Following a pilot test and consultation, a new process developed by the Dutch Association of Mindfulness-Based Trainers (VMBN) and the British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches (BAMBA), which enables international recognition of new Mindfulness-Based Programmes (MBPs), has launched.

Developers of new MBPs will need to provide evidence that their programme meets certain criteria including being safe, effective and innovative.

The work of developing the application and evaluation process for new MBPs dates back to 2019 following a recognition by BAMBA and VMBN that the increased mainstream interest in mindfulness (including programmes such as MBSR and MBCT) created a need for clear criteria in order to ensure the quality and integrity of mindfulness programmes as well as supporting the evolution and relevance of the field.

The development of the process included consultation with the authors of the seminal papers “What defines mindfulness-based programs? The warp and the weft.” and “Mindfulness-Based Programs: Why, When and How to Adapt?” as well as colleagues in Brown, Oxford and Bangor Universities.

BAMBA Board Member and Project Lead, Sophie Samson, said:

‘Mindfulness has to meet people where they are at and there is growing recognition of the need for adaptation and innovation in practical applications of the work. Finding ways of upholding integrity that are accessible and inclusive is the task at hand. The new program acknowledgement process stewarded by the IPA recognises diverse ways of knowing the nature and value of mindfulness and supports program developers to meet evidence informed criteria irrespective of academic backing. The world in all it’s present challenges needs mindfulness now more than ever and this process will be invaluable for the next generation of MBPs’

Prof Nirbhay Singh, former editor of the Springer Mindfulness Journal, commented:

“With the rapid growth of mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) comes the question of how we know that a specific program is ethical, valid, and effective for what it is designed to do.


Of course, we use the scientific method as the gold standard, but mindfulness is experiential and other ways of knowing should be considered, including those derived from Buddhist dharma, other contemplative practices, and indigenous wisdom traditions.


MBPs that show promise could be contextualized and judged in terms of their feasibility to produce effective outcomes based on such indicators as acceptability, demand, implementation, practicality, adaptation, integration, expansion, and initial effectiveness.


Regardless of whether an MBP is deemed evidence-based, promising, or emergent, the essential question is whether the MPB is likely to be effective in local contexts. Ultimately, there needs to be multiple ways of knowing what works for whom, where, when, why, for what, and at what dose.”

The administration of applications is being managed by the newly-founded International Panel for the Acknowledgement of Mindfulness-based Programmes (IPA) and operates independently under the umbrella of eamba (the European Associations for Mindfulness).

Find out more about the application process, its background and criteria here.