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beyond beginners

Retreat: Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living (in-person)

April 21, 2024 @ 4:00 pm - April 26, 2024 @ 12:30 pm BST


What’s involved?

This retreat provides an opportunity to explore the framework of the mindfulness-based compassionate living programme within a retreat setting.

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 programme that supports the development and training of compassion (including self-compassion) to enhance physical, emotional, and relational health and well-being. It is grounded in science and integrates the work of Paul Gilbert (Compassion-Focused Therapy) and Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer (Mindful Self-Compassion) as well as elements of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Positive Psychology. The MBCL programme is suitable as an advanced course after having followed mindfulness training (MBSR, MBCT, or equivalent). It was originally developed in a mental health setting but the scope of its application extends much further. It can be helpful to anyone – care-seeker or caregiver – wishing to deepen mindfulness with ‘heartfulness’.

The Retreat Programme:

There will be a daily meditation programme, with formal guided practice sessions in the mornings, afternoons, and some evenings, offering practices from the MBCL programme. Some themes in these formal sessions will be explored with Interpersonal Mindfulness practices. Outside these formal sessions, the retreat setting will offer ample space for individual silent sitting practice, yoga, or walking meditation. The guidance by the tutors includes guided meditations and exercises, inquiry, and teachings during the formal sessions and meetings with participants in small groups or individually at request.

Content of the formal practice sessions:

Although the emphasis is on experiential work, embedded in silence, key themes of the MBCL curriculum will be integrated into the teachings, such as the evolutionary perspective and multi-layered brain; the three basic emotion regulation (threat, drive, and soothing) systems and how to cultivate a healthy balance; understanding of stress reactions like fight, flight, freeze and tend & befriend, including their psychological equivalents and how to compassionately deal with them; cultivating a compassionate mind and an inner helper; over-identifying and de-identifying; common humanity and the Four Friends for Life (a secular naming for the Brahmaviharas): loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. Key practices include soothing breathing rhythm, compassionate imagery (safe place, compassionate companion, embodying compassion); dealing compassionately with resistance, desire, and limiting habitual 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; informal practices for daily life.

Further details about the MBCL programme can be found in the following book: A Practical Guide to Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living – Living with Heart by Erik van den Brink & Frits Koster, with Victoria Norton (Routledge, 2018). This is a self-help guide and workbook used by participants in a standard MBCL course.

Who is the retreat for?

This retreat is intended for those with an established mindfulness practice and is particularly aimed at mindfulness teachers, therapists, healthcare workers, counsellors, and other professionals working with mindfulness-based interventions, who wish to deepen their personal meditation with compassion- focussed practices.

This retreat will help mindfulness teachers who wish to be included on the UK Network Listing of Mindfulness Teachers fulfil the requirement to attend an annual mindfulness retreat.

Requirements to attend:

Completion of an 8-week MBSR or MBCT course or equivalent mindfulness training.

Please ensure you are able to attend the entire event. If this is not possible, please contact us to discuss it before submitting an application.

Event Details

April 21, 2024 @ 4:00 pm BST
April 26, 2024 @ 12:30 pm BST
Event Category:
Mode of Attendance:
Event Mindfulness Approach:
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL)


The Nightingale Centre
Great Hucklow
Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 8RH United Kingdom
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01298 871218
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Partner Profile

The Mindfulness Network

The Mindfulness Network

Registered Jun 2020
Training Partner


The Mindfulness Network is a registered charity. We serve the mindfulness community and general public through supervision, retreats and training courses delivered both in-person and via our online platform - the Mindfulness Network Community site. The Mindfulness Network Community Friends (MNCF) is an initiative to engage the wider mindfulness community and reach new audiences through donation-based events and opportunities to practice. Led by a Committee of Volunteers, supported by the Mindfulness Network, we work together to run a programme of events and inspiring content. By developing mindfulness and compassion both internally and through our services, the Mindfulness Network has the intention to reduce/alleviate human suffering, promote well-being and create the conditions in which people, communities and the planet, can flourish. We aim to bring together highly-trained mindfulness-based supervisors, retreat leaders and teacher trainers who all work within Good Practice Standards set out by the British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches (BAMBA).


0330 001 5334


BARNET, United Kingdom