The program provides a deep training in the skills, personal presence, and background knowledge needed for a deeply embodied, thoughtful and skillful presentation of mindfulness to diverse audiences. The program leads to possible certification by Mindfulness Northwest as a Certified Mindfulness Teacher.
The Mindfulness Teacher Training Program (MTTP) is a highly integrated experience including retreats, home practice, distance learning, weekend seminars, regular peer contact, experiential exercises, practice leading mindfulness and creating a mindfulness program, and strong cohort relationships.
We will meet in person 8 times in the Bellingham, WA region over the 9-month program and interact extensively over distance learning in-between meetings.
The intended outcome from this training is a high degree of comfort teaching mindfulness classes and workshops and also the ability to adapt and design programs for the communities and organizations you are most familiar with. Mindfulness training is not one size fits all. This program prepares you to assess the needs of a target population and provide a suitable mindfulness training that maximizes engagement and benefit for participants. This foundational training is also a great support for teaching established mindfulness-based curricula and interventions.
The per-person cost is $6,900 for the 9-month MTTP program including all retreats, seminars and ongoing instruction and support. There is an additional $500 fee to review for Teacher Certification if participants accept the invitation to move forward towards certification after satisfactory completion of the program. There are no additional fees. Limited scholarship funds are available.
The tuition covers:
- All 4 retreats, all 4 weekends, all distance learning time and all materials provided except for books.
- Room and board at the four retreats.
- Access to course websites and materials.
- Access to instructors between meetings.
The tuition does not cover:
- Room and board at the Study Weekends in Bellingham (there are many affordable AirBnB options).
(Comparing to another program? Check if room & board at retreats/trainings is included - often it's not and can add significant cost.)
- Travel costs as applicable.
- Completion of an 8-week, in person, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class. Other mindfulness courses cannot be substituted for this requirement.
- Establishment of a daily practice of mindfulness meditation and mindful movement.
- Attendance at at least one silent, teacher-led meditation retreat of at least 5 days in length (some concurrency may be allowed).
Ways to Further Strengthen your Application & Increase the Transformational Potential of this Training
- Completion of other mindfulness and compassion courses such as Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC).
- Practice regularly in a teacher-led meditation group with a practice community.
- Attend more than one retreat.
Upon completion of MTTP participants will:
- Be familiar with the history of secular mindfulness training and with principal mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), especially Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
- Understand the Buddhist roots of mindfulness from the perspective of the three major schools of Buddhist thought.
- Be familiar with the current science of the brain, and research into the physiological and psychological effects of meditation.
- Understand the primary mindfulness practices deeply, from the inside-out, through extensive personal experience and guidance from a skilled meditation teacher.
- Be able to lead others in mindfulness practices using appropriate and helpful language.
- Be comfortable weaving poetry, story, and appropriate personal disclosure into mindfulness classes to "moisten the hearts" of participants (supporting affective engagement with material that opens the heart).
- Learn essential presentation and classroom management skills.
- Understand compassion, kindness, and gratitude practices and how they support, and are supported by, mindfulness training.
- Be ready to develop mindfulness workshops, classes and interventions, and to create supporting materials (guided practice recordings, manuals, handouts, PowerPoint slideshows).
Step by Step Outline
STEP 1: PRE-REQUISITES
- Participate: take a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class or similar intensive training in mindfulness as a participant.
- Practice: establish a near-daily mindfulness practice including sitting meditation and body practices to continue through the teacher training process. If possible, do formal meditation regularly with a group and work with a meditation teacher.
- Retreat: attend at least one silent, teacher-led meditation retreat of at least 5 days in length prior to beginning the MTTP program. Some exceptions (and concurrency) to this requirement may be granted at our discretion.
- Apply: we will begin accepting applications in January 2018. We require a written application and a letter of recommendation from a mentor, teacher, or colleague helping us understand why this teacher training program is a good fit for you at this time. Once these are received, an interview is scheduled. It's a selective process as we limit the cohort to 16 people. Upon approval for enrollment, the registration process will be completed with a $500 Enrollment Deposit. See the key dates and training locations schedule.
STEP 2: 9-MONTH SEMINAR IN THE FUNDAMENTALS OF TEACHING MINDFULNESS
- Opening Retreat (September): a three day retreat to explore our intentions and begin the journey together.
- Five 4 to 6-week-long, distance-based Learning Blocks with daily practice assignments, readings, short videos to watch and reflection papers to write, supported by small group conference calls with a supervising teacher.
