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Annetje (1961) is a compassion trainer (MBCL) and teacher in the teacher training MBCL in the Netherlands together with Frits Koster and Erik van den Brink. She has been practicing zen for over 30 years and received Dharma Transmission from Irène Kaigetsu Bakker sensei in the White Plum Lineage of Maezumi roshi. She teaches compassion, zen and mindfulness in secular settings, in the Zen Spirit Sangha, in retreats and on online platforms (www.30now.nl). She divides her time and energy between the contemplative field of silence and social action. And lately seeks to combine these two in climate retreats.
Jikai is her second Dharma name, meaning ‘compassion ocean’. Her first teacher gave her the Dharma name Mokudo which means ‘silent way’. Both names she considers a huge gift and also continuous practice. Annetje is known to provide a safe and compassionate space for all meditation practitioners. She is married to Paul, and together they are blessed with three wonderful daughters, who are in their twenties.
Barbara trained as a mindfulness-based teacher through Bangor University in 2005/6 and has been teaching 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction / Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBSR/MBCT) courses to the general public in Kent, UK since 2006. Between 2015-2017, she trained in Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living and has offered the 8-week course since 2017 in groups face-to-face and online and also in the format of the Foundation Course with the Mindfulness Network, UK. She has been working as a Biodynamic Psychotherapist (UKCP reg.) since 2000 and uses one-to-one mindfulness informed approaches in clinical settings. Since 2009, she has been engaged in supervising mindfulness teachers and is a supervisor and mentor with the Mindfulness Network, UK. Barbara has a special interest in deepening mindfulness practice beyond the 8-week course and offers groups, practice days and retreats as a help in facing and working with life’s difficulties in greater awareness and with compassion for oneself and for others.
Bridgette is a tutor and trainer with the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University and a supervisor and the retreat lead for the Mindfulness Network. She has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and worked in NHS mental health services as a Clinical Psychologist for 16 years. She has taught mindfulness within the NHS since 2002 and continues to work as an associate of the Sussex Mindfulness Centre. Bridgette also teaches MBCT and MBSR for third sector organizations and the general public. She is particularly interested in the role of compassion in mindfulness interventions and trained as a Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) teacher in 2016. She delivers trainings and retreats with Erik van den Brink and Frits Koster as well as colleagues in the UK with the Mindfulness Network.
Cristina (in Brazil known as Cris) is an online teacher at Instituto Plenativamente in Brazil where she teaches the 8-week Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) and the Teacher Training course of Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP). She started her training in Mindfulness with the British institution Breathworks and is accredited to teach Mindfulness and Compassion for Health and Mindfulness for Stress. Cris is an online counsellor registered by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and her practice is also informed by mindfulness and compassion therapeutic strategies. Currently belongs to the post-doctoral program of the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) with the Department of Psychobiology, integrating the Mindfulness Workgroup. She holds a PhD in Health and Social Care (Bangor University) and a Master in Public Health (UNIFESP). She is part of the Awakened Heart Sangha in the UK, as a student of Lama Shenpen Hookham in the Mahamudra and Dzogchen teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.
Erik van den Brink
Co-counder 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. He is a frequently asked guest teacher at mindfulness training institutes across Europe and beyond.
Fairouz El-Hammar Vergnes
Fairouz is an anaesthetist and hospital doctor at the Bordeaux University Hospital. Her practice of mindfulness led her to become an MBSR and then MBCL facilitator in order to share her experience with hospital staff and patients, especially chronic pain patients. She has thus participated in the creation since 2018 of the Institute of Integrative and Complementary Medicine (IMIC) at the University Hospital of Bordeaux, dedicated to the staff and patients. She is co-author of the French MBCL workbook Le défi de la compassion; vivre avec Coeur. Currently she is almost entirely dedicated to teaching MBSR and MBCL teaching in this unit. She is a teacher trainer for MBSR and MBCL at the IMA (Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches), a renowned European training institute for mindfulness-based approaches. Having been trained in Mindfulness-Based Supervision with The Mindfulness Network, Fairouz offers Supervision for new MBI teachers at the IMA.
