Books on MBCL

A Practical Guide to Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (Routledge, UK, 2018)

‘A Practical Guide to Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living – Living with Heart’ is a step-by-step guide for those who wish to deepen their mindfulness skills with compassion for a healthier, happier life and more fulfilling relationships. It offers a clear structure as well as ample freedom to adjust to individual needs, starting with learning to be kind to yourself and then expanding this to learn how to be kind to others.

This guide consists of eight chapters that follow the eight sessions of the mindfulness-based compassionate living training programme. To enhance the learning experience, this book features accessible transcripts and downloadable audio exercises, as well as worksheets to explore experiences during exercises. It also includes suggestions for deepening practice at the end of each session. A Practical Guide to Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living explores thescience of compassion in an easy-to-understand and comprehensive manner, one which will appeal to both trained professionals and clients, or anyone wishing to deepen their mindfulness practice with ‘heartfulness’. Click here for more information and/or to order the book. See the

Vida compassiva basada en mindfulness (Desclée de Brouwer, Spain, 2017)

La “compasión” es la capacidad de sentir preocupación por el dolor y el sufrimiento, tanto propios como ajenos. Implica el deseo de aliviar este dolor y sufrimiento y de estar dispuestos a aceptar la responsabilidad de ellos. Es una cualidad humana universal, inherentemente presente en toda la gente, pero a menudo no cultivada plenamente. Afortunadamente, la compasión puede desarrollarse y profundizarse mediante la práctica, siendo tal precisamente el objetivo de entrenarnos en la compasión. Mientras que la piedad suele ir acompañada de miedo y sentimentalidad, la compasión requiere valor y apertura del corazón. En Occidente, el término “compasión” se emplea principalmente para indicar preocupación por el sufrimiento ajeno, y tenemos que emplear el término compuesto “autocompasión” para especificar que estamos preocupados también por nuestro propio sufrimiento….

This book is the Spanish translation of ‘Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living’ (Routledge, UK, 2015).

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MBCL Routledge

Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (Routledge, UK, 2015)

In May 2015 the English translation of our book ‘Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living – A new training programme to deepen mindfulness with heartfulness’ (Routledge) has been published. With a forword by Paul Gilbert, PhD, FBPsS, OBE, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Derby, author of The Compassionate Mind (London: Constable & Robinson, 2009); some of the endorsements can be found below.

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‘There is no way we can truly heal and free ourselves without self-compassion. Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living offers clear, practical guidance in cultivating a mindful and kind relationship with our inner life. This creates the grounds for relating to our world with a wise and caring heart.’ – Tara Brach, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, meditation teacher and author of Radical Acceptance (Bantam, 2003) and True Refuge (Bantam, 2013).

‘With tremendous wisdom and skill this book offers a way to deepen and develop the learning that has started in an 8-week course of MBSR or MBCT. Here participants learn some of the building blocks that enable compassion to flourish – the possibility of stepping aside from the battle ground of thoughts, and of gently and tenderly allowing experience to be as it is. This book and the programme that it describes bring these compassionate responses to the fore, and offer systematic methods to explicitly develop them, so that mindful compassion can become a natural and accessible part of our being. A wonderful contribution.’ – Rebecca Crane, Director of Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University, UK, and author of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (Routledge, 2009).

‘This new volume by Van den Brink and Koster speaks to the pressing need to bring more care and warmth into daily life, particularly for those in the healthcare professions. Drawing on the latest theory and evidence from contemplative science and positive psychology, it presents a range of helpful practices for cultivating compassion, even in the most difficult of circumstances. This book is destined to be of great value not only to readers but also to those whose lives they touch.’ – Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina, author of Positivity (Three Rivers Press, 2009) and Love 2.0 (Penguin books, 2013).

‘This innovative book brings the ancient, healing wisdom of compassion training to a modern audience. Based on solid research, contemplative experience and clinical practice, this eightsession training programme strengthens our natural instinct for compassion and provides important tools for managing emotional pain in a healthy, radically new way.’ Christopher K. Germer, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Harvard Medical School, and author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion (Guilford Press, 2009).

‘Every major contemplative tradition, evolutionary biology, and a growing body of science emphasise the importance of compassion. Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living is a compelling guide, skilfully conveying how compassion can be cultivated in the service of relieving suffering. Through their extensive personal experience, deep knowledge and a rich collaboration Frits Koster and Erik van den Brink embody what they teach. They generously offer teachings that have been transformational for the authors and have the potential to be transformational both for therapists and their clients.’ – Willem Kuyken, PhD, Professor Clinical Psychology at the University of Exeter. He is author (with Christine A. Padesky and Robert Dudley) of Collaborative Case Conceptualization (The Guilford Press, 2011).

‘While the benefits of mindfulness in therapeutic settings are well known, new research suggests that self-compassion is also key to mental health. This book offers innovative techniques for helping both therapists and clients develop a more compassionate way of relating to themselves and others.’ – Kristin Neff, PhD, Associate Professor in Human Development, University of Texas, and author of Self-Compassion (New York: William Morrow, 2011).

Mitfühlend LebenMitfühlend leben (Kösel, Germany, 2013)

Wer in der Begegnung mit Schmerz und Leid ein offenes, freundliches Herz bewahren kann, erlebt mehr Verbundenheit, innere Ruhe und Wohlbefinden. Mitgefühl – vor allem mit uns selbst – ist einer der Schlüsselfaktoren für seelische Gesundheit, das legen neueste Studien nahe. Und die eindrucksvolle Nachricht lautet: Wir können selbst etwas dafür tun. Durch praktische Übungen lässt sich unsere Fähigkeit, Mitgefühl zu empfinden, entwickeln und vertiefen.

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‘Dieses innovative Buch bringt die uralte, heilsame Weisheit der Mitgefühlsschulung in unsere heutige Zeit. Basierend auf solider Forschung, kontemplativer Erfahrung und therapeutischer Anwendung stärkt MBCL unseren natürlichen Instinkt für Mitgefühl und bietet wichtige Werkzeuge, um mit emotionalem Schmerz auf gesunde, radikal andere Art umzugehen.’ – Dr. Christopher Germer, Klinischer Psychologe, Harvard Medical School.


Compassievol leven (Boom, the Netherlands, 2012, reviewed edition 2016)

Compassion is the capacity to feel concern with pain and suffering, our own as well as others’. It involves the wish to relieve this pain and suffering and also the willingness to take on responsibility in doing so. It is a universal human quality, inherently present in everyone, but, for many reasons, often not fully cultivated. Fortunately compassion can be developed and deepened through practice, and this is the aim of compassion training. The compassion training Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) as we have developed it in mental health care is a follow-up course for people who have already completed a mindfulness training programme. The training springs from a science-based view of the importance of compassion and self-compassion and is based on the work of amongst others, Paul Gilbert (2005, 2009, 2010), Christopher Germer (2009), Kristin Neff (2011), Tara Brach (2003) and Rick Hanson (2009).

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