Teacher Training

A circle of people sitting on chairs and the floor in a bright yoga studio.

Become a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher

Our cohort-based Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher Training (MBSR-TT) is an immersive, two-year, apprentice-style training that certifies you to teach the 8-week MBSR class with skill and confidence.

Our program features hands-on, in-classroom training with a high faculty-to-student ratio. Personalized feedback and warm support are the hallmarks of this unique certification program.

A screenshot of 9 people on zoom, smiling and talking about mindfulness.

Location: Online (with optional in-person training in the Puget Sound region or Atlanta, GA.)

Length: Two years. First year embedded in a learning cohort, second year on your own with mentorship support.

Outcome: Receive certification to teach the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class, with the knowledge, skills and confidence to teach your own MBSR and other mindfulness programs with authenticity, presence and confidence.

Structure:

  • Year One: practicum-based training in a small cohort. Students are embedded in online or in-person MBSR classes as a participant-observer, moving into progressively more teaching. Meet online weekly with your cohort to learn and discuss teaching the curriculum.
  • Year Two: learn how to organize and teach your own MBSR classes. The program becomes self-paced with support from Senior Teachers acting as your mentors. This can be completed in a second year or over a longer period.

Prerequisites ​​– to begin this training, you have:

  • Taken the MBSR course at least once.
  • Completed at least one silent, teacher-led meditation retreat of 5 days or longer.
  • Established a consistent personal meditation practice.

 

FAQs

Is the whole program online?

This training can be done completely online or you can connect with us in person.

In phase I of the program you will be embedded in two MBSR classes taught by our Senior Teachers. You can join us in our online MBSR classes as a trainee or live in the Seattle or Bellingham, Washington areas, or near Atlanta Georgia for one or both of these two MBSR classes are an option.

Note that placements are made after your application is accepted in consultation with you.

And our weekly all-cohort meetings in Phase I and Phase II are done completely online via Zoom.

The classes you organize and teach yourself during Phase III can be taught in person in a local community or online. We ask that you teach at least one of your Phase III classes in person – there is rich learning to in person teaching that differs from teaching online.

Online with an in-person option: we are proud of our program’s flexibilty and tailor the training for what works best for each participant within the available resources of Mindfulness Northwest and our partners.

When does the program start?

The 2024 Cohort will begin in mid-September.

What is the tuition?

The total cost for the complete two-year training program is $9,900 tuition paid with a $500 tuition deposit on enrollment and then in 15 monthly (no interest) payments of for the remaining balance $630/month, MTTP alumni $480/month.

This fee includes all administrative costs, training, mentorship, meetings, portfolio review, and certification. There are no additional fees from Mindfulness Northwest for completing this training and becoming certified to teach MBSR.

Are you a graduate of our one-year Mindfulness Teacher Training Program (MTTP)? A discounted tuition for MBSR-TT is available. Contact us for more information.

Are scholarships available?

Mindfulness Northwest’s mission is to bring the healing possibilities of mindfulness training to all people and we recognize that tuition can be a barrier. If this is true for you, we warmly invite you to apply for a scholarship after completing the MBSR-TT program application.

Please let us know if your intention is to serve underserved communities in your future work as a mindfulness teacher, and any ways you are already working with or have served these communities, as this will be weighed into the scholarship award decision. 

Questions? Write to us at karen@mindfulnessnorthwest.com.

Scholarship Application

Are there prerequisites for this training?

Before beginning this program, you must have:

  • Taken the MBSR course at least once.
  • Completed at least one silent, teacher-led meditation retreat of 5 days or longer.
  • Established a consistent personal meditation practice.

Please contact us if you have any questions about satisfying these prerequisites.

What is the application process?

Simply fill out the program application form to begin the process. An intake interview will follow to help you, and us, make sure this program is a good fit at this time. After enrollment we will work with you to assign you to your first MBSR class as a trainee.

Can I talk to someone to learn more?

