MBCT Professional Training 2019

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Professional Training 2019

We have now reviewed the MBCT professional training program and have made the decision to keep the Level 1 & 2 training on hold during 2019. While we are confident that the training is of high quality, it needs to be sustained in parallel with a clinical program. During late September 2019, we will be exploring avenues to more effectively establish our MBCT clinical program and will also look to extend the size of the training faculty. We will, however, continue to provide opportunities for advanced trainees wishing to proceed to Level 3.

Please fill out this form if you wish to be advised of updates.

The Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) Professional Training program has been run annually through Monash University since 2005. The program was suspended in 2011 in order to enable a comprehensive review of the program to take place. This review was completed in 2013 and we have drawn on UK practice guidelines in order to develop a new three level format. Details of the program along with course fees are provided below.


Professional training in (MBCT) is a certificate course provided through Southern Synergy. The program follows the MBCT group format developed by Segal, Williams and Teasdale (2002; 2013). The aim is to provide comprehensive training in the instruction of MBCT group therapy in order to prepare clinicians to provide this therapy in the community.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

MBCT is a manualised group-based intervention designed to reduce rates of relapse of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and most commonly applied with people who have had multiple previous episodes of depression. This is an important area for attention because at least 60% of people who have had one episode of major depressive disorder will have another, mostly within two years of the index episode. Seventy percent of those who have had two episodes will have a third, and 90% of those with three episodes will have a fourth.

MBCT integrates aspects of cognitive therapy with components of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. It teaches clients to become more aware of, and to relate differently to, thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations; in particular, to view thoughts and feelings as passing events in the mind rather than as necessarily reflecting reality. The program teaches skills in disengagement from habitual (automatic) dysfunctional cognitive routines, especially depression-related ruminative thought patterns as a way to reduce risk of relapse and recurrence of depression. Clinical course participants develop personal documentation detailing warning signs and related action plans, as well as considering how to maintain practices and habits they have found helpful. Its efficacy in reducing risk of recurring depression has been demonstrated in multiple randomised controlled trials, with two published meta-analyses. It is now included in the UK Government's National Institute of Clinical Excellence Guidelines for prevention of depressive recurrence for patients who have suffered three or more episodes of depression. In the Australian context it features in Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists clinical practice guidelines for mood disorders and beyondblue recommended treatment options for depression.

MBCT is a radical innovation within mental health care. MBCT is grounded in traditional spiritual practice, brining ancient meditation skills and approaches to life into psychotherapeutic practice. These practices are nevertheless collected into MBCT in a way consistent with highest standards of evidence-based practice, scientific psychological enquiry and rigorous clinical method.

Our staff

Meet the MBCT Training Faculty.


Level 1

The Level 1 course is designed for all health care clinicians from relevant disciplines (e.g., psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses) who wish to undertake this course for personal development, to increase their professional knowledge of MBCT in order to make more informed referrals, or as an first step in completing their training to become an instructor of MBCT group therapy within the community.

Levels 2 & 3

Clinicians who wish to go on to complete the Level 2 and 3 training in order to instruct MBCT groups, are required to have:

a. completed Level 1 training (or equivalent) - please note that completing an 8-week MBSR course is not equivalent to Level 1 MBCT training;

b. established a mindfulness practice;

c. previously completed (or be currently enrolled in) professional clinical training in cognitive behavioural therapy; and

d. knowledge and experience working within the mental health field including and especially with Major Depression.

Fee structure

Full and early-bird fees have been set taking into account requirements set by Monash University and the need to recover costs for implementing this program. Given the close links between Southern Synergy and Monash Health, a limited number of heavily discounted places are available on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible, self-funded Monash Health staff. However, if you have access to a continuing education funding pool we would request that you register at the full rate and claim reimbursement through that funding pool.

Refund policy

Under review.

Course Details

Level 1: Introduction to Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Professional Training


Level 1 training involves participation in an eight-week course that is a variation of the MBCT therapy group adapted for the training situation plus attendance at a 6 hour Day of Mindful Practice. There are regular homework and diary-keeping tasks, particularly guided meditations, amounting to about 45 minutes a day, 6 days/week, for the duration of the course. It is expected that trainees will attend all 8 sessions and commit to home practice. A half-hour interview between trainees and the course instructor will occur prior to the course commencing. A period of at least two months is allowed between the end of the course and the training day to enable participants to consolidate their personal practice and associated learning from the eight sessions.

