What is the History of Mindfulness-based programmes?

The vast majority of the worldwide research has been conducted with participants and teachers who have followed one of the gold-standard, evidence based, eight-week mindfulness courses such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

MBSR was the founding Mindfulness course of the current, non-religious, Mindfulness Movement. Developed in the late 1970's by Prof Jon Kabat Zinn, MBSR has since become respected and taught throughout the world in many different contexts.

Professor Jon Kabat Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, was himself a Yoga and Zen practitioner and believed that these practices, in a secular context, could be of benefit to people suffering from chronic illness and debilitating conditions that could not be fully helped by medical interventions. Having developed the MBSR eight-week programme he went on to found the Stress Reduction Clinic and began teaching others to share the MBSR programme that has since benefitted so many.

This approach was taken up by Professor of Psychology, Mark Williams (then of Bangor University), Zindal Segal and John Teasdale. They adapted the MBSR programme, integrating Cognitive Therapy techniques, to benefit patients who had suffered recurring depressive episodes. This programme, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is now acknowledged by NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) as a treatment of choice among this group of patients.

It is now widely acknowledged that you don't need to be a patient in a clinical context to benefit from these practical courses. The Oxford University's Mindfulness Centre, under the leadership of Professor Willem Kuyken, adapted the MBCT for the benefit of the General Population as the Mindfulness for Life (MBCT-L) eight-week programme. It follows closely the main themes and practices of the earlier programmes.

Mindful Stream