Australian MBSR/MBCT teacher certification in an international context

MTIA is part of a global network of teacher training organizations which are working towards international agreements on mindfulness teacher training pathways, standards and certification protocols so that the standard of MBI teaching can be fostered and maintained. 

Relationship with the Center for Mindfulness, UMass?

This important question often comes up for those who are wishing to train in MBSR in Australia.  The CFM has been the mother of the powerful transmission of its profound mindfulness based work, initiated by Jon Kabat-Zinn’s vision, for over thirty years.  It is through the CFM’s careful stewardship that MBIs have flourished, and grown across the world. MTIA teachers have strong personal and professional relationships with the CFM and have been involved in ongoing training, supervision and collaboration over the years, and this involvement is continuing. 

For many years, the CFM did informally support Timothea Goddard (one of the MTIA directors) to offer MBSR training in this part of the world (offered through Openground).  This Australian-based training did allow people to go on to attend the other CFM trainings and to eventually get certified by the CFM (although not many Australian teachers have applied for formal certification by the CFM).  

This situation has now changed, as the growing popularity of MBI’s worldwide has led to a process of defining and refining relationships in the  world of professional training in the MBIs. Many training organizations (including the CFM and the MTIA) are in the process of deciding on an affiliation model which will work for each organization. To be clear, at this point, the CFM does not accredit any other training programs in MBSR other than their own OASIS program (except the one run by a senior CMF teacher, Bob Stahl, in California.)   Neither do they recognize any aspects of other training programs across the world; to be certified by the CFM, you now have to attend each level of their training pathway, none of which are offered in Australia.

Moving forward

As stated above, the MTIA is participating in an international network of teacher training organizations (of which the CFM will be a member), in order to create more clarity and cohesion on issues of standards and recognition.   The UK MBI community (at Oxford, Bangor and Exeter universities) has been initiating this and the CFM and many other training organizations in the world will be involved in meetings addressing these issues this year.  MTIA have established an Asia Pacific chapter of this world network with colleagues who are offering MBI teacher training in Hong Kong and Korea.   This group involves senior MBSR teachers who have been trained and certified by the CFM and who offer supervision for the CFM, and MBCT teachers who have been trained by Mark Williams in the UK. 

Shared world standards

In the last year the organizations involved in the international network (including the CFM and MTIA) have moved towards adopting a standard tool for the assessment of competency of teachers so that standards of teaching can be maintained across the world.  This tool is called Mindfulness Based Interventions -Teaching Assessment Criteria (MBI-TAC). We hope that eventually the certification of teachers can be a collaborative one, with assessors of any training organisation being assessed by members of an international panel – an excellent way of maintaining standards across the globe.

Please be in touch with Timothea Goddard to discuss choices about your pathway of training or any other concerns related to certification. 

Mindfulness Training Institute - Australia & New Zealand (MTI)