Course Information

Compassion: MBCL Teacher Training Programme

When: 30 Jul 2021 - 5 Aug 2021
Where: Trigonos, North Wales
Tutors: Bridgette O'Neill, Erik Van den Brink

MBCL teacher training (previously offered as modules 1 and 2; this training combines both modules). The process is held within a retreat atmosphere, the formal teaching being embedded in silent practice, individually and in the group. The learning objectives and content of the programme include: 

Course Structure:

This residential teacher training programme enables participants to complete the MBCL teacher training. The process is held within a retreat atmosphere, the formal teaching being embedded in silent practice, individually and in the group. The learning objectives and content of the programme include:

Learning Objectives of the MBCL Teacher-Training Programme:

- To experience the main exercises of MBCL in more depth beyond the foundation course level.

- To thoroughly review the content of the 8 sessions of an MBCL course.

- To have a basic understanding of the scientific foundation of compassion training and the theoretical background in western and Buddhist psychology.

- To review and develop the basic attitudes necessary for working with compassion-focused methods.

- To have an understanding for which clients compassion training can be helpful.

- To deepen the practice of mindfulness and clarify its relationship to compassion training.

- Deepening the understanding of the structure and content of MBCL.

- Learning how to teach the curriculum and how to guide MBCL exercises.

- Introduction to leading inquiry following exercises.

- Developing skills of how to present the background theory on compassion training.

- Deepening one’s personal experience of compassion exercises.

Content of the MBCL Teacher Training-Programme:

- The validation of pain and suffering.

- How our brain has evolved to help us survive and how compassion is a necessity (not a luxury), for our wellbeing and survival.

- Insight into the three basic emotion-regulation and motivation systems

- How mental images and patterns can bring emotion-regulation systems out of balance and how compassionate imagery can restore the balance.

- The psychological expressions of fight, flight & freeze: self-criticism, self-isolation and over-identification; and their antidotes: self-kindness, common humanity & mindfulness.

- ‘Tend & befriend’ as a fourth reaction to stress in addition to fight, flight & freeze.

- Dealing with desires and inner patterns; self-conscious emotions shame and self-blame; the inner critic and inner helper.

- Developing the compassion mode with its attributes of care for wellbeing and relief of suffering, sensitivity to needs, sympathy, empathy, tolerance of distress and non-judgmental awareness.

- The balanced cultivation of the four limitless qualities: compassion, loving kindness, joy and equanimity.

- Compassion in action and practical ethics.

- The structure of MBCL’s 8 sessions will be presented in detail from the teaching perspective.

- The content and structure of compassion-focused exercises will be reviewed and practiced.

- Participants will have more practice guiding MBCL exercises as well as leading inquiry into compassion practices.

- Background knowledge and meta-perspectives for MBCL trainers, including:

o Evolutionary perspectives

o High and low routes toward compassion

o The plasticity of the brain

o The physiology of the breath

o Individual and gender differences

o Different attachment styles

o MBCL and psychological problems, indications/contra-indications

o MBCL in private practice settings

o Content and attitude in communication

o The differences and common ground between psychotherapy and MBCL training.

Requirements to attend:

All Applicants are required to have completed either:

-  a 3-day MBCL Foundation Course or

- an eight-week MBCL training as a participant with a qualified MBCL teacher, in person or online; or

- an MBCL-retreat (such as the MBCL retreat 17 - 23 May 2021 with the Mindfulness Network).

 (see or or for different options)

In addition, applicants need to have:                                      

EITHER: qualified as a mindfulness teacher (MBSR or MBCT, or equivalent, e.g. Breathworks) from a recognized training institute. On successful completion of the MBCL TT Programme, and following a minimum of 3 hours of supervision during teaching MBCL to groups, one can obtain A-registration as an MBCL-teacher and offer the formal MBCL-programme as an advanced course to participants who completed a basic mindfulness course (MBSR/MBCT/Breathworks). This is in line with the Good Practice Guidelines for Mindfulness-Based teaching in the UK. As this is a postgraduate education one is expected to have the professional integrity and responsibility to judge when one is ready to offer MBCL independently. Those who do not feel confident to do so as yet after the TT are advised to seek further training and supervision and/or obtain experience as a co-teacher. Those who have almost completed their mindfulness teacher training and have an aspirant registration can also apply for the MBCL TT programme. However, they only obtain their A-registration following completion of their training and full professional registration as a mindfulness teacher.

OR: qualified in a (mental) health or other helping profession without MBSR/MBCT teacher qualification. They should have followed basic training and gained experience in mindfulness-based interventions (e.g. ACT, DBT, MBCT) and/or wish to do the training to deepen their own practice and their therapeutic or counseling skills with mindfulness-based and compassion-focused interventions. For this group the minimum requirements are that one has followed an eight-week MBSR/MBCT course and has at least one year regular practice in mindfulness meditation. Those belonging to this group can obtain B-registration as a professional being trained in guiding exercises and working with material from the MBCL programme and applying this in their own professional setting within the ethical guidelines of their profession, individually or in groups. Please note, one can only register as a formal MBCL-teacher and offer the full MBCL-programme under its name, when one is also a formal MBSR or MBCT teacher.

About the teachers:

Bridgette O'Neill

Erik van den Brink


Please arrive from 3.30pm on 30th July and the first session will begin at 5pm. The course will finish by 12.30pm on the last day, 5th August, followed by lunch.


Trigonos is located in the village of Nantlle in North Wales between Penygroes and Rhyd Ddu. Caernarfon is the nearest town and Bangor the nearest mainline railway station (West Coast mainline). Please visit the Trigonos website for additional information and directions at

What to bring/wear:

Some mats, cushions and blankets will be provided. However the quantity of equipment will be limited, so please bring your own equipment if possible. 

Our full rates have no hidden extras and include deposit, teaching, room and board. 

  • Full rate for SINGLE accommodation (1 to a room): £1250.00 which includes £200.00 deposit (£100 non-refundable). Please note that we cannot guarantee that SINGLE rooms are ensuite, since most venues have very limited numbers of ensuite rooms.
  • Full rate for SHARED accommodation: £1150.00 which includes £100.00 deposit (non-refundable)

Employer's rate - Recognising the large administrative overhead of dealing with employers, we will be adding a £50 surcharge if the employer is paying directly; where possible we would advise applicants to pay themselves and reclaim on expenses to avoid the charge. We will be applying this to all our offerings with effect from September 2020.

The Application Process: 

Our application and payment process involves the following steps:

  1. We receive your application form and assess it to ensure that this retreat is suitable for you. We endeavour to make assessments within a week, but if the retreat leader is on annual leave or on retreat, then this can take a little bit longer.

  2. Upon offering you a place, we will then invoice you either for the non-refundable deposit (£100.00 non-refundable deposit for SINGLE accommodation) or for the full amount, depending which option you choose when you complete your application, or if you are applying less than four months prior to the retreat. 

  3. Your place is fully confirmed once we receive your deposit or full retreat payment.

  4. If you selected to pay the deposit only, we will invoice you for the balance by three months before the retreat starts.

  5. We will email you the joining instructions in advance of the course.

Payment and Cancellation Policy:

Please read our Terms and Conditions for information regarding payments and cancellations.

For more information:

Please email us at

Ready to apply?

Click here to apply now for this course.