Teaching MBCT in China

Teaching MBCT in China

Part of the OMC's mission is to help train the next generation of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy teachers and increase access to high-quality MBCT, both in the UK and internationally. In April Willem Kuyken, Mark Williams and colleagues visited Hong Kong and mainland China to train 150 people in MBCT and speak at the 2nd National Mindfulness Conference in Nanjing.

First stop was Hong Kong, where OMC Founding Director and Honorary Senior Research Fellow Mark Williams taught on the MBCT Foundations Course with S. Helen Ma, OMC Associate and Founding Teacher of the Hong Kong Center for Mindfulness.


Willem Kuyken, OMC Director joined Mark Williams at the next destination, Shanghai, to co-teach a six-day residential foundational training for 150 people from all over China. The first three days was an experiential seed training, giving participants a chance to experience MBCT as a participant. The second three days provided a chance for participants to begin teaching MBCT in pairs to one another. This training is the first of what we hope will be a set of modules offered to support MBCT teachers work towards competency. Alongside this work we are building a critical mass of supervisors and trainers in China.Many of these supervisors and trainers are skilled in both MBSR and MBCT. The training ended with a panel discussion with Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mark Williams, Helen Ma, Willem Kuyken and Hui-Qi Tong (Assistant Clinical Professor at University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine). The training was a successful partnership with the Shangai Mental Health Centre and the California Institute for Health.

The next destination for Willem was Nanjing, China, to provide a keynote and workshop along with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Hui-Qi Tong for 350 Chinese delegates at the Second Chinese Mindfulness Academic Conference, hosted by the Chinese Mindfulness Academic group, Chinese Psychology Society and Nanjing University.


Meanwhile Mark travelled on to Beijing to teach two days of specialist MBCT masterclasses.


Jon Kabat-Zinn is an OMC International Advisor and was the Founding Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is teaching an OMC masterclass in London in June. Dr. Tong is the Associate Director and Adjunct Professor for the Global Masters’ Program-China at Palo Alto University.

The keynote on 19th April, “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression across the lifespan“, gave an overview of the theoretical premise for MBCT, recent effectiveness/implementation evidence, and how MBCT works.

The workshop on “The Science and Practice of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy: Mindfulness and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy” explores a number of questions and themes such as the evidence base for MBCT and what is learned during mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. It also comprises a number of mindfulness practices and exercises. The workshop is aimed at psychiatry residents, students, therapists and other mental health professionals who already have some familiarity with mindfulness but are looking for an up-to-date overview of the field and a deepening of their understanding and practice.