Erik van den Brink

I have worked in out-patient mental health services for over 25 years as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. As a co-founder of the Centre for Integrative Psychiatry in the Dutch city of Groningen, I specialised in methods that enhance people’s self-healing capacity and pioneered introducing mindfulness-based interventions into main-stream mental health. I currently work in private practice and psycho-oncology.

Besides individual therapeutic work, I teach client groups and train and supervise professionals in mindfulness-based and compassion focused approaches. With Frits Koster I developed Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living (MBCL), an eight-session deepening programme for people who already followed MBSR, MBCT or an equivalent course. A substantial part of my work has become to offer teacher training seminars and retreats invited by mindfulness training institutes and networks across Europe.


  • Postgraduate training in Mindfulness-based Approaches: Mindfulness-based Supervision (Alison Evans); Teaching Assessment Criteria (Rebecca Crane); Deep Listening (Rosamund Oliver); Mindful Communication (Susan Gillis Chapman, Edel Maex), Interpersonal Mindfulness Teacher Training (Florence Meleo-Meyer & Phillis Hicks), Mindful Self-Compassion (Kristin Neff, Chris Germer), Breathworks (Vidyamala Burch)
  • Postgraduate training in psychotherapy: Compassion Focused Therapy (Paul Gilbert, Chris Irons); Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACBS); Solution Focused Therapy and Hypnotherapy (Korzybski; BFTC)
  • Registered Mindfulness Trainer (VMBN, category 1) following teacher trainings in MBSR and MBCT with senior teachers from US, UK and NL.
  • Registered Medical Specialist for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Utrecht
  • Psychodynamic Theory and Practice, University of Leeds
  • MRCPsych Examination, London
  • Registered Medical Practitioner, Free University, Amsterdam

Teaching Training Specialisms

  • MBCL
  • MBSR, MBCT, Interpersonal Mindfulness
  • Working with mindfulness and compassion in psychotherapy and clinical settings

Retreat Lead Experience

From 2009 onwards, I started co-leading secular retreats with Vipassana meditation teacher, Frits Koster. Since 2011, I have frequently led retreats of three to seven days around the practices of MBCL. Since 2015, I have also led retreats around interpersonal mindfulness. I feel at home within a trans-religious orientation, honouring the ‘sacred’ in the secular.

Retreat Specialisms

  • MBCL
  • Interpersonal Mindfulness

Personal Practice

I have been drawn to contemplative practice since I was a medical student and was regularly joined Quaker Silent Meetings whilst living in the UK. Following my return to the Netherlands in 1995, I developed an established meditation practice through Qigong/Tai Chi, Vipassana, Zen, contemporary mindfulness and compassion practice, and Insight Dialogue. I have annually followed retreats led by Dutch Zen master Ton Lathouwers since 2003. I practise with a local Zen meditation group (weekly) and an Insight Dialogue group (monthly). I feel inspired by the teachings of many wisdom traditions and most of all by sharing with fellow travellers on the contemplative path, learning from each other through mutual inquiry and engaging with life’s challenges.

Research Activities and Interests

I was involved with and co-authored several articles (see below) on studies into mindfulness and compassion training for psychiatric out-patients, health professionals and psychiatric trainees.

Publications (only relevant English works are listed)


  • Van den Brink, E. & Koster, F. with Norton, V. (expected 2018): A practical guide to Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living: Living with Heart. London: Routledge.
  • Van den Brink, E. & Koster, F. (expected 2018). Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living – A deepening programme for those with basic mindfulness skills. In I. Ivtzan (Ed.), The Handbook of Mindfulness-Based Programs: Every Established Intervention, from Medicine to Education. London: Routledge.
  • Van den Brink, E. & Koster, F. (2015). Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living: A new training programme to deepen mindfulness with heartfulness. London: Routledge.

Papers in peer-reviewed journals

  • Schuling, S., Huijbers, M., Jansen, H., Metzemaekers, R., Van den Brink, E., Koster, F., Van Ravesteijn, H., & Speckens, A. (2017). Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living in recurrent depression: the co-creation of a post-graduate intervention to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Mindfulness. doi:10.1007/s12671-017-0783-1
  • Krieger, T., Martig, D.S., Van den Brink, E., & Berger, T. (2016). Working on self-compassion online: A proof of concept and feasibility study. Internet Interventions 6, 64–70.
  • Bartels-Velthuis, A. A., Van der Ploeg, K., Koster, F., Fleer, J., Schroevers, M. J., & Van den Brink, E. (2016). A Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living training in a heterogeneous sample of psychiatric outpatients: a feasibility study. Mindfulness, 7, 809–818.
  • Bos, E.H., Merea, R., Van den Brink, E., Sanderman, R., & Bartels-Velthuis, A.A. (2013). Mindfulness Training in a Heterogeneous Psychiatric Sample: Outcome Evaluation and Comparison of Different Diagnostic Groups. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70 (1), 60-71.
  • Hoenders, H.J.R., Appelo, M.T., Van den Brink, H., Hartogs, B.M.A. & De Jong, J.T.V.M. (2011). The Dutch complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) protocol. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 17 (12), 1-5.

Further information

Erik’s website: