Course Information

Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living Residential Teacher Training Programme

When: 29 Oct 2018 – 4 Nov 2018
Where: Emerson College, East Sussex
Tutors: Bridgette O’Neill, Erik Van den Brink

This residential teacher training programme enables participants to complete modules 1 and 2 of the MBCL teacher training. The process is held within a retreat atmosphere, the formal teaching being embedded in silent practice, individually and in the group. The learning objectives and content of the programme include: 

Course Structure:

Module 1 MBCL Teacher-Training Programme (days 1-3)

Learning Objectives of Module 1:

  • 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.

 Content of Module 1:

  • 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 wellbeing 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.
  • tend & befriend as a fourth reaction to stress in addition to fight, flight & freeze.
  • the psychological expressions of fight, flight & freeze: self-hatred, self-isolation and over-identification; and their antidotes: self-kindness, common humanity & mindfulness.
  • dealing with desires 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 limitless qualities: compassion, loving kindness, joy and equanimity.
  • compassion in action and practical ethics.

 Module 2 MBCL Teacher-Training Programme (days 4-6) 

Learning Objectives of Module 2 

  • deepening the understanding of the structure and content of MBCL.
  • learning how to teach the curriculum and how to guide MBCL exercises.
  • lntroduction 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 Module 2

  • 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:
    1. evolutionary perspectives
    2. high and low routes toward compassion
    3. the plasticity of the brain
    4. the physiology of the breath
    5. individual and gender differences
    6. different attachment styles
    7. MBCL and psychiatric disorders
    8. MBCL in private practice settings
    9. Content and attitude in communication
    10. The differences and common ground between psychotherapy and MBCL training

 Requirements to attend:

All Applicants are required to have completed the following requirements from either A or B, depending on which applies to you and your background:


One of the following courses/retreats or

Plus one of the following:

    • qualified as a mindfulness teacher (MBSR or MBCT, or equivalent, e.g. Breathworks) from a recognised 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). This is in line with the Good Practice Guidelines for Mindfulness-Based teaching in the UK. As this is a postgraduate education, one is expected to have the professional integrity and responsibility to judge when one is ready to offer MBCL independently. Those who do not feel confident to do so as yet after the TT, are advised to seek further training and supervision and/or obtain experience as a co-teacher.
    • Those who have almost completed their mindfulness teacher training and have an aspirant registration can also apply for the MBCL TT programme. However, they only obtain their A-registration following completion of their training and full professional registration as a mindfulness teacher.


  • 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 training to deepen their own practice and their therapeutic or counseling skills with mindfulness-based and compassion-focused interventions. For this group, the minimum requirements are that one has followed an eight-week MBSR/MBCT course and has at least one year regular practice in mindfulness meditation. Those belonging to this group can obtain B-registration as a professional being trained in guiding exercises and working with material from the MBCL programme and applying this in their own professional 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 formal MBSR or MBCT teacher.

About the teachers:

Bridgette O\’Neill

Erik van den Brink


Please arrive by 2pm on 29th October. The retreat will finish by 12.30pm on the last day, followed by lunch.


Emerson College Forest Row, East Sussex  RH18 5JX

Emerson College is situated on the South Downs near Ashdown Forest – the largest forest in the south of England – on the outskirts of the village of Forest Row in East Sussex. London is 30 miles to the North and Brighton and the South Coast are about 50 minutes drive to the South. London Gatwick airport is 30 minutes drive in a westerly direction and Royal Tunbridge Wells is 20 minutes drive to the east. 

What to bring/wear:

Some mats, cushions and blankets will be provided. However the quantity of equipment will be limited, so please bring your own equipment if possible. 

Our full rates have no hidden extras and include VAT, deposit, teaching, room and board. 

  • Full rate for PRIVATE accommodation (1 to a room): £925.00 inc VAT and £200.00 deposit. Please note that we cannot guarantee that PRIVATE rooms are ensuite, since most venues have very limited numbers of ensuite rooms.

The Application Process: 

Our application and payment process involves the following steps:

  1. We receive your application form and assess it to ensure that this retreat is suitable for you. We endeavour to make assessments within a week, but if the retreat leader is on annual leave or on retreat, then this can take a little bit longer.

  2. Upon offering you a place, we will then invoice you either for the non- refundable deposit (£200.00 non-refundable deposit for PRIVATE accommodation) or for the full amount, depending which option you choose when you complete your application or if you are applying less than four months prior to the retreat. 

  3. Your place is fully confirmed once we receive your deposit or full retreat payment.

  4. If you selected to pay the deposit only, we will invoice you for the balance by three months before the retreat starts.

  5. We will email you the joining instructions in advance of the course.

Payment and Cancellation Policy:

Please read our Terms and Conditions for information regarding payments and cancellations.

For more information:

Please email us at

Ready to apply?

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