Books on MBCL

Le défi de la compassion : vivre avec cœur

Erik van den Brink, Frits Koster & Fairouz El Hammar-Vergnes, De Boeck Supérieur, 2021

Langue française

Un guide pratique pour cultiver compassion et pleine conscience au quotidien.

« Je n’y arriverai jamais… Rien de positif ne m’arrive. Je suis un(e) incapable, Je suis nul(le). Je suis trop stressé(e)…»

Ces différentes phrases reflètent la réalité quotidienne de nombreuses personnes, trop exigeantes ou trop dures avec elles-mêmes… Le but du programme MBCL (Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living) est d’aider chacun à dépasser cet état d’esprit, que celui-ci soit le résultat d’une mauvaise estime de soi, d’une dépression, d’une anxiété ou encore d’un burnout.

Ce guide nous aide à explorer, étape par étape, en huit semaines, comment nous défaire de nos habitudes de vie pour cultiver une version plus saine et plus compatissante de nous-mêmes, ouverte à la fois vers les autres et vers soi, en renouant avec nos aspects les plus profonds et vulnérables.

Ce guide se compose de huit chapitres qui correspondent aux huit sessions du programme MBCL. Pour améliorer l’expérience d’apprentissage, ce livre propose des transcriptions accessibles et des exercices audio téléchargeables, ainsi que des feuilles de travail pour explorer les expériences pendant les exercices. Il comprend également des suggestions pour approfondir la pratique à la fin de chaque session. Le défi de la compassion : vivre avec cœur explore la science de la compassion d’une manière facile à comprendre et complète, qui plaira à la fois aux professionnels formés et à leurs participants/patients, et à toute personne souhaitant approfondir sa pratique de la pleine conscience avec le “cœur”. Avec une préface de Mark Williams, professeur émérite de psychologie clinique, Université d’Oxford, Royaume-Uni.

Cliquez ici pour plus d’informations et/ou pour commander le livre.

Endossement Matthieu Ricard: “Le défi de la compassion : vivre avec coeur offre un outil éminemment précieux à tous ceux qui souhaitent non seulement mieux connaître la manière dont fonctionne leur esprit et trouver un bon équilibre émotionnel, mais aussi mettre l’amour altruiste et la compassion au coeur de leur existence. Comment vivre pleinement sans altruisme ni compassion ? Les interventions fondées sur la pleine conscience (MBSR et MBCT notamment) ont fait leurs preuves pour, entre autres, réduire le stress, prévenir les rechutes de la dépression et pour améliorer le vécu d’innombrables personnes en difficulté.

Je suis convaincu qu’associer la compassion à la pleine conscience donne une tout autre dimension à ces interventions et permet de cultiver une relation plus bienveillante à l’égard de soi-même et des autres. En essence, la compassion, comme l’altruisme, n’est pas un luxe, mais une nécessité.”
Matthieu Ricard, auteur de Plaidoyer pour l’altruisme (Nil éditions, 2013).

A Practical Guide to Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living
Erik van den Brink & Frits Koster, Routledge, UK, 2018

English language

‘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’. With a foreword by Mark Williams, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford, UK.

Click here for more information and/or to order the book.


‘A practical yet rich guide in living with a wise heart.’
Tara Brach PhD, meditation teacher, USA, and author of Radical  Acceptance and True Refuge.

‘From the first page of this book it is clear that Erik and Frits have a burning desire to help people ease the pain in their hearts and minds with their MBCL course. Building on the wonderful work of their first book Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living, they have now produced a volume where accessibility is paramount, with the eight-week course clearly laid out to make it easy for the reader to follow and get the most out of their excellent, kind, heart-felt work. They have a gift for synthesising vitally important ideas into an easy-to-follow programme that anyone can access and benefit from. Highly recommended.’
Vidyamala Burch, co-founder of Breathworks, UK, author of Living Well with Pain and Illness (Piatkus, 2008) and co-author (with Danny Penman) of Mindfulness for Health (Piatkus, 2013).

‘Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living is spreading beautifully into the
world and touching lives in transformative ways. This new book makes the work more accessible to everyday people. It offers us a personal training pathway for enabling compassion to emerge in our daily lives. The book is a gift to us all.’
Rebecca Crane PhD, director of Centre for Mindfulness Research and
Practice, Bangor University, UK, author of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive
Therapy (Routledge, 2009).

‘Erik and Frits have crafted a programme that carefully builds on the learning from mindfulness-based programmes such as MBSR and MBCT. From this foundation, they introduce compassion-based practices explicitly. There is a solid and compelling theoretical base to the programme, which Erik and Frits have thoughtfully adapted to make it particularly relevant for clinical settings. The practices and exercises offer the potential for a thorough exploration of compassion in one’s life. In this practical guide, each week a menu of options is offered with the encouragement to explore and work with what is needed, possible and helpful at any one moment in time. I have a sense I will revisit its delights often.’
Alison Evans, founder and co-director of the Mindfulness Network
CiC, and core teacher at the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice
with specialist interest in Mindfulness-based Supervision, Bangor University, UK.