Note that group sessions will be videorecorded for the purpose of quality control and to model requirements for Level 3 training. While the camera field will be set up to include the group instructor only, it is possible that the incidental recording of a trainee will occur from time to time. Your consent to videorecording is a condition of enrolling in Level 1 training.

Level 1 groups will proceed subject to participant numbers reaching viable levels.

Level 2: Exploration of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Professional training


Level 2 training is intended to provide clinicians with intensive training in the instruction of MBCT. It involves a four-day residential Instructor Development Retreat (IDR) that emphasises intensive personal practice as well as concentrated and closely supervised practice in leading small to medium group meditations and follow-up discussions. Preparatory activities include study of a provided set of lesson plans and some directed exploration of relevant Buddhist philosophy. The retreat builds on this covering intensive personal practice, the approach to initial interviews, then closely supervised practice leading small-medium group meditations, inquiry, and setting and dealing with homework tasks.

Level 2 training will proceed subject to participant numbers reaching viable levels.

Level 3: Consolidation of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Professional training


Level 3 training provides participants with the opportunity to consolidate their mindfulness-based instructor training, under the supervision of experienced MBCT instructors from the teaching faculty. Trainees continue developing their MBCT instructor skills through initially working alongside an experienced co-facilitator conducting an MBCT group therapy course and then later independently conducting the course while receiving supervisory coaching. Level 3 training involves 44 contact hours on the part of the trainee with 32 hours from the supervisor, including shared delivery of MBCT or supervision.


Standard Fee 
Instalment 1: ($1,426.00)
Instalment 2: ($1,426.00)
Full Payment: $2,852.00
Full-time student / HCC / Monash University staff / Victorian public mental health staff 
Instalment 1: ($998.00)
Instalment 2: ($998.00)
Full Payment: $1,996.00
Monash Health Staff 
Instalment 1: ($713.00)
Instalment 2: ($713.00)
Full Payment: $1,426.00

UK network good practice guidelines for mindfulness-based courses

This MBCT professional training program at Southern Synergy has been constructed in alignment with the UK network for mindfulness-based teachers good practice guidelines. As such it offers:

  • Personal participation in the mindfulness-based course that trainees will be learning to teach, including an in-depth personal experience of all the core meditation practices.
  • An in-depth, rigorous mindfulness-based instructor training programme over a minimum 12 month period.
  • Knowledge of the relevant underlying psychological processes, associated research and evidence-base practices required of a mindfulness-based instructor.
  • Regular and personalised supervision by an experienced mindfulness-based teacher throughout the three levels of the mindfulness-based training program.

The recent revision and construction of the course in alignment with these guidelines, which have become generally available since we established earlier versions of the course, creates a sound reference point for the updated course content and process. Participants can be assured of receiving a training program which is consistent with sound training practices.

The role of a personal mindfulness practice

You do not need to be a meditator to enter this course. However, the expectation and requirement for delivery of MBCT is that participants either come to the course with familiarity with a mindfulness practice which they are willing to further explore, or alternatively be willing through the course to develop and maintain a personal mindfulness practice.

We do expect that all participants should make the commitment through the course to establish and maintain a regular practice. We also strongly advocate retreat time as an important way to develop and consolidate mindfulness into your life, so enhancing the skill and authenticity you can bring to working with MBCT. Along with maintenance of a regular mindfulness practice, it is probably wise to assume that taking part in one or more week long retreats will likely be necessary to be able to demonstrate the relevant skills assessed in Level 3 of this program, those being providing good evidence of proficiency for clinical practice with MBCT.

Clinicians training in delivery of MBCT will gain personal exposure to the elements of the multimodal mindfulness training developed primarily by Jon Kabat Zinn and others at the Centre for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts. For MBCT, this is set out very clearly as adapted for inclusion in MBCT by Professor Zindel Segal from the University of Toronto, Professor Mark Williams from the Universities of Bangor and Oxford, and Professor John Teasdale from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Personal practice is critical in being able to model as needed for this training. Individuals differ in the rate at which they can acquire the capacities needed to delivery MBCT. However, with a reasonable commitment to the homework within the course, which includes substantial meditation practice, and an openness to the experiences that will unfold through this, many participants will find there is time in this program to develop the needed skills.

If you would like to be placed on our mailing list for future MBCT professional training programs, please let us know by emailing: