The MBCT Training Pathway

The MBCT Training Pathway

The Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Training Pathway sets out a framework for training MBCT teachers (1). The intention in setting out this pathway is to help potential MBCT teachers identify appropriate training and to support colleagues around the world to develop MBCT training programmes.

The Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Training Pathway

Why publish an MBCT Training Pathway?
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (2; MBCT) has a growing evidence base both for its effectiveness and its cost-effectiveness (3, 4). It is increasingly being cited in clinical guidelines and there is a growing demand from people who wish to participate in MBCT programmes and organisations that wish to offer MBCT. To make MBCT accessible requires training sufficient numbers of MBCT teachers. Effectiveness and sustainability will be determined by the quality of this training. An MBCT teacher who starts teaching MBCT in their mid 30’s and teachers four classes a year will touch the lives of 1800 course participants in their career. A graduating cohort of 20 MBCT teachers could affect the lives of more than 30,000 people. Some of these MBCT teachers will go on to become supervisors and trainers. It is therefore a good investment to take great care with training programmes to ensure that they are of the very highest quality.

How does the MBCT Training Pathway fit in with other developments?

An MBCT teacher training pathway sits alongside both good practice guidelines and criteria for assessing teaching quality such as those in the Mindfulness-based Interventions Teaching Assessment Criteria (MBI-TAC) (5, 6). When these three pieces are in place, it is possible to list MBCT teachers, MBCT supervisors and MBCT training organisations, as for example the UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisations has done for both MBCT teachers and training organisations and the Mindfulness Network CIC has done for MBCT supervisors. This is a step the recent Mindful Nation UK called for when considering how to serve and safeguard the public who want to know how to find a good MBCT teacher (7).

What does the training pathway comprise?

The MBCT Training Pathway includes: the pre-requisites for anyone wishing to train as an MBCT teacher, the learning outcomes for any training programme and three steps from foundational training (basic training), to becoming a competent MBCT teacher (intermediate training), to proficiency (advanced training).

How was it developed?

The pathway is based on the training pathway set out in the Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy treatment manual (2), and is based on expert opinion and consensus. It also references the training that was completed by MBCT teachers in the clinical trials that inform the evidence base for MBCT. It takes care to ensure it is consistent with the broader guidelines for mindfulness-based interventions such as the UK Network Good Practice Guidelines and the Mindfulness-based Programmes International Integrity Network.

Where can I access the MBCT Training Pathway?

You can download the MBCT Training Pathway here: MBCT Training Pathway Final_Version1 0_07_Oct_2016

What next?

The hope is that these guidelines will support good practice. They are offered with an expectation that they will evolve as the evidence base on how best to train MBCT teachers develops.

Willem Kuyken

Declaration of interest

Professor Willem Kuyken receives no payment for public engagement or consultancy, and any remuneration is paid in full to the not-for-profit charity Oxford Mindfulness Foundation. He is Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and Principal Investigator of several NIHR and Wellcome Trust grants evaluating MBCT. Willem is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford.


1 Segal Z, Williams JMG, Teasdale JD, et al. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy Training Pathway. 2016.
2 Segal ZV, Williams JMG, Teasdale JD. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression. Second edition ed. New York: Guilford Press; 2013.
3 Gotink RA, Chu P, Busschbach JJV, Benson H, Fricchione GL, Hunink MGM. Standardised Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Healthcare: An Overview of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses of RCTs. Plos One. 2015 Apr 16;10(4).
4 Kuyken W, Warren F, Taylor RS, et al. Efficacy and moderators of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in prevention of depressive relapse: An individual patient data meta-analysis from randomized trials. Journal of the American Medical Association: Psychiatry. 2016 Apr 27.
5 Crane RS, Eames C, Kuyken W, et al. Development and validation of the Mindfulness-Based Interventions – Teaching Assessment Criteria (MBI:TAC). Assessment. 2013 Dec;20(6):681-8.
6 Crane RS, Kuyken W, Williams JMG, Hastings RP, Cooper L, Fennell M. Competence in teaching mindfulness-based courses: Concepts, development and assessment. Mindfulness. 2012;3:8.
7 Mindfulness All Party Parliamentary Group. Mindful Nation UK. Westminster, London, UK; 2015.

Oxford Mindfulness Centre

The Oxford Mindfulness Centre (OMC) is an internationally recognised centre of excellence at the University of Oxford, and has been at the forefront of research and development in the field of mindfulness. The OMC works to advance the understanding of evidence-based mindfulness through research, publication, training and dissemination. Our world leading research investigates the mechanisms, efficacy, effectiveness, cost effectiveness and implementation of mindfulness. We offer a wide range of training, education, and clinical services, all taught by leading experts and teachers in the field, who are training the next generation of MBCT researchers, teachers and trainers. We actively engage in collaborative partnership to shape the field and influence policy nationally and internationally. Through the charitable work of the OMC, we are improving the accessibility of MBCT for those most in need.

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