- Four Study Weekends in Bellingham, WA exploring essential topics in teaching mindfulness and practicing to teach with peers as well as receiving topic instruction from Tim and guest instructors on papers, videos, and books explored during the preceding Learning Block.
- An intensive seven day silent mindfulness retreat (October) featuring teachings on the Mindfulness Sutra (the primary Buddhist root of MBSR).
- A Weekend Mindfulness Retreat (April): You'll join a weekend retreat for intermediate mindfulness students, observing the joys of retreat practice for those still fairly new to it and, with your new-teacher eyes, how the retreat teachers lead.
- Practicum Project (Spring) - on your own or with a co-teacher from the MTTP cohort, design and deliver a one-day introductory workshop on mindfulness in your community.
- Closing Retreat (early June): this three day retreat is largely a student-led retreat in which we teach each other all of the elements of MBSR in a retreat setting and take stock of our experience together.
- For more details, see our Further Details, Syllabus, and Key Dates pages.
STEP 3: CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION
Upon satisfactory completion of all Seminar events* and assignments** (including the Practicum Project) you will receive a Certificate of Completion showing completion of the Mindfulness Northwest Mindfulness Teacher Training Program. The Certificate of Completion demonstrates your attendance and full participation in the program. Certification is an additional step - please see below.
* Completion of events: excused absences are included here - life and illness do happen. You must attend 85% of in-person events and complete at least 85% of all of assignments given. Absences must be arranged ahead with instructors. Mindfulness Northwest reserves the right to withhold the Certificate of Completion due to unexcused absences, inadequate involvement or disruptive choices.
** Completion of assignments: each learning block will include written responses to readings and videos on online discussion forums, logged near-daily formal practice, participation with a partner, a meeting with Tim, and a whole group distance meeting. You must attend 85% of in-person events and complete at least 85% of all of the assignments given.
STEP 4: TEACHER CERTIFICATION (PORTFOLIO REVIEW) - OPTIONAL
After successful completion of the 9-month Seminar, and by invitation from Mindfulness Northwest, trainees are invited to submit a portfolio for evaluation of Certification. The Certification offered by this program is to become a Certified Mindfulness Teacher. (Additional training is needed for certification in specific curricula such as MBSR - see below.)
Portfolio: any time within 12 months of completion of the MTTP program you may submit a portfolio demonstrating your teaching competence, including:
- Recordings: your own practice guidance recordings of the principal mindfulness practices (body scan, mindful movement, seated meditation, walking meditation)
- Materials: written materials (manual, hand outs) you created to support a mindfulness class or workshop
- Video: of yourself teaching coursework after MTTP completes showing the three primary modalities of mindfulness training: didactic instruction, practice leading and inquiry. Video taken from the practicum during MTTP should not be used here.
- Review and Discuss: the Portfolio Review process includes up to two hours of video chat or in-person conversation with the instructor to guide, refine, and explore your understanding of teaching. If additional time is needed, it can be requested at the rate of $90/hour.
- Certification: Trainees will be evaluated for certification according to mindfulness industry standards (the Mindfulness-Based Interventions Teaching Assessment Criteria: MBI-TAC). In some cases additional training, adjustment, and re-submission of some parts of the portfolio may be requested before certification is granted. We will make every effort through the Seminar and the Supervision process to prepare trainees for successful Teacher Certification.
NOTES, PROGRAM BENEFITS, and PROGRAM LIMITATIONS
- Graduate Directory at Mindfulness Northwest: we provide a listing on our website of all graduates of the MTTP programs.
- For Certified Graduates we provide, at our discretion, help with outreach for your community programs including listings on our website and our emailed newsletters (currently sent to nearly 4,000 people twice a month)
- Mindfulness Northwest is not able to provide mindfulness teaching placements or set up teaching opportunities for the Practicum Project or Supervised Teaching. You will need to create these teaching opportunities with your own initiative (and our support!).
- Mindfulness Northwest in no way guarantees future employment as a Mindfulness Northwest instructor to MTTP graduates.
- It is our intention to offer additional classes, workshops, and support for graduates of our Mindfulness Teacher Training Program and support our ongoing development as teachers together.
- Certification requires an annual process of renewal. There is a modest renewal fee and a requirement for ongoing practice and training.
- This certification is not in the specific 8-week curriculum called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). If you are looking to learn how to teach MBSR, MTTP is a great preparation for our MBSR Teacher Training program which requires trainees to have prior training in teaching.