MBCT Teacher Certification Pathway

The Certificate in Teaching Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy is a sequential training pathway enabling you to become a qualified MBCT teacher and then advance to a certified MBCT teacher. This journey consists of prerequisites, four courses, individual mentoring and one final review. The pathway also requires three silent retreats and progressively more advanced teaching requirements that are necessary to complete the training.

Training Pathway at a Glance

View these infographics to better understand each step of the pathway. Upon successful completion of Level 1 requirements, you will be qualified to teach MBCT and can continue your journey toward full certification.

The prerequisites to begin MBCT teacher training involve both formal learning and personal practice experiences:


  1. Maintaining a personal meditation practice of at least two years (less experience may be considered)
  2. A graduate degree (healthcare and counseling preferred—others considered). Equivalency in experience is considered and must be demonstrated (additional written document required within application).
  3. Training in cognitive behavioral therapy
  4. Attendance at an 8-week MBCT program*
    • It is important to take this MBCT program before deciding to be an MBCT teacher and before beginning the training so that you make a more informed decision that requires a major commitment and can experience the program fully as a participant. You will then take a second 8-week MBCT program as part of MBCT Foundations. The second time around, you will be invited to participate fully in the classes, and you will also be invited to observe what is happening in the classes. The weekly MBCT class becomes a key part of each Foundations seminar as you have an opportunity to unpack the program with your classmates and the instructor.

*Brown University offers the MBCT prerequisite.


The first step in the Certificate explores the very personal nature of mindfulness practice and students begin to cultivate skills for the classroom and private practice. 

Qualified Teacher Requirements:

  1. MBCT Foundations
  2. Attending your first qualifying retreat is encourage. You may complete either a one 5-7 day retreat or two 3-day retreats.*
  3. Teach a minimum of three introductory sessions
  4. MBCT Teacher Advancement Intensive (TAI)

*Retreats are not included in the MBCT Certificate fee, and may incur an additional cost.

Certification Requirements:

  1. Ethos of Mindfulness-Based Programs*
  2. Dialogue and Inquiry for Mindfulness-Based Programs*
  3. Individual Mentoring
  4. Must have attended three qualifying silent retreats. You may complete either a one 5-7 day retreat or two 3-day retreats. One retreat must be Insight Inside Us.**
  5. Successfully teach a minimum total of six MBCT programs
  6. MBCT Teacher Certification Review

*May be taken at any time after completion of MBCT Foundations

**Retreats are not included in the MBCT Certificate fee, and may incur an additional cost.

What You Will Learn

As a global leader in mindfulness-based teacher training, the Mindfulness Center at Brown through the School of Professional Studies offers an experiential and didactic education. In the certificate program as an MBCT teacher-trainee, you can:

  • Teach MBCT in a manner that reflects a nuanced comprehension of MBCT’s confluence of eastern contemplative methodologies and western science to skillfully meet individuals living with recurrent depression and negative affective states in the classroom 
  • Teach MBCT with a sense of balanced confidence, skill and authenticity 
  • Recognize and analyze MBI:TAC domains and how they are expressed in the MBCT classroom
  • Independently teach MBCT at the “Competent” level, as assessed by the MBI-TAC

Course Descriptions

MBCT Foundations is offered as a 10-week seminar, meeting twice per week. One meeting is participating in an MBCT class. This provides critical first-person learning, reflecting on and exploring one’s own personal encounter with mindfulness meditation practices and cognitive activities, exploration of the intimate relationship and connection between thought patterns, body sensations, impulses to act and mood state such as depression and anxiety, the MBCT curriculum as it unfolds week to week, and class dynamics.

The MBCT portion of this program will be offered by teachers at the Brown School of Professional Studies.

Transfer Application:

For Certified MBSR Teachers, the MBSR Foundations course is transferable for MBCT Foundations. 


The MBCT Teacher Advancement Intensive (MBCT-TAI) offers trainees opportunities to strengthen teach key elements and guide core mindfulness practices for each weekly MBCT class, receive feedback, teaching skills, deepen personal practice, and investigate the nature of recurrent depression, anxiety, challenge, and resilience, in all the ways it arises in a person’s life, within the context of a supportive and thoughtful learning community.


This course does a broad survey of the elements (four units, as described below) that underpin and frame Mindfulness-Based Programs (MBP). While these elements are not explicitly drawn out in the MBP classroom, they serve as nourishing streams supporting teachers in trusting the capacity of adult learning, the power of contemplative awareness practices as innate capacities, and highlight contemporary issues of equity, diversity and trauma as competency areas in teaching. These include:

  1. Buddhist Principles & Contemplative Methodologies
  2. Experiential Education & Grout Process
  3. Mindfulness of Inclusion, Diversity, Identity, and Trauma
  4. The Science of Mindfulness-Based Programs

This program may be taken any time after Foundations, affording trainees an opportunity to study and synthesize conceptual learning into practice.


MBCT Individual Mentoring occurs when the trainee has completed the MBCT Foundations and Teacher Advancement Intensive and is qualified to begin delivering the MBCT program. Mentoring is essential at this very early stage of teaching to ensure and foster competence and provide timely supportive and critical feedback. Additional mentoring sessions may be required based on an assessment of the trainee’s confidence and skill development in delivering the MBCT program. 


Trainees are invited to explore — via peer-led practice sessions — a variety of inquiry and dialogue skills, as they are often employed in the MBP classroom. This is unfolded week to week and draws upon didactic considerations from some of the tenets of Buddhist psychology In this way, trainees receive a grounding in both the types of dialogic methodologies employed in MBP programs and their skillful application.

This program may be taken any time after Foundations, affording trainees an opportunity to practice the specifics of dialogue and inquiry, in a focused way.


Certification Review is the final step in the teacher-training pathway. As such, conferring MBCT Teacher Certification acknowledges a teacher’s dedication, knowledge and skill in teaching MBCT. As a culmination of the formal training components and courses (listed below), as well as one’s personal meditation and retreat experience, the Certification Portfolio represents years of study, mindfulness practice, and teaching.