Mindfulness courses typically last for 8 weeks and are a tried and tested way of learning to develop a mindfulness practice and supporting wellbeing.
Types of courses
There are variations in the focus and naming of mindfulness courses, so it's best to speak to the teacher to assess whether the course is the right one for you.
Three course types you may come across are:
- mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
- mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and
- mindfulness-based pain and illness management (MBPM)
MBSR and MBPM courses were originally developed for people suffering from chronic pain and illness. MBCT was initially developed to help people with recurring depression. Mindfulness courses have now been developed and adapted to meet the needs of wide groups of people whilst still remaining true to the evidence base and intentions of these original courses.
The importance of the teacher
Mindfulness courses like MBSR, MBCT and MBPM have been well researched and offer tried and tested methods for developing a mindfulness practice. Learning mindfulness can be very powerful but also sometimes challenging and potentially unsettling. Having an experienced teacher has been highlighted as an important factor in mindfulness courses. Whilst there is thus far no legal regulation, there is now a national List of Mindfulness Teachers who have been approved as following the good practice guidelines for teaching mindfulness courses in the UK. Teachers who adhere to these guidelines have received professional training, have their own mindfulness practice and receive ongoing supervision to support safe and high quality teaching. The list is a new process and it will take some time before all teachers appear on the website - we'd suggest asking your mindfulness teacher if this is something they are working towards.
We recommend seeking out teachers who are committed to following the UK Good Practice Guidelines when searching for a course.
It is important to consider timing and your support needs when enrolling on a mindfulness course. Trained mindfulness teachers offer an orientation to the programme and this is an opportunity to explore your needs and decide if a mindfulness course is right for you. If you are currently unwell, we recommend speaking to a member of your health team.
It may be helpful to explore these Questions to Ask when considering enrolling on a course.