Of course! A few options:

  • We hold periodic MBSR-TT Online Information Sessions, which include time for a Q&A with the program faculty and also alumni of the program (see higher up on the page for upcoming Info Sessions).
  • Program Director Karen Schwisow is available at karen@mindfulnessnorthwest.com.
  • Senior Teacher and Executive Director of Mindfulness Northwest Tim Burnett is available at tim@mindfulnessnorthwest.com.

What do graduates have to say about the program?

The MBSR-TT program was exactly what I needed, desired and exceeded my expectations. The first phase was particularly exhilarating, learning in a group setting and shadowing a full round of the MBSR course. The weekly zoom calls with our cohort and two senior teachers was such rich ground for engagement and learning.

The quality of the staff was and is the cornerstone of any good program and Karen, Tim, and Richard at Mindfulness Northwest are phenomenal humans, teachers, and guides. I feel as though I have not just gone through a certification program but I have been welcomed into a family where I got to nurture myself and my skills. I cannot recommend this program enough!

– Kari Lyons

I live on the opposite side of the country from the MNW offices. The senior teachers for the MBSR-TT program at MNW helped connect me to a local certified MBSR teacher in Atlanta, GA who agreed to be my onsite mentor. This satellite arrangement worked out perfectly, and I felt like I got the full experience even though I was 3,000 miles away!

– Erika Bloodworth, Atlanta Georgia

The quality of training and support provided in the MBSR-TT program was transformative for me as a mindfulness teacher, helping me to gain confidence and competence.

– Teresa Johnson, Seattle, WA

Mindfulness Northwest’s MBSR training provides an in-depth study of the course material, with ample time to discuss and dive into the material with senior teachers both in-person and in online group meetings. There are many opportunities to develop teaching skills with assistance from the senior teachers. The atmosphere is supportive, while also delivering important feedback.

– Beth Glosten, Seattle, WA

MBSR classroom with senior teacher and trainee
MBSR Teacher Training Info Session
August 4 (Sunday evening)

MBSR Teacher Training Info Session

ONLINE

60-minute info session

MBSR Teacher Training Application

MBSR Teacher Training Application

ONLINE with an In-person Option

2-year training

Mindfulness Northwest’s MBSR training provides an in-depth study of the course material, with ample time to discuss and dive into the material with senior teachers both in-person and in online group meetings. There are many opportunities to develop teaching skills with assistance from the senior teachers. The atmosphere is supportive, while also delivering important feedback.

Beth Glosten, MD

Seattle WA

FACULTY

Program Director Karen Schwisow, E-RYT 500, has been teaching yoga and meditation to individuals and groups since 2005 and facilitating 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction courses since 2011. She is certified to teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and is an MBSR Teacher Training mentor at the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. Karen has been building a foundation of mindfulness in her own life since the early 90s. After her discovery of yoga in 2001 she trained as a yoga teacher and co-founded Three Trees Yoga & Healing Arts Center in Federal Way where she co-developed Yoga Teacher Training programs with over 200 graduates. Through compassionate listening, authenticity and humor she creates a welcoming container that empowers participants to experience their own innate ability to thrive.

Mark Dennenfelser

Senior Teacher Mark Dennenfelser is founding director of the Mindfulness Center of Atlanta (founded, 2009). He is a Certified MBSR Teacher, licensed professional counselor, and a registered yoga teacher. Mark is the Aquinas Center of Theology at Emory University commissioned lecturer on Centering Prayer. He has also completed training in the Mindful Schools Curriculum, Yoga Therapy in Cancer & Chronic Illness Professional Training with Integral Teachers Yoga Association, and Clinical Training in Mind Body Medicine, by Herbert Benson, MD, Mind/Body Medical Institute.

