MBCT: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Teacher Training Intensive

Course Description

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is an innovative, empirically validated treatment program designed to prevent relapse in people who have recovered from unipolar depression and has shown promise in the treatment of mood disorders more generally. Self-knowledge grounded in sustained meditative awareness is its central tenet. Based on the research of Drs. Zindel Segal, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale and documented in their book Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, the program integrates tools of cognitive therapy with the practice and clinical application of mindfulness meditation. 

The heart of MBCT lies in acquainting patients with the modes of mind that often characterize mood disorders while simultaneously inviting them to develop a new relationship to these modes. Patients learn to view thoughts as events in the mind, independent of their content and emotional charge. They need not be disputed but are held in a more spacious awareness, large enough to contain aspects of the self deemed both broken and whole. 


Registration will be limited for this intensive workshop/retreat in order to cultivate an intimate, personal and highly interactive training environment. Led by senior therapists, mindfulness teachers Mark Lau, Ph.D. and Andrea Grabovac, MD, FRCP(C), this training emphasizes the importance of the clinician’s own meditation practice and self-inquiry. Through role-play, simulated classroom and patient-practitioner encounters, it explores the actual application of mindfulness practices in working with clients. The curriculum integrates didactic, experiential and small group learning and includes daily meditations, yoga/mindful movement, and periods of silence. 

The curriculum explores our ability to clearly experience, in the midst of our everyday lives, the interplay of thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations–the experiential phenomena known to cause relapse–and how awareness of these domains accurately informs or distorts our capacity to understand ourselves and work with others. The content and curriculum of each MBCT class session is explored in detail, and descriptions of session themes, curricula, and samples of client handouts are provided. (The workshop format requires that participants be housed and fed on-site.) 


At the completion of this activity, the participants should be able to: 

  • Demonstrate and lead curriculum and core therapeutic tasks for each of the eight group sessions of MBCT 

  • Describe the central role of mindfulness meditation practice in facilitating self-regulation of emotions and mood 

  • Articulate the vital importance of the therapist’s ongoing mindfulness meditation practice and sustained mindful awareness within a psychotherapy framework 

  • Utilize their own mindfulness meditation practice, emphasizing both formal meditative practices and mindfulness as a mode of being in daily life 

  • Demonstrate the clinical skills and perspectives necessary to facilitate MBCT groups 

Target Audience 

This training is intended for mental health professionals wishing to expand their practice to include MBCT and mindfulness-related practices. Those in attendance should be either licensed clinicians in a mental health field, clinicians-in-training, or interested professionals who do not intend to deliver the intervention directly but have other professional interests in the topic (i.e. researchers, administrators, etc.). All participants should have at least a modest regular meditation practice and an established practice is preferred. 

Participant Guidelines 

It is our experience that successful delivery of MBCT requires facilitators to have a commitment to an ongoing, daily mindfulness meditation practice. To this end we have created recommendations for acceptance to this MBCT training. 

  • Advanced degree in mental health-related field (e.g., psychology, social work or counseling) 

  • Prior training in Vipassana or Insight Meditation and a personal commitment to and established daily meditation practice 

  • Familiarity with cognitive behavioral therapy techniques 

  • Experience with and an understanding of models of depression 

  • Experience facilitating group process 

Needs Assessment 

The utilization of mindfulness in a clinical context is a burgeoning area of study and practice in the mental health field in the past few years. The number of research articles, books and popular press articles on the topic is growing exponentially each year and the demand for quality professional training in these practices and techniques is growing each year. MBCT training has been offered for the past fourteen years through the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, with increasing enrollments each year, as well as at other sites across the country and around the world. 

Continuing Education Credits

Psychologists: This program is sponsored by UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This course offers 30.0 CE credit. 

California licensed MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, LCSWs: This activity is an approved continuing education program by the American Psychological Association. 30.0 CE credit may be applied to your license renewal through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. For those licensed outside California, please check with your local licensing board to determine if CE credit is accepted. 

Nurses: UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP16351, for 36.0 contact hours. 

CE credit fee: additional $75

Cultural and Linguistic Competency Statement 

This activity is in compliance with California Assembly Bill 1195 which requires continuing medical education activities with patient care components to include curriculum in the subjects of cultural and linguistic competency. Cultural competency is defined as a set of integrated attitudes, knowledge, and skills that enables health care professionals or organizations to care effectively for patients from diverse cultures, groups, and communities. Linguistic competency is defined as the ability of a physician or surgeon to provide patients who do not speak English or who have limited ability to speak English, direct communication in the patient’s primary language. Cultural and linguistic competency was incorporated into the planning of this activity. Additional resources can be found on the UC San Diego CME website


It is the policy of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine to ensure balance, independence, objectivity and scientific rigor. All persons involved in the selection, development and presentation of content are required to disclose any real or apparent conflicts of interest. All conflicts of interest will be resolved prior to an educational activity being delivered to learners through one of the following mechanisms: 1) altering the financial relationship with the commercial interest, 2) altering the individual’s control over CME content about the products or services of the commercial interest, and/or 3) validating the activity content through independent peer review. All persons are also required to disclose any discussions of off label/unapproved uses of drugs or devices. Persons who refuse or fail to disclose will be disqualified from participating in the CME activity. 

Tentative Schedule for Online Training 

(Times are just an example.)

First Day 
Orientation & Welcome 3:30pm-6:30pm (PDT) 

First Weekend 
Friday & Saturday 7am-5pm (PDT) 
Second Weekend 
Thursday, Friday & Saturday 7am-10am (PDT) 

Tentative Schedule for In-person Training 

(Times are just an example.)

