Recommendations as Guidelines to Become Teachers/Trainers
Common and effective approaches using mindfulness-based interventions, skills and practices include Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR via Jon Kabat-Zinn), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT via Zindel Segal, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT via Steven Hayes), and Breathwork Mindfulness-Based Approaches to Pain and Illness (MBPI via Vidyamala Burch). There are other mindfulness-based approaches; however, the first three noted and their integration in MBPI have received a greater level of research support in recent years.
School-based mindfulness intervention for teachers and student most often include direct replications from the above-noted approaches or somewhat watered down adjustments of the same. An important reality in school-based interventions is it’s massive growth in popularity. To maintain effective outcomes, it is necessary to maintain validity and reliability of such interventions – for teachers/trainers of these approaches to not only understand the interventions but also be practitioners on their own. In all activities, strive to DO NO HARM.
The following recommendations are presented as guidelines for those who wish to become teachers/trainers in these mindfulness-based programs:
1) Participation in and completion of a course or curriculum directly derived from one of the approaches noted above;
2) Personal in-depth practice of meditation and mindfulness skills from one or more of the noted programs ( the author recommends no less than five years of personal meditation or yoga practice as a prerequisite to teaching it);
3) About a year of formal supervision or consultation in teaching/training components of one or more of the programs noted above – peer supervision may be enough if all parties are well trained and experienced in practice;
4) Documented professional work experience in the setting where the teaching/training will occur – for example psychological or physical health care, education, community or organizational improvement, etc.;
5) Strong knowledge and understanding of the audience population, to which mindfulness-based teaching/training will be offered – solely as a trainer or in cooperation with others who hold these qualification;
6) Regarding teaching/training in MBSR, MBCT, MBPI, and ACT – clinical knowledge and understanding of the psychological and/or physical conditions the mindfulness-based approaches will be used for;
7) Continued day-to-day personal practice in mindfulness and meditation as well as yearly continuing education or retreat-based activities;
8) Continued commitment to practice and to reading current research studies about these mindfulness-based practices;
9) Continued interactions with others with similar or stronger credentials and experience in these practices; and,
10) Upholding codes of ethics with respect to the professional qualifications of the teacher/trainer – more than one code may apply.
You can see that maintaining strong standards for pre-teaching/training and on-going teaching/training in mindfulness-based approaches is required to ensure effectiveness of the interventions, and to ensure that we DO NO HARM in the process.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
Author of Mindful Happiness
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