Senior Teacher Tim Burnett is the founder and director of Mindfulness Northwest. Tim has been teaching Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) since 2010, and practicing meditation since 1986. He is certified to teach MBSR by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Tim is also certified to teach Mindful Self-Compassion and Compassion Cultivation Training. Tim also brings a background in traditional Dharma practice to his mindfulness work as an ordained Soto Zen priest and teacher having received a 30 year apprenticeship with the well known Zen teacher Zoketsu Norman Fischer. Tim is the Guiding Teacher of Red Cedar Zen Community in Bellingham. Tim is passionate about the healing power of bringing a mindful compassionate attention to our lives and learning to accept ourselves more fully just the way we are.

STRUCTURE DETAILS

MBSR-TT unfolds over four phases. You work through the first two phases in a small cohort, with a low student:teacher ratio, in an intensive, practicum-based setting. The last two phases are more flexible and mentorship-based. Our Senior Teachers support you throughout the journey.

During Phase I, Fall & Winter of Year One, you will:

  • Be embedded in two MBSR classes organized by Mindfulness Northwest and taught by our Senior Teachers.
  • Observe your Senior Teacher and participate right along with the students.
  • Have progressively more teaching responsibility. Other cohort members may also be in your class.
  • Collect short video recordings of the Senior Teacher and your own teaching to review.
  • Process your experience in a weekly debrief after every MBSR class.
  • Learn together in weekly Zoom meetings with the entire cohort.

During Phase II, Spring of Year One, you will:

  • Teach your first MBSR class: on your own, with a co-teacher, or with a Senior Teacher (this may be offered at our discretion).
  • Continue collecting video of your teaching for review.
  • Continue weekly Zoom meetings with the entire cohort for support and training.
  • Write reflections on each class session taught and receive personalized feedback from a Senior Teacher.

During Phase III: Year Two you will:

  • Organize and teach three (3) MBSR classes on your own, or with a co-teacher.
  • Receive nine hours of one–on-one mentorship support as you fully take the teacher’s seat.
  • Have access to all of Mindfulness Northwest’s teaching materials.

Phase III is flexible:

  • You can organize your MBSR classes in any community you have access to.
  • It’s fine if it takes longer than a year to teach 3 classes.

When you’re ready for Phase IV: Certification you will:

  • Teach one more MBSR class without supervision
  • Submit a teaching portfolio (including video of teaching from this last MBSR course and audio recordings) demonstrating that you’re ready to teach MBSR independently.
  • Receive a portfolio review with a Senior Teacher.
  • Keep learning: additional training and support may be recommended.

More Detailed Curriculum and Structure

PHASE I (FALL AND WINTER OF YEAR 1)

In Phase I you are immersed in the MBSR classroom as an embedded practicum student in two consecutive courses. We place one to three MBSR-TT trainees in our MBSR courses mixed in with regular course participants. This participant-observer process begins with you observing (with the eyes of an emerging teacher) the Senior Teacher leading the class and gradually evolves into increasing amounts of teaching responsibility in the second MBSR course.

MBSR classes with the MBSR-TT practicum option are offered quarterly online (using the Zoom video platform), in Bellingham, in the Seattle area, and in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

Phase I learning supports:

1) MBSR Attendance: Attend two high quality MBSR classes you are embedded in as a trainee.
2) Progressive Teaching Responsibility: Move gradually from being an observer to a teacher over the course of the two MBSR practicum courses.
3) Video Recording of Teaching: You and the other trainees embedded in your class will collect short video recordings of trainees and Senior Teachers teaching in each MBSR class.
4) Weekly In-Person Debrief Meetings: Following each MBSR class you will meet with your assigned Senior Teacher for a 30-minute debrief to discuss questions and observations while they are fresh.
5) Weekly Cohort Meeting Online: join in weekly video meetings with the entire cohort and our Senior Teachers for 90 minutes when classes are in session.

PHASE II (SPRING OF YEAR 1)

The flexible nature of our small and responsive training program comes to the fore in Phase II. Depending on your state of readiness you will next be invited to do one of the following: (1) teach your own MBSR class, (2) co-teach an MBSR class with another trainee, or (3) co-teach an MBSR class with a Senior Teacher. The trainee is responsible for organizing this third MBSR class in the series and we will offer support. In the case of co-teaching with a Mindfulness Northwest Senior Teacher, the course is always organized by Mindfulness Northwest.