First Day 
Registration: 3:00 – 5:00 pm 
Dinner: 5:30 – 6:30 pm 
First Session: 6:45 – 8:15 pm 

Second Day-Fifth Day 
Morning Practice 7:00 am – 8:00 am 
Breakfast 8:00 am – 9:00 am 
Morning Session 9:00 am – 12:30 pm 
Lunch 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm 
Afternoon Session 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm 
Dinner 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm 
Evening Session 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm 

Last Day 
Morning Practice 7:00 am – 8:00 am 
Breakfast 8:00 am – 9:00 am 
Morning Session 9:00 am – 12 pm 
Lunch 12:30 pm 

Required Reading 

  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, Second Edition by Zindel V. Segal, J. Mark G. Williams, John D. Teasdale 

  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn 

  • Cognitive Therapy of Depression by Beck, Rush, Shaw and Emery

  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: Embodied Presence and Inquiry in Practice (2019) by Woods, Rockman & Collins

While all four of these are highly recommended, the book on MBCT specifically is the most crucial. We highly recommend that you bring your copy with you to the retreat, as you may find it useful to refer to it at certain points. In addition to this material, you may want to save the link to this page, as there are several relevant journal articles posted at the bottom that may be of interest to you. 

Suggested Reading 

Following are links to several recent and relevant articles regarding Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, intended for the use of participants in the MBCT Professional Training presented by the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. Feel free to download and read the PDF files. They are intended for your personal and professional use. 

Frequently Asked Questions (for In-Person)

I am flying in for the training. What are my options and what do you recommend? 

See our LOCATIONS page for details about travel to the retreat centers and preferred airports. The UCSD Center for Mindfulness will set up a Ride Share Bulletin Board in coordinating shuttle rides for those arriving by air at local airports. 

What time should I plan to arrive? When do we finish? 

We will begin checking people into the retreat at 1 pm on the first day of the training. However, it may be possible for you to arrive before 1pm and have access to your room. We ask that you plan on arriving no later than 5pm so that we can begin with the full group in attendance at dinnertime. We plan to end the retreat by 1:00 pm on the last day so please plan your travel accordingly, using the time guidelines above. Sometimes situations arise in which people have to leave the retreat earlier than noon on the last day but we strongly urge you to avoid this if at all possible. 

Is there wireless service/cellular phone use? 

Please do not expect to get consistent, reliable wireless internet service while at the retreat center. It is most advisable to leave your computer at home because of the retreat nature of the training, however we recognize that sometimes computer use is a necessity. Most cellular phones will work in this location. Again, however given the nature of the training there will be limited opportunities to use them, so informing those who may need to contact you of these limitations ahead of time will be helpful. 

Is it possible to stay extra nights at the facility or arrive a day or two early? 

The retreat center is often booked both right before and right after our training, so arriving early or staying an extra night or two after the retreat is over is not likely to be a possibility. You can of course arrange to stay at lodging near the retreat center if you would like to extend your stay. Contact us directly at mindfulness@ucsd.edu to make such arrangements. 

What do I need to bring? 

If it is at all possible, please bring a meditation cushion (zafu) and a yoga mat. We will have a few cushions but not enough to go around, so if you have one and can squeeze it into your luggage or bring it as a carry-on please consider doing so. It is always advisable to check the weather forecast prior to traveling, to help guide you in proper clothing choices. 

The relatively remote location makes security a minor concern, but we do want people to know that with shared sleeping quarters and very limited availability of keys to lock rooms, we highly recommend leaving valuable items at home to reduce the possibility of anything being lost or stolen. Certainly some of us will have vehicles where such items can be secured if this is necessary. 

What should I expect regarding the format of the training? 

This training is taught in a retreat format, which means there is a great deal of mindfulness practice embedded in the training, and we want to reiterate that now so you are not surprised when you get here. The venue very much facilitates this format; we will will meet, eat and be housed in a relatively secluded area. There are no other large groups planned in the center that week so it should be relatively quiet and secluded. The rooms are clean and comfortable, but not by any means luxurious. and as you probably noted on the website, you will have a roommate. In most cases several of you will share a dorm-style bathroom nearby. 

What should I read prior to arriving? 

Check the “Schedule and Required Reading” page of the specific training you are registered to attend. 

What if I require some special accommodations or have dietary restrictions? 

While you are asked to note specific food restrictions on your registration application, if there are any additional food or medical concerns we should be aware of please let us know of these in advance so we may assist you. 


Pricing and Payments 

The course fee is $575 ($525 if you pay in full 30 days in advance for the course). 


UC San Diego Employees may take the course for $525 (or $475 if you pay in full 30 days prior to the start of class).


We have partnered with the UC San Diego Health Employee Wellness Program. UC San Diego Health Employee Fee: $365.

UCSD Health Employees are eligible for a yearly subsidy of up to $210 for any of our programs. Learn more here!


Please be aware that the early-bird rate is available for all participants who register and pay their balance in full by the early-bird deadline (30 days before the start date).

All remaining balances must be paid in full 30 days prior to the start of the training or your registration will be cancelled for non-payment and you will not be permitted to attend. 

Online Application Form 

During the registration process, you will be required to fill out an online application form.

Your application for this training will not be taken under consideration until the application form has been submitted. Should your qualifications not be accepted for admittance, a full refund will be granted.

Cancellation Policy 

A refund (minus your $50 non-refundable/non-transferable deposit) will be made for participants who withdraw prior to the 2nd class by emailing mindfulness@health.ucsd.edu. There will be no refunds after the 2nd class.

In the unlikely event that the course is cancelled, UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is responsible only for a full refund of the registration fee and not for transportation, hotel accommodations or any miscellaneous expenses.