Mindfulness Based Programmes (MBPs) come in many forms.

Full MBPs

Most MBPs that are the subject of research, and for which there is a substantial evidence base, are 8 week programmes, delivered in group form for about 2 to 2.5 hours a week. They are mostly derived from MBSR. Sometimes these are referred to as "full-dose" mindfulness programmes.

There are a number of standardised MBPs that are subject to informal regulation. Within the UK, MBCT and MBSR are expected to adhere to particular syllabi and to be taught according to formal guidance (ref MBI TAC). MBCT is at present an NHS recommended therapy for relapse prevention of depression.

There are other MBPs available, which are aligned to MBCT and MBSR, such as those provided by Breathworks.

Shorter / Reduced MBPs

There are shorter programmes being delivered in a variety of forms, which are considered to be reduced or low-dose programmes. For example, shorter programmes are being offered in a workplace setting.There are many motivations for this. In the workplace, for example, delivery of a full 8 week programme is not always feasible, so a lighter version is often delivered using shorter and fewer sessions, with much lighter enquiry and lower recommendations in terms of personal practice. The research around the effectiveness of these is in its early stages.

There are a variety of self-help mindfulness programmes. "Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world" is often recommended as a self-administered intervention by GPs.

There are also online courses, public courses, and individual 1-1 teaching.

Mindfulness Informed Programmes

There are also mindfulness informed therapies that incorporate mindfulness, such as Acceptance Commitment Therapy and Dialectic Behaviour Therapy. Some psychotherapists and counsellors are also incorporating some mindfulness teaching in their therapies. Increasingly people are beginning to explore use of mindfulness in other clinical areas.

Other programmes

There are a number of teacher training programmes. These usually require participants to have a regular, longstanding practice, and to have undertaken an full 8-week MBP.

Various religious groups have meditation practices that align with mindfulness practices.

Retreats are another way of people developing practice, and for mindfulness teachers these are an expected element.


This rich and evolving tapestry of MBPs brings a number of challenges. For the purposes of this project, the greatest challenge is finding ways to understand the implementation of these MBIs, both in quantity and in quality.

The summary below is intended to give the reader a view of the diversity of MBPs.