An initiative to increase access to MBCT via a public registry by Prof. Zindel Segal

Rationale, Scope and Intentions Behind an International Registry for MBCT Therapists

“Do you know where I can find an MCBT therapist in Chicago?”  Emails of this type arrive in my Inbox quite regularly and I have come to understand them as reflecting multiple aspects of MBCT’s standing in the world.  The people making these requests, may have read a book, watched a TED talk or had the program recommended to them and are reaching out in the hope that MBCT may be of benefit.  But the fact that they are sending their request to the ‘contact us’ tab on the website, rather than being able to ask this question more locally, suggests that access to MBCT is quite limited.  I do my best to direct them when I can, but very often my guidance merely points them to a mindfulness centre or clinic in the nearest large city (and even then MBCT may not be offered).

Willem Kuyken and I have been working with a wonderful group of colleagues to try and improve this situation by developing a freely available, searchable, standards-based international registry of MBCT therapists that will allow members of the public to find MBCT therapists who practice in their community.  We have named this registry ACCESS MBCT.  Once it is operational, you will be able to type in a city or country and, voilà, a list of registered MBCT therapists practicing in this area will appear.

One more thing, if you know the name of a provider and want to see if they are listed on the registry, you will be able to search by name as well.  In this way, ACCESS MBCT will serve a quality assurance function.  All members of ACCESS MBCT will have to have been trained according to the steps outlined in the MBCT Training Pathway.  Adopting this document to set our training threshold is a recognition that our field has evolved from the days when having a personal mindfulness practice, a clinical background and familiarity with the contents of Segal et al., 2002 would qualify one to teach MBCT.  It is increasingly clear to me that MBCT is not preferentially defined according to its mindfulness or cognitive therapy axes, but rather from the integrative embodiment of these perspectives in the act of teaching.  Not surprisingly, additional training experiences are required to develop this capacity and it is our intention that being a member of ACCESS MBCT will communicate to this standard to the public.

Adoption of this framework for ACCESS MBCT was achieved via broad consultation and feedback.  We considered a variety of listing/registry models, with varying amounts of oversight and have settled on a solution that relies on verifiable self-declarations provided by therapists/applicants interested in joining ACCESS MBCT.  Please take a few minutes to check out the ACCESS MBCT website and watch this brief video of the Digital International Announcement for the Registry that was held on November 17, 2017: you may recognize more than a few familiar faces!  Our plan is to go live in mid-January 2018 and we invite your support for this foundational, collective aspiration for MBCT access and integrity.  To be kept up to date with developments in ACCESS MBCT please join our mailing list.

Author note – Zindel Segal, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Psychology in Mood Disorder is the owner of and ACCESS MBCT