The Oxford Mindfulness Centre’s Guiding Ethical Principles
As mindfulness and mindfulness training become more mainstream, there is an increasing need to consider fundamental questions of ethics and integrity. We’ve developed our own Guiding Ethical Principles to respond to this need and offer this freely to others in the field who might find it helpful.
The last 40 years has seen an exponential growth in mainstream mindfulness apps, books and programmes. Here in Oxford we have worked on developing mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, first to prevent recurrent depression (MBCT), then other health conditions and latterly for the general population, mindfulness for life (MBCT-L). As mindfulness and mindfulness training become more mainstream, there is an increasing need to consider fundamental questions of ethics and integrity. Are we benefiting people and wider systems, as we hope? Is there any evidence of harm? Are MBCT teachers appropriately trained and working within the limits of their training? Is the well-being of participants being safeguarded? Is there any evidence of exploitation? Fundamentally, do we walk the talk – do teachers embody the qualities they teach?
At the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre (OMC) we’ve developed Guiding Ethical Principles to respond to these questions. It provides guidance on what anyone can expect from us in terms of ethics and integrity. It provides a compass for our researchers, teachers, partners, trainers and trainees and a framework, guidelines and recourse if there are concerns about the behaviour of anyone involved with the OMC. It is a living document. We will continue to learn and aspire to do the best we can and to learn from others – the document will evolve as we do.
We are sharing this document to communicate our standards and measures of accountability within the OMC. We also offer this freely to others in the field who might not have an organisational affiliation to ethical guidance and may wish to align their work with the OMC values and ethical principles.
Willem Kuyken, Sharon Hadley and Peter Yiangou
Director, CEO and Chairman