MBCp Teacher Training online Program
Level 1A: September 2021 – December 2021
Level 1B: January 2022 – March 2022
Level 2: April 2022 – June 2022
The Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP) course offers parents-to-be the opportunity to use the remarkably transformative time of pregnancy and childbirth to learn mindfulness skills for working with the stress, pain and fear that are often a normal part of this profound journey into the unknown. Through the learning offered in the MBCP course, the expectant parents will also have these skills in place for parenting mindfully from the moments of birth. Expectant parents find that as they practice being in the present moment, they are able to live through this ordinary—and extraordinary—life transition with greater confidence, wisdom and joy. The practice of mindfulness becomes not only a way of birthing but a lifelong resource for parenting and living with greater awareness, kindness, connectedness and care.
While MBCP is certainly not the only way to teach mindfulness to the childbearing population, the MBCP course is well-grounded in a methodology and approach that is evidence-based and that has already been proven to be extraordinarily effective in reducing stress and increasing the mental and physical health and well-being of tens of thousands of people worldwide. We are delighted to now share this work through the online MBCP Teacher Training (MBCPTT) program so that others might be able to bring the profound benefits of mindfulness practice to those who are birthing and parenting the next generation.
The MBCPTT program will equip professionals to teach the 9-week MBCP course to pregnant women and their partners. The MBCP course has been widely acclaimed, with perinatal professionals from all over the world now training to teach MBCP.
The training is open to perinatal professionals who have completed an 8-week MBSR, MBCT, or MBCP course and who have some experience working with families during the perinatal period.
For a full description of the required background and qualifications necessary to apply for the MBCPTT program, click here.
The MBCPTT program extends over 9 months and is divided into 3 parts: Level 1A, Level 1B, and Level 2.
Level 1A is an opportunity to experience the MBCP program as a participant-observer by streaming a video of a full 9-week MBCP course (including the day of silence) taught by Nancy Bardacke, CNM, who developed the MBCP course. Weekly readings from Nancy’s book Mindful Birthing are also assigned. During Level 1A, it is expected that you will to commit to the same weekly home practices that the MBCP class participants are assigned. Your learning experience through the 9-week course will be supported by 5 online, live dialogue groups led by MBCP Faculty. This is a time to deepen your own mindfulness practice, to begin to understand the MBCP curriculum from the participant's point-of-view and to observe the impact of the course on the expectant parents (and yourself).
Level 1B is an opportunity to begin the journey from mindfulness practitioner to mindfulness teacher. In weekly online seminars you will practice leading the MBCP meditations, dialogue, and inquiry, with faculty and peer feedback.
This will enable you to step into the role of mindfulness teacher in a supportive and encouraging environment. All trainees will be expected to do some beginning teaching to their peers. The main focus of this part of the training is developing the skill of guiding mindfulness practices and beginning to learn the art of inquiry.
Trainees will prepare for leading meditation practices by meeting with their fellow students outside of the weekly seminar, supporting one another’s learning. Home study will also involve background reading, personal practice, and watching additional MBCP video materials.
During the later weeks of Level 1B, students will be offered an individual session with a an MBCP Faculty member to discuss their development during Level 1B and to explore the steps that would be appropriate for them in their teaching journey. Some may be ready and will be encouraged to begin to teach in a limited capacity, while others may be guided to further training or personal practice before beginning to teach.
Upon completion of Level 1A and level 1B, students will receive a Certificate of Completion.
Level 2 is also offered in weekly online seminars. The online seminars are a mixture of experiential student teaching practice and faculty-led didactic teaching of background theory and practice, in order to more deeply understand the MBCP curriculum. Trainees will also explore the professional and ethical issues involved in offering a Mindfulness-Based course.
During Level 2, some students may be beginning to teach pregnant couples in a limited capacity (e.g., teaching one couple or offering a taster session to work colleagues).
Home practice during Level 2 will consist of preparing teaching practices, watching videos, and doing background reading in preparation for class dialogues. Trainees will also be encouraged to engage with their classmates outside of the seminars in order to build confidence and to support their learning.
Students are expected to attend at least one 5-7 day teacher-led silent mindfulness retreat during their training and ongoing silent retreat attendance annually for the duration of their teaching career. There can be some flexibility in this requirement for those with young children or other extenuating circumstances.
Upon completion of Levels 1A, 1B, 2 and a period of teaching, practice, and professional mentorship, students may apply to become A Certified MBCP Teacher.
approach to curriculum
For those who have decided to embark on training to teach MBCP, it would be wise to use this period as a step in understanding the structure and the week-by-week intentions for each class. There is an inherent intelligence in the order the practices and exercises are introduced and in the methods used to teach them which have been proven over time to be extremely effective.
That said, the curriculum is not to be viewed as a formula or technique to be applied in a ridged, cookie cutter-like fashion. Rather, it is meant to be a guide for allowing the teaching to emerge from the interactions between the instructor and the expectant parents in the classroom. It is in this ebb and flow of mutual inquiry, deeply grounded in the instructor’s own mindfulness practice and the intentions embedded in the
curriculum that the wisdom of the teachings emerges. When the curriculum is viewed in this way, your teaching will be authentic as you grow, learn, and find ways for your own creativity, intelligence, and wisdom to come alive in the present moment. As it has been aptly said, “You can only teach what you know” and your teaching will be only as effective, skillful, and beneficial as you are in embodying the practice both inside and outside the classroom.
The curriculum is to be seen as an overall guide, not a straightjacket. It is best seen as a dynamic system designed for continual adaptation for delivery under different circumstances and adaptable to the contingencies and requirements of the present moment. Only the fundamentals are invariant. This is particularly true in teaching meditation. Although I teach the same thing over and over again, and stay fairly close to the format..., I never teach the same class twice. Each class is unique, and its qualities come in large part out of the participants and out of the uniqueness of the present moment. This curriculum must be sensitive to the unique local conditions (social, economic, cultural) and to the explicitly designed short and long-term objectives of the intervention. – Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD
Whether you are embarking on this training with the intention to actually teach the MBCP program or simply to expand your ability to bring mindfulness skills into your professional work with couples and families during the perinatal period, this training course is an opportunity to deepen your own personal mindfulness practice. Approaching the training in this way, you may find unique and unexpected opportunities to creatively bring mindfulness practice into your work and your personal life.
Teaching in the MBCP classroom is a mindfulness practice. We never know what a participant will say, what experience will be reported, what question will be asked—or how we might respond in any particular moment. By staying curious with an open heart and mind, we try to live the practice as best we can. By bringing awareness to our own reactivity, fears, judgments, and attachments, we endeavor to let go of our own agenda and to be in the present moment with what is happening within a particular participant and within a particular classroom moment, as well as within all of the other class participants and ourselves, in the here and now.