A Free Online Course in MBSR Mindfulness Offered by a Psychotherapist
My Journey into Mindfulness
Last year I decided to do a Mindfulness course. I am based in rural Tipperary, Ireland and the nearest venue to me was a 40-minute drive. It was on a Tuesday at eight pm; that was my reading in bed time not my hop into the car and drive time. I didn't know what to expect from mindfulness so I research it online first.
I was still of a critical mindset. And despite my previous Kniesiology, Reki, EFT, Chakra Balancing courses I remained closed off to anything "too" alternative. But this course helped start me on a more alternative path only to realise we are all alternative to begin with!
Free online mindfulness course
Online seemed to be a good option for me. Dave Potter's course popped up in my Google search and it seemed like a good fit. It is free, which I thought was suspicious but there are options to buy some books on affiliate links and you can offer a donation.This made me feel more at ease as I knew I would take it more seriously if I could support the teacher. He mainly set this up to help people and seems like a really good guy with a lot of knowledge he wanted to share.
How and Why it's a good idea to pay for the course
I do believe that money is power. And if you do a free course then it is important to pay for it; money is a sign of commitment. I made up my mind that I was going to pay for the course and this made me a very dedicated student who never missed my self-imposed timetabled classes. We place value and hold dear our expensive possessions and classes are no different. How much do you get paid an hour? Well, your time is worth money. Your presence - your focus - your concentration is....well it's magical (I've written about this from a psychological and alternative/ritual/wiccan perspective here so search for that) So if you want to turn your time and focus to learn something it is advisable you pay for it if you are in a position to do so.
Who is Dave Potter
Dave Potter is a certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction instructor and received his training through University of Massachusetts Medical School where Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Center for Mindfulness. He gathered all the course data throughout his studies and offers this course as a labor of love and the economies of the internet. Students must write worksheets assessing their learning each week and email them to Dave. There is no weekly feedback, this is a way of adding structure to the course and it is required to get your cert of completion once you have finished the course.
This course is a wealth of material
It is composed with mindful yoga videos and writings by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Wherever You Go, There You Are), Pema Chodron (When Things Fall Apart), Tara Brach (Radical Acceptance), Sylvia Boorstein (Don't Just Do Something, Sit There), Sharon Salzberg (A Heart As Wide as the World), Robert Sapolsky (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers), Marshall Rosenberg (Non-Violent Communication), and Susan Bauer-Wu (Leaves Falling Gently).
While attending a course in real life is always better if this course is more suitable or you want to check it out further read the below. Please note - this course needs focus, dedication, and a scheduled time for reading and practice, it is not easy. In fact; it is more difficult as you must do all the work; Dave shows you the way - now DO THE WORK.
I have taken the below from the Palouse Mindfulness website. All queries about the course are answers on the site. If you do it, tweet me. Have fun!
This online MBSR training course is 100% free, created by a fully certified MBSR instructor, and is modeled on the program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
I'm so glad you found this website! Here you will find a complete eight-week MBSR course, designed for people who are not able to take a live MBSR course for financial or logistical reasons. All of the materials used in the live course I teach, including guided meditations, articles and videos, are freely available here. - Dave Potter
Offering something for nothing does seem a little suspicious these days and I get many emails about this free online MBSR course, many of which ask one or more of the following questions:
Is this online MBSR course really, truly, 100% free?
The short answer is “yes”. There is no catch: no fees, no spam, you don't even need to identify yourself or give an email address. I receive no income personally from the site, not even indirectly. Contributions make the course even more accessible to people around the world, but this is not expected nor required - see About Contributions.
What are your credentials and why don't you charge for the course?
I am fully certified as an MBSR instructor by the University of Massachusetts Medical School and have been teaching live, in-person MBSR classes in my community for 12 years. I'm also a professional psychotherapist who has had a daily meditation practice for 25 years, and when I discovered MBSR, I wanted to offer it to my clients and my community. I started teaching my twice-yearly in-person classes in 2004 and, as a service to my students, began to put some parts of the class online. I soon realized that with a little work, the material could be useful to people who might not ever be able to attend a live MBSR class.
Creating and incrementally improving this resource has been a labor of love, and I'm happy to provide these materials without asking for a fee, something that is made possible given the economies of the internet, how the course is structured, and the generosity of other teachers. It pleases me to know that anyone with an internet connection, whether they live in Moscow, Idaho or Moscow, Russia, can find and use the rich set of materials here.
Is taking an online course an effective way to learn MBSR?
A live, in-person Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class is still the best way to learn mindfulness, because it is more likely that you will complete the course, due to the live interaction and group support. (NOTE: To find in-person MBSR offerings in your area, try a web search such as "MBSR Minneapolis" or "MBSR London".)
But doing an in-person course is not always possible, for financial and logistical reasons. This online course uses precisely the same course curriculum and resources that are used in my local in-person course, and if you follow the suggestions and practices for each of the eight weeks of the course, the learning can be just as deep and profound. In fact, the end-of-course reports I've received from online graduates indicate that they benefit just as much as people who complete the in-person course. For some recent end-of-course reports, see Testimonials / Gallery of Learning. There are currently over 800 graduates of the Palouse Mindfulness course, from 72 countries (see Graduates' page and Graduate Map).
It is a significant accomplishment to complete a course such as this on your own, and for that reason, I've done my best to make the experience interesting and varied, something made possible by the generosity of the world-renowned teachers* whose videos and writings are posted on this site, including Jon Kabat-Zinn (Wherever You Go, There You Are), Pema Chodron (When Things Fall Apart), Tara Brach (Radical Acceptance), Sylvia Boorstein (Don't Just Do Something, Sit There), Sharon Salzberg (A Heart As Wide as the World), Robert Sapolsky (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers), Marshall Rosenberg (Non-Violent Communication), and Jack Kornfield (A Path with Heart).*
To get more of a sense of what the course is about...
The Introduction is designed to give you a sense of mindfulness and an idea of how this course is structured. For each of the eight weeks, videos, readings and practices help you build a base of both knowledge and experience. MBSR "At a Glance" provides a brief outline of the MBSR course.
All of what you will need is accessible through this web site, and whether or not you actually take yourself through the course, the wealth of material here, including videos and writings by the teachers mentioned above and others, is freely available to you.
No registration required - begin whenever you're ready
This course is completely self-guided (there is no registration and only you will be monitoring your progress, using the provided practice sheets). If you successfully complete the eight weeks of practice and study and send the materials indicated in Requesting a Certificate of Completion, I will send you a personal note of congratulations along with a certificate of completion. There is no cost for this. You simply submit the seven sets of practice sheets and a one page description of what you've learned and how you will be incorporating what you learned into your life.
If you are ready to begin, or if you'd just like to know more about mindfulness or this program, go to the Introduction.
* NOTE: Much of the material in this course is drawn from the works of other teachers and writers in the spirit of making mindfulness more widely available. My thanks to them for helping to make this free Online MBSR course possible.