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).
More information will follow soon…
Jana is a certified psychologist, certified MBSR, MBCT and MBCL senior teacher. She is a teacher trainer for MBCL at the Institute for Mindfulness Based Approaches (IMA), a renowned European training institute for mindfulness-based approaches. She offers Mindfulness-Based Supervision for MBCL and MBSR and is a recognized supervisor by the MBSR-MBCT-Verband der Achtsamkeitslehrenden (the German association of mindfulness teachers). She has been practicing Vipassana and Metta for over 20 years with various teachers and yearly silent retreats. Since 2008 she has been teaching MBSR on a freelance basis. She is co-author of the german MBCL Workbook Mitgefühl üben. Das große MBCL Praxisbuch (Practicing Compassion. The grand MBCL practice book) which was published in 2020. She has lived in the USA and speaks English fluently. Before earning a degree in psychology, she trained and worked as a physiotherapist.
Klaus founded Geistreich – Coaching, Training und Beratung (an austrian contemporary consulting company with a focus on training and coaching) in 2016. He offers a high-quality range of services for individuals and organizations in the core competency fields of Mindfulness, Compassion and Positive Psychology. Klaus is owner and managing director. He is a mindfulness practitioner since 2009 (training in Burma, among other places) and attending yearly silent retreats since then. He is MBSR-, MBCL- and breathworks-teacher, faculty member and supervisor at the Institut für Achtsamkeit (IAS) (a renownded German training institute for mindfulness-based approaches). In addition, he is a teacher in training of the MBCL teacher training program. He has more than 20 years of experience working in various companies. His participation in study programs in Asia and his many travels around the world have given him a profound understanding of the rich ways and possibilities of different approaches to mindfulness and compassion, which he shares in a pragmatic way.
Marleen ter Avest
Marleen, is a psychologist and compassion (MBCL | cat.A) and mindfulness (MBSR/MBCT | cat.1) trainer and researcher, with an expertise in online training and supervision, and increasing interest in fierce compassion and sensory processing sensitivity (SPS). She has a background in medicine and psychology and obtained her PhD in 2021 on the working mechanisms of compassion and mindfulness in people with (recurrent) depression at the Center for Mindfulness department of the Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. As meditation teacher, Marleen is affiliated with several national and international platforms. In addition, she is a teacher in training of the MBCL teacher training program. Moreover, she is committed as chair of the science committee of the association for mindfulness-based trainers of the Netherlands (VMBN) to disseminate knowledge about scientific developments within the field of compassion and mindfulness.
Marta trained as an MBSR teacher in 2018 in the former Polish Mindfulness Institute (Fundacja Polski Instytut Mindfulness), and as an MBCL teacher in 2021 in the Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches. She has since been teaching 8-week programs to the general public, and also mindfulness group workshops in companies and institutions. She is a co-author of Polish MBCL Workbook Życie ze współczuciem oparte na uważności. Praktyczny przewodnik po kursie MBCL, published in 2023. She is an organiser and a translator of Polish teacher trainings in MBCL and DMMC, as well as of meditation retreats in Poland.
Maryvonne is one of the pioneers of compassion in the Netherlands. With her institute Gentleminds – Institute for Compassion she guided the transition process in which mindfulness in the Netherlands transformed towards compassion from 2021. She is the founder of the Compassion Approach, a development path for an awake, kind mind, in which training, practice and lifestyle are central. Maryvonne is a Communication Specialist, Compassion Trainer, Mindfulness Trainer for adults, adolescents and children and Mindfulness-Based Supervisor. She has been practicing Vipassana Meditation and Zhineng Qigong since 2014 and is also trained as a Trainer of Mindful Compassionate Parenting and is an ACT coach. She trained as a Chineng Qigong Teacher, meditation in movement, a pillar of Traditional Chinese Medicine, to keep body and mind in balance. Maryvonne is connected to Gentleminds as founder, owner and main teacher and also as supervisor and teacher to the MBCL compassiontraining of Frits Koster and Erik van den Brink. In her practice in Haarlem, she has guided meditation groups, trainings and workshops for fifteen years. Since 2010 she has been writing blogs and articles on Compassiememo, a platform for writing with compassion.