 

Phase II learning supports:

1) Teaching Responsibility: You are now actively teaching MBSR while still in a setting of very high support and guidance.

2) Video Recording of Teaching: You, and the other trainee if applicable, will continue to collect short video recordings of your teaching.

3) Written Reflections: We have developed a productive format for learning and development as a teacher through written reflections. Trainees share these reflections with each other (facilitating continuing cross-fertilization) and with the Senior Teachers, one of whom will respond each week.

4) Weekly Cohort Meeting Online: we continue our weekly 90 minute video meetings with the entire cohort and our Senior Teachers during Phase II.

PHASE III (YEAR 2 / FLEXIBLE)

In your Phase III teaching you will be organizing and teaching your own MBSR classes with support from a mentor. You will organize and teach three (3) MBSR courses either on your own or co-teaching with another trainee or MBSR teacher in your community. Note that the business arrangements of these courses are up to you: you may charge participants or do these courses as part of a work project, etc.

During your Phase III teaching while you arrange the venue and do the outreach needed to form a class, you are also welcome to use Mindfulness Northwest MBSR class materials (manuals and recordings) which you will be familiar with from your 3 MBSR courses in Phases I and II.

Mutual support between peers in the training cohort is also encouraged. Program-organized weekly video meetings are during Phases I and II only but we encourage cohort members to keep in close contact and you might choose to continue having regular video meetings with your peers.

Phase III Learning Supports:

  • Assigned Mentor: During each of your three MBSR courses you will be assigned a Senior Teacher to be your mentor and support.
  • Written Reflections: While teaching your first course, after you teach each MBSR weekly class session you will write a reflection on how the class went. We’ve developed a self-reflection format that we feel helps to both strengthen your confidence and pinpoint areas of growth and learning. Your reflections will be read carefully by your mentor who will respond each week.
  • Peer Support: You’ll be able to stay connected with other cohort members as you go forward. All of our teacher trainings emphasize serving our Pacific Northwest region which makes it more possible for lasting collegial relationships to build.
  • Mentorship Meetings: Have up to nine 1-hour video meetings with a Senior Teacher mentor over the process of teaching the three MBSR courses. The scheduling of these is up to you and additional mentorship meetings can be requested (additional charge).

PHASE IV: CERTIFICATION AS A TEACHER OF MBSR

Upon completion of Phases I, II, and III you have now been a part of six MBSR courses with increasing levels of responsibility. You are next invited to submit a portfolio for certification.

This portfolio includes video samples of the most recent MBSR course you taught highlighting your ability to teach in the three main modes of MBSR instruction (didactic, leading practice, and inquiry) plus a set of home practice recordings to be used by your future students.

Upon submission of your portfolio it will be reviewed by one of the Senior Teachers and you will be invited to a portfolio review meeting. In this meeting we will highlight strengths and areas of improvement needed and share the determination around whether you are now certified. If additional learning is required, we will do our best to support you through this process. Our teacher evaluation utilizes the emerging industry standard assessment for evaluating mindfulness teachers: the Mindfulness-Based Intervention Teacher Assessment Criteria (MBI:TAC).

We reserve the right to ask you to teach additional MBSR class(es) or re-do portfolio materials if our standards of excellence are not yet met. We are committed to working with students to complete this process. Certification as a teacher of MBSR is not a guaranteed outcome of the program but having worked closely with you from the beginning we don’t expect any surprises at this final stage.

MBSR-TT Participant Agreement

In applying to join Mindfulness Northwest’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher Training Program (MBSR-TT) I understand and agree that:

PROGRAM BASICS

Program Completion. To receive a Certificate of Completion f the training, participants must attend at least 85% of the program. This includes attendance at three MBSR courses as a practicum student, attendance at weekly video conferencing calls during year 1, and teaching your three MBSR courses which you organize.

