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Compassion: Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living Foundation Course
June 2, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - June 21, 2023 @ 8:00 pm BST
Dates and Times:
Friday 2nd June: Orientation session 6 – 8pm
Saturday 3rd June: 10am – 4.30pm
Wednesdays 7th, 14th and 21st June: 4pm – 8pm
Please arrive online a few minutes before the start time.
All times are UK, BST (British Summer Time). If you are attending from a different time zone, please check equivalent timings in your time zone.
What is Compassion?
Compassion is the capacity to be sensitive to the suffering of ourselves and others and the willingness to relieve and prevent it (Paul Gilbert, 2014). It is a capacity inherent in all of us but for many reasons does not always come to flourish. Fortunately, it can be trained, developed and deepened through practice. Compassion is characterised by kindness and receptivity as well as courage and responsibility. Many believe compassion should be directed towards others rather than ourselves but self-compassion is not selfish. Research increasingly shows that self-compassion is – like mindfulness – key to mental health and goes hand in hand with greater openness and empathy towards others.
What is Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL)?
MBCL is a mindfulness-based eight-session course that supports the development and training of (self-)compassion to enhance physical, emotional and relational health and well-being. It is suitable as a follow-on course following foundational mindfulness-based programmes (MBSR, MBCT or equivalent).
Developed since 2008 by Erik van den Brink and Frits Koster, MBCL is grounded in science and in the decades-long experience of its two founders. Erik van den Brink brings to MBCL his experience as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, expert on mindfulness in mental health settings and long-time meditator. Frits Koster integrates his work as a Vipassana teacher, a trainer in MBSR & MBCT, his expertise in Buddhist psychology and his work as a mindfulness trainer for mental health professionals.
MBCL incorporates scientific insights, exercises and teachings gleaned from other compassion training methods as well as contemplative practices. It was originally developed in the ambulant mental health setting for clients who benefited from MBSR/MBCT and needed more support, particularly those with tendencies to be harsh with themselves, finding it difficult to receive kindness. MBCL is not aimed at specific diagnostic groups but – like MBSR – addresses unhealthy reactions and patterns contributing to suffering in general. So, clients vulnerable to depression, anxiety, burnout, chronic pain or fatigue, and various emotional and relational difficulties can all benefit. It soon turned out that the MBCL programme is also very helpful to professional caregivers, being vulnerable to symptoms of burnout. In recent years, MBCL has rapidly expanded beyond the mental health sector and is found to be helpful for anyone, professionals and non-professionals, having to live in a frantic world and wishing to deepen mindfulness with ‘heartfulness’.
What does the online MBCL programme offer?
In this online course, participants will experience key features of the MBCL curriculum, including the main themes as well as the major exercises.
Themes include: the evolutionary perspective and multi-layered brain; the three basic emotion regulation systems and the value of training our soothing system; expanding the stress theory with the psychological equivalents of the fight, flight, freeze and their antidotes self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness of suffering; tend and befriend; cultivating a compassionate mind and an inner helper rather than an inner bully; overidentifying and disidentifying; and Four Friends for Life: loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.
Exercises include: soothing breathing rhythm, compassionate imagery (safe place, compassionate companion, embodying compassion); dealing compassionately with resistance, desire, and maladaptive patterns; loving kindness towards ourselves and others; compassionate breathing; a compassionate body scan; walking and moving with kindness; compassionate letter writing; practising sympathetic joy, gratitude, forgiveness, and equanimity; and informal practices in daily life.
During the course, relevant scientific insights underpinning compassion training will be interwoven in the teaching.
Please note that this MBCL course meets the pre-requisite for the MBCL Teacher Training.