Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL)

In the Netherlands, Frits Koster and Erik van den Brink have set up a training programme in the mental health services for groups of clients who wish to learn how to deal in a healthy way with pain, stress or suffering, in whatever form it presents – physical, mental, emotional or relational. Those already familiar with mindfulness practice and who have already followed a mindfulness-based training (e.g. MBSR or MBCT) can deepen the healing effects of mindfulness with the help of this program, which offers exercises in cultivating compassion for ourselves and others. The programme is called Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL); it follows the model of the MBSR/MBCT course (8 sessions of 2,5 hours and an extra session in silence) and is particularly suitable for those who find mindfulness practice beneficial but have difficulty integrating it into their daily lives and develop a kind and compassionate attitude towards themselves.

The training is based on a scientific understanding of the importance of (self-)compassion and positive effects of most components have been separately demonstrated in studies among clinical and non-clinical populations. The training in this format is relatively new and currently in the pilot phase of research. The first results are very positive. The content is inspired on the work of, among others, Paul Gilbert (The Compassionate Mind, Constable 2009), Christopher Germer (The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, Guilford 2009); Kristin Neff (Self-Compassion,  Morrow 2011), Tara Brach (Radical Acceptance, Random House 2003) and Rick Hanson (Buddha’s Brain, New Harbinger 2009).