More Information will follow soon…
Rhoda is an MBCL teacher-trainer based in Groningen, the Netherlands. She has been working with Frits and Erik for the past ten years, having conducted her doctoral thesis on the effectiveness of the MBCL programme in recurrent depression at the Radboud University Medical Centre. Click here for access to the full version of her thesis. She has presented on mindfulness and compassion training on numerous occasions both nationally and internationally, and teaches compassion for students at the Hanze University in Groningen. At the Hanze, Rhoda further works as a senior researcher in healthy lifestyle & citizen science. She is connected as an MBI teacher to Gentleminds in the Netherlands, and regularly assists other researchers in mindfulness and compassion based science. Rhoda is available for one-on-one mindfulness based compassion coaching. Feel free to contact her.
Sylvia Comas Barrera
Sylvia is a Business Sciences graduate and MBA from ESADE and HEC, Paris. She developed her professional career over 20 years in Paris, Madrid, New York and Barcelona, holding various management positions in the luxury goods and fashion sector. During that stage she was able to experience stress first-hand many times, its effects on the mind and body and the consequences it had on her life and well-being. Sylvia is Yoga practitioner since 1992 and practices meditation since 1998. She is certified Mindfulness teacher with the MBSR (Mindfulness based Stress Reduction) program by the University of Massachusetts Medical Center since 2012 as well as certified Instructor of the MBCL (Mindfulness based Compassionate Living) protocol. Since 2009, she has been attending yearly silent retreats in the Vipassana and Zen traditions, with various teachers. In 2014 she co-founded the esMindfulness Institute of Barcelona. 2018 she decided to disassociate herself from that project and launch Mindfulness con Corazón (Mindfulness with Heart), as a personal initiative aimed at promoting Mindfulness practice spaces and experiences that emphasize developing the dimensions of care, kindness and compassion, both towards oneself and towards others. She is author of Burbujas de paz, un pequeño libro de mindfulness (Nube de Tinta, 2016), Los Cuentos de Burbujas de Paz (Nube de Tinta, 2018) and contributed to Esas cosas que llamamos compasión (Ed Baraka, 2022).
Zümra is the faculty member of the Counseling Psychology Department at MEF University-Istanbul, Turkey and Mindfulness teacher. In 2014 she founded the Mindfulness Institute Turkey. She teaches MBSR-, MBCT- amd MBCL-courses and organizes trainings and supervising sessions, workshops, and talks. She is the author of several books related to Mindfulness and Compassion and co-author of the turkish MBCL Workbook Şefkat Korkaklara Göre Değil (Compassion is Not for Cowards – A Practice Guide for Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living), which was published in 2021. Zümra is a pioneer of mindfulness in Turkey and contributed a lot to disseminating mindfulness in her country. She is also the founding president of the Turkey Mindfulness Teachers Association (MINDED) and co-founder of Anbean Mindfulness App.
"May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within." - John O´Donohue This line from John O’Donohue’s poem "For Belonging’"can perhaps be an inspiration for us all, for the year ahead. The poem was read at the end of the online Teacher Training in...
In the world we live in today, kindness and compassion are qualities that are easily overwhelmed by the harshness we can meet in ourselves and in the world around us. However as science has confirmed, kindness and compassion are very important contributors to...
"Contemporary scientific knowledge solidly affirmsthat kindness and compassion are to the brainwhat the breath is to life." In the end of the 70s, like all young men in the Netherlands, I had to join military service for some time. I had just started to meditate and...