Did you know anyone can say they are a mindfulness teacher regardless of their training or background? This can lead to ineffective or harmful mindfulness teaching resulting in a lack of confidence in the profession. The UK Mindfulness Network for Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisations, comprising of the leading mindfulness teacher training programmes in the UK including Oxford, Exeter and Bangor Universities, are tackling this by developing a voluntary database of teachers who have met their Good Practice Guidelines for teaching mindfulness-based courses. These guidelines ensure your teacher knows what they are doing and will keep you safe throughout the duration of the course. This is particularly important with vulnerable people such as children and those with physical and mental health conditions. You can be assured that the teachers on this list are delivering the safest, most effective, evidence-based and up-to-date mindfulness programmes available.
The Good Practice Guidelines are rigorous and take a minimum of 18 months to achieve. We need to have a professional qualification in healthcare, social care or education and registration with the appropriate regulatory bodies for that profession. We need to have therapeutic or teaching experience with the populations we will be working with. Mindfulness specific training starts with participation on an 8 week Mindfulness Course followed by 6 months of developing a personal mindfulness practice. In effect, we have to practice what we teach. After this we take part in a 1 year supervised learning pathway through attendance of courses and supervision. We will have regular contact with an approved supervisor, ongoing continuing professional development and contact with other teachers to learn from our shared experiences. We all carry liability insurance.
Meeting these guidelines is no easy task, it’s expensive and it is still voluntary. Because of this there are many good mindfulness teachers out there who are not yet on the UK Mindfulness Network for Mindfulness Based Teacher Training Organisations Listing. However to ensure the integrity of mindfulness teaching I can see a time where you will not be able to call yourself a mindfulness teacher unless you have been approved to teach by the UK Mindfulness Network. I am glad there is a movement to regulate mindfulness teaching, and I’m proud to be one of the teachers on this list.