MBSR Fundamentals | SR-401

In response to the call for effective and competent practitioners able to teach the evidence-based Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR), two formats of the MBSR Fundamentals (SR-401) course are available for physicians, nurses, behavioral and health professionals, educators, researchers, administrators, and others who qualify as future MBSR teachers.

MBSR Fundamentals (SR-401) establishes the guiding principles and practices of the MBSR program and curriculum. Attitudes and skills of the teacher, language, principles, pedagogical methods and examining how to engage participants in an exploration of their own lives are observed, investigated, and practiced. Concurrently, through field work as a participant/observer in an MBSR course (either the 8-week class or 5-day Mindfulness Tools program), we examine the theoretical underpinnings, teacher attributes, knowledge, skills and underlying research supporting MBSR.

SR-401-8WMBSR Fundamentals - 8 Week

In this 8-week program students:

  • Attend all sessions as a participant/observer of an MBSR program at the CFM (includes orientation, all 8-week sessions plus the All-Day session)
  • Participate in a concurrent 8-week professional training

The 8-week MBSR Fundamentals format (SR-401-8W) is the definitive eight-week onsite clinical program. Students attend all sessions of the regular 8-week MBSR program (orientation session, 8 weekly sessions, plus the all-day session), as participant/observers. This in-vivo learning environment immerses students in the foundations, approach, methodology, and clinical applications of MBSR as it exemplifies current MBSR standards of practice. The concurrent 8-week professional seminar—with additional opening and closing sessions—provides in-depth exploration of the foundational underpinnings and pedagogy of the MBSR program with an experiential grounding. Full attendance at all Fundamentals sessions is required, excluding emergencies or weather cancellations. Meets the requirements for MBSR Practice Teaching Intensive (SR-402).

SR-401-9DMBSR Fundamentals - 9 Day

In this 9-day program students:

  • Participate in the Mindfulness Tools Program™, a 5-day intensive residential program offered by the CFM that provides similar content to the 8-week MBSR class
  • Participate in a 4-day intensive professional training, which directly follows the Mindfulness Tools Program and is analagous to the 8-week MBSR Fundamentals training (SR-401-8W)

The 9-day Fundamentals course, (SR-401-9D) is designed for MBSR teacher trainees who live at a significant distance from an 8-week MBSR training site, or who are unable to obtain leave from their jobs and other responsibilities to attend the weekly MBSR Fundamentals format (SR-401-8W). This intensive residential training is based on the 8-week MBSR curriculum. For the first 5 days, students are immersed in the Mindfulness Tools Program™, a synthesized format of the 8-week MBSR course that includes intensive meditation, small and large group dialogue and interaction, and teacher instruction. In the 4 days immediately following Mindfulness Tools Program™, students participate in an intensive, highly experiential professional training to facilitate further integration of the Mindfulness Tools Program™ through instruction, investigation and dialogue with teachers and other Practicum participants. Completion of MBSR Fundamentals (SR-401-9D) meets the requirements for MBSR Practice Teaching Intensive (SR-402).

Pre-requisites *

 - MBSR 8-Week Course in one of the following formats:

- Retreat #1
- Minimum of one year of personal meditation practice

*A change in pre-requisites regarding online live courses:
While acknowledging the steep rise in online-live delivery of the MBSR curriculum around the world, we feel a strong sense of responsibility to better understand how this mode compares to the in-person classroom experience that we at the CFM have been engaged in for almost 40 years. To better study, compare and understand the strength and efficacy of these two delivery methods, we have started collecting data that will specifically compare participant outcomes on these two models. This is a crucial step in understanding the challenges and benefits that exist in the video-conferencing medium. With our deep investment in the integrity of teacher training, we are temporarily suspending the admittance of the CFM Online MBSR classes, and other online-live MBSR classes as one of the ways to fulfill the MBSR requirement to enter the Teacher Education Pathway, with one exception: we will continue to honor Steve Flowers’ MBSR class, which we have done for many years.

If you have taken an online live MBSR course in Fall 2016, Winter 2017 or Spring 2017 cycle with the CFM or a CFM approved teacher, those courses will count as a prerequisite. As we gather and compare outcome research on these two delivery modes, we will revisit this decision, the better to understand and possibly adapt our training pathway to reflect the results of our research.

Educational Objectives

  • Educate and train physicians, nurses, behavioral health professionals,other health care professionals, educators, researchers and others who may qualify in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) through in-vivo experiential learning
  • Discuss and analyze the scientific, theoretical, and pedagogical underpinnings of MBSR
  • Familiarize participants with identified teacher competencies accessed via the Mindfulness-Based Interventions-Teacher Assessment Criteria (MBI-TAC)
  • Identify and examine MBSR within the larger fields of mind-body, integrative and participatory medicine
  • Become familiar with MBSR and other mindfulness-based research and scientific literature
  • Facilitate the formation and implementation of a coherent, active international network of MBSR professionals

Learning Outcomes

  • Distinguish how key theoretical features of MBSR are embedded within the MBSR curriculum
  • Identify and practice essential language principles of MBSR teaching
  • Expand competence in leading short, guided mindfulness meditation practices used in MBSR
  • Examine relational dynamics demonstrated in both the MBSR classroom and in the Fundamentals training
  • Survey and interpret clinical implications of current MBSR research


  • Deepen personal MBSR mindfulness meditation practice
  • Demonstrate an increased capacity for authentic self-awareness and expression as a teacher
  • Recognize, appraise and develop competence in ethos, structure, and content of MBSR course
  • Offer introductory and informational sessions based on MBSR upon successful completion of MBSR Fundamentals (SR-401-8W or SR-401-9D)

Course Overview

Living into the underlying theoretical, philosophical, and pedagogical foundations of MBSR,both Fundamentals formats establish a shared body of practice. In both formats, experiential learning with peers and teachers provides opportunity for rigorous self-assessment, large and small group dialogue, and direct knowledge of MBSR principles.

Students guide each other in mindfulness practices incorporated directly from the MBSR curriculum, reflect upon reading assignments, examine the ethos of MBSR standards of practice from their own lived experience in the MBSR class, and become familiar with MBSR and other mindfulness-based research and scientific literature. In addition to forming and implementing an active international network of MBSR colleagues, students who meet competency standards are authorized to offer mindfulness-based introductory programs. In order to teach the full 8-week MBSR program successful completion of MBSR Practice Teaching Intensive (SR-402) is required.

Retreat Requirement #1

Prior to attending MBSR Fundamentals (SR-401-8W or SR-401-9D), students are required to attend a 5-day or longer silent, teacher-led retreat. This retreat fulfills the first of four retreats required for CFM Teacher Certification.

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