The History of Development of MBCL
Working in mental health service, Frits Koster and Erik van den Brink developed the MBCL compassion training as a follow-up eight-week training programme for groups of clients, who wished to learn how to deal in a healthier way with pain, stress and suffering, whether it was physical, mental, emotional or relational.
After having participated in MBSR/MBCT clients experienced the beneficial effects of the practice of mindfulness on physical and mental health, but many had difficulties integrating it into their daiy lives. They needed more support in how to relate to persistent patterns, such as strong self-criticism and inner harshness, and how to balance self-care and care for others.
It was important to offer more explicit compassion practices in a trauma-sensitive way, which gave rise to the development of MBCL.
Deepening their practice, building on what they already learned in MBSR/MBCT, enabled them to experience more warmth, acceptance and connectedness with themselves and others. Soon it appeared that professionals from health care and other domains, could similarly benefit from MBCL.
Founders of MBCL
Erik van den Brink
Co-founder of MBCL
Erik studied medicine in Amsterdam and trained and worked in psychiatry in the UK. From his return to the Netherlands in 1995 he worked as a psychiatrist-psychotherapist and later also as a mindfulness teacher and trainer. He co-founded the Center for Integrative Psychiatry, an innovative mental health clinic in Groningen, and also worked in psycho-oncology. He has always been particularly interested in methods that empower people’s self-healing capacity and pioneered with mindfulness and compassion-based interventions in mental health. He has a long-standing personal meditation practice in Vipassana, Zen and secular forms, and was trained by founding teachers in MBSR/MBCT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy, Mindful Self-Compassion and Interpersonal Mindfulness. With Frits Koster he developed the MBCL programme and co-authored several publications on MBCL. He is a frequently asked guest teacher at mindfulness training institutes across Europe and beyond.
Co-founder of MBCL
Frits is an experienced meditation teacher and a qualified MBSR, MBCT and IMP teacher. He was a Buddhist monk for six years and during this period he studied Buddhist psychology at various monasteries in South East Asia. He has written several books on this subject, some of which have been translated into English. He is affiliated as a trainer at various mindfulness teacher training institutes across Europe. With Erik van den Brink he developed the Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL), this programme is internationally acknowledged as a ‘full dose follow-up’ Mindfulness-Based Programme (MBP). Together they wrote several books on MBCL. They teach MBCL-Intensives and Teacher Training programmes live and online worldwide. With his wife Jetty Heynekamp he teaches meditation retreats internationally; together with Victoria Norton they edited ‘Mindful Communication’ (Routledge, 2023). Frits is currently working with Zohair Elabd (a teacher training programme focussed on mindful communication) and Joyce Cordus (Mindfulness-Based Training in Forgiveness or MBTF).
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