBCL teacher.
    - Courses in various countries and languages can be found here: Find a qualified MBCL Teacher
  • A residential MBCL Retreat
    - see also or
  • 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 two´s or three´s 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.
  • Participants should be willing to spend a minimum of 11 hours of their own time to do preparatory work in-between sessions, individually and in small groups. They should also allow for reading time and individual practice time.
  • Required reading:
    Participants are required to purchase and read the following book in advance: A pracital guide to Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living - Living with heart by Erik van den Brink and Frits Koster, with Victoria Norton (Routledge, 2018), a self-help guide and workbook to be used by participants of a standard MBCL course.
  • Optional reading:
    Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living - A New Training Programme to Deepen Mindfulness with Heartfulness by Erik van den Brink and Frits Koster (Routledge, 2015), textbook for professionals which includes a middle part with practical guidance, taking the reader through the course experientially.
    Both books come with downloadable audios and worksheets.

MBCL Teaching Qualification

Two Paths...


the participant must be qualified as a mindfulness teacher (MBSR or MBCT or equvalent, e.g. Breathworks) form a recognized training institute. On successful completion of the MBCL TT Programme, and following a minimum of 3 hours of supervision during teaching MBCL to groups, one can obtain A-registration as an MBCL teacher and offer the formal MBCL-programme as an advanced course to participants who completed a basic mindfulness course (MBSR/MBCT/Breathworks).


the participant may be qualified in a (mental) health or other helping profession without MBSR/MBCT teacher qualification. They should have followed basic training and gained experience in mindfulness-based interventions (e.g. ACT, DBT, MBCT) and/or wish to do the MBCL training to deepen their own praactice and their therapeutic or conseling skills with mindfulness-based and compassion-focused interventions.

For this group the minimum requirements are, that one has followe an eight-week MBSR/MBCT course and has at least one year regular practice in mindfulness meditation. Those beloning to this group can obtain B-registration as a professional, who has been trained in guiding exercises and working with material from the MBCL programme and applies this in their own work setting within the ethical guidelines of their profession, individually or in groups.

Please note: One can only register as a formal MBCL-teacher and offer the full MBCL-programme under its name, when one is also a formaal MBSR or MBCT teacher.


Monday, October 30, 2023----
15.30 - 17.30 CE: Orientation
Wednesday, November 1, 2023----
9.00 - 13.00 and 14.30 - 17.30 CET
Wednesday, November 8, 2023----
9.00 - 13.00 and 14.30 - 17.30 CET
Wednesday, November 22, 2023 ----
9.00 - 13.00 and 14.30 - 17.30 CET
Wednesday, November 29, 2023----
9.00 - 13.00 and 14.30 - 17.30 CET
Wednesday, December 13, 2023----
9.00 - 13.00 and 14.30 - 17.30 CET
Wednesday, December 20, 2023----
9.00 - 13.00 and 14.30 - 17.30 CET

Course Fee:

1.200,- 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:

Time investment

There will be 41 hours of online teaching and a minimum of 11 hours of self-arranged study, of which 5 online meetings of 1.5 hours for practice in small groups, 1.5 hours for praparation of didactic themes, and on two occasions an hour of mindful sharing in subgroups with one of the tutors, focusing on one´s individual processes during the course. In addition, participants are expected to commit themselves to individual practice time and reading time depending on their individual learning needs. The teachers will also be available for individual email contact as required.

Additional information

There will be a maximum number of 18 participants. The online programme can take place with a minimum of 9 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.


Erik van den Brink

studied medicine in Amsterdam and trained and worked in psychiatriy in the UK. From his return to the Netherlands in 1995 until 2015 he worked as a pychiatrist/psychotherapist inn 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, annd 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 and was one of the pioneers introducing mindfulness-based and compassion focused interventins in mental health services in the North of Holland. He developed as a mindfulness teacher and trainer based o 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-Compassionn, Mindfulness-Based Supervisionn, 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.