‘This wonderful guidebook will benefit any reader interested in the healing
power of mindful compassion. The authors have dedicated their lives to these teachings and have produced a clear and practical way to integrate the best of science with the insights of the contemplative traditions. I feel this eightsession approach is powerfully innovative and exactly what the world needs right now. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.’
Susan Gillis Chapman, Vancouver, Canada, Faculty for Karuna Training,
Acharya, Buddhist teacher and author of The Five Keys To Mindful
Communication (Shambhala, 2012).

‘This pragmatic and user-friendly workbook brings forth a powerful integration of compassion practices for people who have some mindfulness experience ‘under their belts’ already. Underpinned by evolutionary understanding of why human beings are so driven to bring hurt to ourselves and others, it provides a supported pathway for people to meet and transform distress, and connect with their capacity to feel and express more kindness and compassion moment by moment in their lives. May many be touched by it!’
Timothea Goddard, Sydney, Australia, Founding Director of Openground Mindfulness Programs and Mindfulness Training Institute – Australia and New Zealand.

‘This is a thoroughly friendly book, in which the authors show great care and respect for their readers, both service users and professionals. The work is very down-to earth and accessible, including vivid and engaging examples, poems and stories to encourage the reader on this life-changing journey. The Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living course detailed here is closely based on mindfulness with the same experiential method of learning, and deepens that knowledge into heartfulness. I very much enjoyed this book and am sure that many will benefit from it by learning how to make the comfort of compassion for themselves and others an essential, fundamental part of their lives.’
Judith Soulsby, senior teacher and trainer with the Centre for Mindfulness Research & Practice, Bangor University, UK, and certified teacher and teacher trainer with the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion.

MBCL Routledge

Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living
Erik van den Brink & Frits Koster, Routledge, UK, 2015

English language

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.

Click here for more information and/or to order the book.


  • ‘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 … 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).

Mitgefühl üben – das große Praxisbuch Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living
Christian Stocker, Jana Willms, Frits Koster & Erik van den Brink, Springer, 2020

Deutsche Sprache

Neueste Forschungen belegen, dass Mitgefühl – vor allem mit uns selbst – einer der Schlüsselfaktoren für geistige Gesundheit und emotionales Wohlbefinden ist. Mitgefühl üben – das große Praxisbuch Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) ist eine ausgezeichnete Landkarte, die Sie auf Ihrer Entdeckungsreise zu mehr Achtsamkeit und (Selbst-)Mitgefühl begleiten kann.

Das Buch bietet klar strukturiert und übersichtlich alle Inhalte, Erklärungen, Übungen und Praxis-Materialien eines MBCL 8-Wochenkurses (inklusive zahlreicher angeleiteter Meditationen und Arbeitsblättern als Download-Material). Es kann kursbegleitend oder auch losgelöst von einem MBCL-Gruppenkurs für das eigenständige Üben zu Hause genutzt werden. Sowohl Lernende als auch MBCL-Lehrende können mit diesem Buch praktisch arbeiten. Die beiden Niederländer Erik van den Brink und Frits Koster haben vor etwa zehn Jahren das Trainingsprogramm “Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living“ (MBCL) zur systematischen Kultivierung von Achtsamkeit und (Selbst-)Mitgefühl entwickelt. MBCL ist als vertiefendes Training für Menschen gedacht, die bereits ein Achtsamkeitstraining (MBSR, MBCT oder ein ähnliches Programm) absolviert oder eine andere systematische Achtsamkeitspraxis erlernt haben.


  • ‘Ich habe das Gefühl, jedes Mal, wenn ich in das Buch eintauche, eine Schatzkiste zu öffnen.’ – aus dem Vorwort von Dr. Linda Lehrhaupt, Leiterin Institut für Achtsamkeit, Deutschland.
  • ‘Dieses Buch führt uns durch die Landschaft unseres alltäglichen Lebens und eröffnet neue Perspektiven. Es lädt uns ein zu lesen, dann zu reflektieren und dann zu üben.’ – aus dem Vorwort von Mark Williams, Emeritierter Professor der klinischen Psychologie der Universität von Oxford, UK.

Mitfühlend leben Mitfühlend leben
Erik van den Brink & Frits Koster, Kösel, Germany, 2013

Deutsche Sprache

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. Click here for more information and or to order the book.


‘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.

Vida compassiva basada en mindfulness
Erik van den Brink & Frits Koster, 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). Click here for more information and/or to order the book.


Compassievol leven
Erik van den Brink & Frits Koster, Boom, the Netherlands, reviewed edition 2016

Dutch language

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).

Click here for more information and/or to order the book.

Co,passie in je levenCompassie in je leven

Frits Koster & Erik van den Brink, Boom, the Netherlands, reviewed edition 2019

Dutch language:

Compassion can be defined as a sensitivity to suffering in ourselves and others (it goes both ways!); and a commitment to try to alleviate and prevent it. 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 chapter. Click here for more information and/or to order the book.


Their book guides us through the landscape of our daily lives, offering new perspectives. It invites us to read, then reflect, then practice. It helps us explore, step by step, how to reverse the habits of a lifetime, and cultivate compassion that goes both ways, outwards to others, and inwards to refresh and renew the deepest part of ourselves. In deep gratitude to Frits and Erik for their work, I warmly commend this book to you. – Mark Williams, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford, UK.