Advancement to Certification. Advancement from completion of the MBSR-TT program (Phase III) into Teacher Certification review (Phase IV) is not guaranteed – MBSR-TT faculty will make the determination that each participant is ready to advance to supervision and certification.

No guarantee of Certification. The participant acknowledges that participation in the supervision and certification process and payment of the required tuition fees do not guarantee that the participant will become a Certified Mindfulness Teacher through the Mindfulness Northwest MBSR-TT. The participant acknowledges that the MBSR-TT training program requires that the participant demonstrates “basic understanding of the fundamental principles of mindfulness and the teachings that underlie mindfulness and demonstrates competency in delivering the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course with high fidelity to the MBSR Curriculum.” This determination of competency in mindfulness teacher will be based on, but not limited to, the criteria specified in the MBI:TAC (Mindfulness-Based Interventions Teacher Assessment Criteria).

No implied offer of employment. Completing MBSR-TT does not imply a promise from Mindfulness Northwest that we will provide you with employment as a mindfulness teacher.

Time Limit for Completion of Assignments.

(1) Year Two MBSR Courses: It is strongly preferred that all participants complete teaching their 3 self-organized MBSR classes during the scheduled second year of the program. If this is not possible an extension must be requested. Initial extension of 6 months is routinely granted. Additional extensions cannot be guaranteed.

(2) Teacher Certification: Application for certification with a complete MBSR Teaching Portfolio must be submitted within 6 months of teaching the 3rd self-organized MBSR class (MBSR class #6 as described in the program prospectus).

MBSR TEACHER TRAINING (MBSR-TT) TUITION POLICY

Tuition Deposit. Upon admission to the MBSR Teacher Training Program (MBSR-TT), a tuition deposit is due within 30 days of acceptance or on the first day of the first month in which the training begins (whichever comes first). This saves your place in the program and covers preliminary administrative costs.

Monthly Payments. A no-interest payment plan of 15 months begins during the first month of the MBSR-TT training. Each month’s payment being 1/15 of your total tuition.

Late Tuition Payments. Unless explicitly arranged, payments are due on the schedule described above. Late payments will be subject to a late fee of 5% annual interest compounded monthly.

EARLY WITHDRAWAL AND REFUNDS

In the event that an MBSR-TT student withdraws from the program, tuition refunds will be determined based on time spent in the program. More details below.

Deposit is Non-Refundable. Mindfulness Northwest will retain the $500 tuition deposit if an enrolled student withdraws from the program at any time, including prior to the first training meeting of Phase I.

Student withdrawal after the training has begun. Mindfulness Northwest retains a percentage of the full tuition based on withdrawal date (time spent in the training program), as indicated in Table 1 below.

Funds paid in excess of the amount due to Mindfulness Northwest will be refunded. Students paying with payment plans will continue making payments until the amount due has been paid.

Any refund will be paid within 30 calendar days of the student’s official withdrawal date.

Determining withdrawal date. A student’s official withdrawal date is determined by one of the following (at the discretion of Mindfulness Northwest):

  1. Date the Program Director receives notice of the student’s intention to discontinue the training program.
  2. Date student is given notice of termination for a violation of a published program policy which provides for termination.
  3. Date after which a student fails to attend training meetings or classes for 14 calendar days without notifying program staff.
If the student withdraws at any point during this phase of training: Mindfulness Northwest may retain this percentage of the full tuition:
Up to 29 weeks after the training start date* or the last training date of Phase I, whichever occurs first 40%
Up to 39 weeks after the training start date* or the last training date of Phase II, whichever occurs first 60%
Up to 66 weeks after the start date* or the last training date of Phase III, whichever occurs first 80%
After 66 weeks (about 70% of the training period) or the last training date of Phase III, whichever occurs first 100%

* The start date is defined as the first MBSR-TT training meeting in person or online for this cohort.

Example

In the case of a tuition rate of $9100, and a withdrawal at the end of Phase II, Mindfulness Northwest would retain (or be owed) 60% of $9100 = $5460.

Our Policies