Ethical Standards and Governance
BAMBA’s mission is to promote safe, ethical and inclusive practices in the field of evidence-based secular mindfulness teaching in the UK. To serve this aim, BAMBA has developed Good Practice Guidelines (GPGs) to support good practice in teaching, training, and supervision of mindfulness-based courses. The GPGs reflect many of the ethical principles that underpin the practice and teaching of mindfulness.
The following standards are intended to provide a more comprehensive articulation of ethical behaviour to which BAMBA members aspire to adhere, and to sit alongside the GPGs, together creating a strong framework to support ethical practice.
They are intended to be helpful to teachers, trainers, and supervisors responding to complex situations; to members of the public seeking clarity about standards of behaviour expected of mindfulness teachers; and to those tasked with responding to a concern or complaint raised about the conduct of a registered member of BAMBA.
Mindfulness teachers who are already bound by professional codes of conduct (e.g. those of the HCPC, RCN, etc.) should of course continue to adhere to these; the standards below aim to complement other professional codes of conduct and not to supersede them.
1. Promote and protect the interests of participants, trainees, colleagues, and others with whom you work.
1.1 Respect the dignity and worth of all people with whom you work, including their rights to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination.
1.2 Act with diligence and care in all aspects of your professional work.
1.3 Integrate key attitudinal dimensions of mindfulness into your work, e.g., compassion, kindness, non-judgement, and equanimity.
1.4 Encourage participants, to the extent appropriate, to maintain their own health and wellbeing.
1.5 Ensure that you obtain the informed consent of those with whom you work, by providing them with clear information and opportunities to ask questions.
1.6 Respect individual differences and diversity of values and cultures. Do not act prejudicially against anyone in your professional relationships or the services that you provide. When appropriate, engage in training to inform personal and professional understanding.
1.7 Do not attempt to influence others with whom you work with your political or religious views.
Recognise the potential for real or perceived exploitation and conflict of interest when personal and professional relationships overlap. In consultation with a supervisor, consider these risks carefully, including how any risks will be mitigated, before entering into a teaching, supervising, or other professional relationship with a friend or family member, or with someone who is a work colleague in another capacity.
2. Communicate effectively and appropriately
2.1 Communicate in ways that are respectful and considerate, and work with participants to meet any individual communication and language needs, as far as is possible.
2.2 Listen to and respond to concerns, taking account of individual needs and wishes.
2.3 Communicate clearly and transparently about the training you have completed, the services you offer, and the fees for your services.
2.4 Provide accurate, evidence-based, unbiased and up-to-date information when describing mindfulness and your courses on websites, handouts, email, and other formats.
2.5 When appropriate, communicate clearly and transparently about issues that might create conflict of interest and how you will work with these issues.
2.6 Use social media and networking websites appropriately and responsibly, ensuring that information you convey is accurate, unbiased, and respectful.
2.8 Work in partnership with colleagues where appropriate, by sharing your skills, knowledge, and experience for the benefit of those with whom you work.
2.9 Where appropriate, and in accordance with the confidentiality agreement, share relevant information with colleagues involved in the care, treatment, or other services provided to one of your participants.
3. Develop and maintain your competencies and work within your limits
3.1 Ensure you have the appropriate professional training to deliver the mindfulness courses you are offering.
3.2 Undertake appropriate professional training for the sector in which you work, e.g., clinical, education, or workplace sectors.
3.3 Develop and maintain a personal mindfulness practice.
3.4 Keep your knowledge and skills up to date.
3.5 Engage in regular mindfulness supervision with an experienced mindfulness teacher, bringing relevant concerns and issues to supervision and using the feedback received to improve your knowledge and skills.
3.6 Recognise and work within the limits of your competence by engaging only with populations and contexts where you have the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience.
3.7 Extend your scope of practice only after seeking the appropriate additional supervision, mentoring, or training.
3.8 Recommend that participants seek other appropriate professional services if their needs are beyond your scope of practice.
3.9 If health-related or other personal problems are impairing your capacity to work competently, seek assistance and refrain from professional work until your capacity is restored.
3.10 Adhere to relevant legal requirements and BAMBA’s Good Practice Guidelines for mindfulness teachers, trainers, and supervisors.
4. Respect confidentiality
4.1 Treat information about participants as confidential.
4.2 Disclose confidential information only if:
- the law requires it; or
- you have permission; or
- it is required by organisational or professional safeguarding policies to prevent harm to the participant or to others
4.3 Ensure that participants understand confidentiality, including any circumstances in which you may need to share information.
4.4 Record sessions only if there is a genuine need to do so and all participants have consented to this.
4.5 Store information safely and securely and in accordance with legal requirements in the country where you are teaching. In the UK, adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – guidance can be found here
5. Manage risk
5.1 Take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of harm to anyone with whom you work.
5.2 Avoid actions which may create risk to the health or safety of anyone with whom you work.
5.3 When possible, assess the needs and expectations of potential participants and engage only if they are likely to experience benefits and any potential harm has been considered and mitigated.
5.4 When assessment of potential participants is not possible, provide clear information about potential risks and benefits so that individuals can make informed choices about whether to participate in the programme you are offering.
5.5 Offer mindfulness programmes suitable to your participants.
5.6 Take prompt action if anyone’s wellbeing is compromised in any way. Consult and/or signpost to appropriate medical or psychological services when appropriate.
5.7 Complete safeguarding training appropriate to the groups you work with.
5.8 Follow safeguarding requirements for reporting concerns and taking appropriate actions.
5.9 Maintain professional indemnity insurance appropriate to the work you are doing.
6. Act with responsibility to the profession and the field
6.1 Act with integrity, honesty and fairness in all aspects of your professional work.
6.2 Support the integrity of the field by recognising unethical conduct of peers and address this as appropriate, in consultation with a supervisor or trusted colleague as a first step.
6.3 Respect the integrity of mindfulness programmes and curricula and use them as intended.
6.4 Respect ownership and copyright of ideas and products, including research and training programmes.
6.5 Operate ethically in business arrangements.
6.6 Operate as inclusively and flexibly as possible in relation to the fees you charge, with awareness that pricing structures can be major impediments to broadening access.
BAMBA’s activities are only made possible through membership and voluntary support.
Should you wish to donate, your donation will be used to continue the maintenance of standards and inclusive access to mindfulness-based training in the UK.
We are grateful for your contribution to this vital work.