Choosing a mindfulness teacher

by Danny Jolly

This short blog is intended to offer some information and guidance to those interested in attending a mindfulness class/course, why it’s important to choose an adequately experienced and trained teacher, plus how to find one.

Mindfulness-Based Approaches support us in turning toward difficult experiences with compassion and curiosity, so that we become more familiar with our patterns of reactivity and can learn to work with them more effectively. This may be challenging for participants as well as teachers. Therefore, it is crucial that mindfulness teachers complete rigorous training and engage with continual professional development, so that they can support participants through this process. With the explosion of mindfulness in the media in recent years there are inevitably many different organisations offering teacher training. Some of these trainings are only a few days long and don’t require the prospective teacher to have any experience of mindfulness meditation. This begs the question, how can a mindfulness teacher guide a participant through an 8-week course and the challenge this entails, if they haven’t completed the course themselves?

Contemporary mindfulness courses are relatively recent modalities, so there is no regulatory body for mindfulness teachers in the UK. However, the British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches (BAMBA) are leading the way in providing Good Practice Guidelines (GPGs) for mindfulness teachers, which describe the minimum standards of training, experience and ongoing professional practice needed to safely and effectively teach 8-week mindfulness programmes. The training organisations affiliated to BAMBA include four UK universities undertaking scientific research into mindfulness and providing in-depth teacher training – Oxford, Exeter, Bangor and Aberdeen.

To register with BAMBA, teachers must have attended an 8-Week mindfulness course and had a daily personal practice for the next 12 months. Then, provide evidence of a recognised training pathway of at least 12 months and teach two courses under supervision. Lastly, they are required to confirm adherence to the GPGs and obtain a statement from their supervisor confirming they are ready to teach. Be prepared to ask a teacher about their training, a properly trained teacher will be only too pleased to help. Look out for the BAMBA logo on their website or literature and check their membership using the link under ‘How to find a teacher’ below.

The universities of Oxford, Exeter and Bangor have collectively produced guidance for assessing teacher training called the Mindfulness-Based Interventions: Teaching Assessment Criteria (MBI:TAC). This assessment tool is informed by ongoing empirical research and practice.

How to find a teacher

Those interested in finding a teacher can search on the BAMBA website using location, teacher name or the mindfulness-based approach they are interested in. BAMBA also provide a list of affiliated teacher training organisations who adhere to BAMBA’s protocols, enabling graduates to become listed members. 

You can be reassured that I am registered with BAMBA and my training has been assessed in accordance with the MBI:TAC. I also hold professional indemnity and public liability insurance. Read more information about my training and teaching

Thank you for reading this blog, I’d  be pleased to discuss any questions – please  email danny@jollymindfulness.com or call/message on 07824 664571. It would be great to hear from you!

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