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International Integrity Network for Mindfulness

What we do

To globally regulate this kind of integrity and ethics, while honouring the individual wisdom and intentions of each teacher, the training organisations, and their founders, is a question that is worth all of us contemplating more deeply, and which will take more time and consideration.

Many of the participating organisations within our network already have clearly developed standards and criteria for teacher certification pathways, developed over many years, mutually supportive, and informed by growing evidenced-based scientific research outcomes. As this working group, the IIN has been collaborating to produce a Living Document, which we have attached to this letter. We wish to offer publicly, to all mindfulness teachers, teacher trainers, and aspiring MBP organisations, these developing documents that outline to date the essential guiding ethics and standards for teacher training within the MBP field. They frame an ongoing discussion for criteria that are subject to adaptations agreed to within regional or national networks of training institutes and teacher associations. We welcome all contact with us as this document continues to evolve.

Although, to our knowledge, we are the most internationally representative mindfulness teacher trainer network, we recognise that we still need input from important corners of the world and we are in the midst of rectifying this. We also recognise that whilst for some long established teacher training organisations these guidelines are imminently achievable, for other still developing training groups they remain aspirational and hopefully will provide a reference point for further development. These documents incorporate and acknowledge original work done by the CFM at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the UK Network’s Good Practice Guidelines, and in many countries of the European network EAMBA, in consultation with others around the world.

As the International Integrity Network our Vision and Mission remains: to be an international network that supports teachers and teacher trainers in maintaining the integrity of mindfulness based programs that are grounded in awareness, compassion and wisdom, upheld by an interconnected, diverse and global network dedicated to promoting health, well-being and ease for the benefit of all beings. Our values include those of transparency, kindness, generosity, authenticity, and accountability, grounded within an ethos of rigorous and ongoing training. Our mission is to attend to the training standards and accreditation of MBP training pathways, and to offer teachers and trainers support and educational services, while maintaining ethical standards and guidelines for good practice. We will also be documenting this further in greater depth with an article intended for completion soon, and hope to have greater public interaction with our new website that will become active in 2018.

We continue on this path of openness and inclusivity, welcoming of innovative, evidence-based, developing MBP programs worldwide. We strongly honour the depth, care, standards and attention to detail that longer-standing certifying bodies have taken in developing the relationships necessary for meaningful certification processes.

people

The International Integrity Network Committee

If you like what we do and want to know more

Timothea Goddard

Asia Pacific Network

Allan Goldstein

UCSD CFM, USA

Lot Heijke

the Netherlands, EAMBA

Günter Hudasch

Germany, EAMBA

Linda Kantor

Institute for Mindfulness South Africa

Maura Kenny

Asia Pacific Network

Lynn Koerbel

CFM at UMassMed, USA

Patricia Lück

Institute for Mindfulness South Africa

Dawn MacDonald

Compassion Project, Canada

Catherine Phillips

The Mindfulness Institute, Canada

Taravajra

UK Network for Mindfulness Based Teacher Training Organisations

Standards and ethics

We’ve drawn upon the many standards, pathways, procedures and criteria that have been developed over many years, and put into practice in various organizations and trainings, with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) being primary exemplars in the field. As the most researched programs in the burgeoning discipline of mindfulness, and given the nascence of mindfulness as an intervention or educational process to promote well-being and reduce suffering, the importance of scientific evidence of program outcomes is a critical component to hold up in terms of programmatic quality, integrity, and teacher standards.

The critical work of the last year has been to compare and contrast, analyze and synthesize these standards and pathways in order to offer a comprehensive and robust set of minimal requirements for the teaching of MBPs and the training of MBP teachers. In support, Crane et al (2016) offers essential as well as flexible elements of MBPs that support clarity and congruency, including frameworks for adaptations in relation to various populations, contexts, and accessibility.

Many institutions’ criteria are far greater than these listed, and this will likely continue. There is some early research (Ruijgrok-Lupton, Crane, & Dorjee, 2017) that indicates that longer trainings have an impact on participant/student outcomes, and more research will likely impact how training and teaching continue to evolve.

Some of the critical research used by the Working Party is published and listed at the end of this document. Other papers are unpublished but are also included.

We have worked to be sensitive to the range of needs, constraints, economic and cultural realities in different parts of the world, and especially wish to acknowledge the thoughtfulness and wisdom of those who are working “on the ground,” in various locales, and bring salient views to the table. To give some examples: The duration of trainings has great variability if one compares, for instance,  Europe, South Africa, and the US; accessibility to retreats is more difficult in the Australian outback and in Arabic countries than it is in Western and European regions; and also in Europe an America needs might differ slightly.

For these reasons the standards and criteria provided here are offered as a framework of criteria that may be subject to adaptions agreed upon in regional or national networks of training institutes or teacher associations (see Crane et al, 2016). In some cases, existing criteria may be deemed appropriate, but evolving, especially where economic or other resource realities simply have not allowed a more defined and detailed training program to take root. Placing ethics first in this document points towards the ethos of mindfulness, the very spirit of this work, which holds compassion, inclusion and ethical behavior as the primary impulse for our mindfulness practice, and from that, our teaching.

Holding to the primary ethos of MBPs was central to our task and both guided our discussions and meetings, and is named deliberately in the following Ethics area. We anticipate more and ongoing dialogue in all these areas and look forward to the kind of healthy dialogue that arises in a growing discipline, especially in an “industry” where the primary motivating factor is inclusion, well-being and the flourishing of an awake and compassionate human society.

Training Organisations

Asia Pacific Network

UCSD CFM, USA

EAMBA

Institute for Mindfulness South Africa

Compassion Project, Canada

The Mindfulness Institute, Canada

UK Network for Mindfulness Based Teacher Training Organisations

Others

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