Does Training Matter for Mindfulness Teachers?

SitSiteIts a wonderful thing that mindfulness is proliferating across the United States – even here in the heartland of the midwest. More and more opportunities for classes, workshops, and trainings are available to people at all levels of interest and skill. With an increase in the choices available locally, one might wonder, “Do mindfulness instructor credentials matter?” Additional research is needed, but currently the data is showing that instructor training does indeed matter. Studies suggest that a higher level of Mindfulness Based Intervention teacher training may be linked to higher wellbeing outcomes, lower perceived stress, and greater service satisfaction among participants.

Training for mindfulness teachers generally includes participation in the course one wishes to teach, a strong and consistent personal practice including attending teacher led silent mediation retreats, basic and/or intensive teacher training in the course one wishes to teach, mentoring by an approved provider, and a minimum level of teaching experience. Some programs like Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy also require the teacher (or at least one co-teacher) to be a licensed mental health professional.

When choosing a mindfulness class, course or workshop, look closely at the instructor’s credentials and experience. Is there an indication of the above mentioned qualifications? It can also be helpful to ask about other’s experience with the teacher – are there ratings or testimonials available? Although no amount of credentials or positive reviews can guarantee a good experience, taking the time to do a little research about your teacher will increase the odds that you will make a satisfactory investment of your time and money.

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