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FAQ's - MBSR Courses

  • I can’t afford the full course fee. Do you offer payment plans or discounts?

    We’re committed to making the MBSR program accessible to as many people as possible. So, we offer some heavily discounted places and payment plans for our courses for people who genuinely can't afford the full fee.
    Please email us and request a concession form. We will ask you to complete a Concession Form. We are proud of the fact that we have never turned anyone away from doing the program just because they couldn’t afford the full fees.

  • Someone else is offering a mindfulness course for $395. What's the difference?

    There may be no difference. It is important to know what you are engaging in so check it out!

    For over 39 years, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been the gold standard of teaching mindfulness in a secular setting for the relief of physical and psychological suffering. It is taught by people who have committed themselves, over many years, to training, doing retreats, and having a personal practice.

    Many people are now offering ‘mindfulness’ courses ‘based on MBSR’ or ‘based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn’. Often, these teachers have very little personal experience and immersion in mindfulness practice, and little or no training in MBSR. These courses are often shorter, perhaps six 1.5-hour sessions (nine hours total) or six two-hour sessions (12 hours total) for around $400. This works out to be more expensive than the MBSR program, which is 28 hours, including a silent retreat day, plus email and phone contact with your teacher if you need it during the eight weeks.

    You might like to ask the teacher of these courses if they have specific training in teaching mindfulness, have completed retreats and if they adhere to the Good Practice guidelines.

  • What if I need to miss a class or the Day of Mindfulness?

    In some locations, there are a few courses happening simultaneously, so you could arrange to attend one of the other locations for that week. If that is not possible in your area, the course book is quite detailed in terms of covering the material each week, and you will be able to keep practicing and arrange to check in with your teacher by phone or email about your process that week.

    Missing the Day of Mindfulness is also sometimes inevitable. However, this day-long retreat is held every quarter, so you can always attend next time.

  • What’s the difference between doing the MSBR course to learn mindfulness and doing an intensive silent retreat?

    Both of these can be valuable pathways for learning mindfulness meditation. However, many people find the intensive retreat process more manageable after they have built some basic practice skills.

    One of the advantages of choosing the more gradual, eight-week process is learning to integrate your practice into day-to-day life, and creating mindful habits in the way you relate to yourself, your family, work colleagues and the world.

  • What is your refund policy?

    We’re confident that you will find the course engaging, and also that you have enrolled knowing that the course invites your own self-exploration. But, if circumstances mean you do need to withdraw from the course, our policy is:
    - Fees will be refunded (less $50) if you withdraw before the first class. 
    - Fees will be refunded (less $100) after one class, if you decide the course is not for you. After this class, fees are not refundable. 
    - We do not automatically offer transfers to a subsequent course. If you wish to withdraw from your current course part way through, you may be offered a 50% discount off the course fee for the following term. 
    - If you are unable to complete the course because of serious life disruption (eg serious illness or family crisis) we will review your circumstances and, at our discretion, may provide a credit note so that you can enrol in a future course. To request this review, please email the teacher of your course within three days of the disruption.

  • What should I ask a teacher to make sure they are equipped to teach mindfulness?

    This is an important question, to ensure you are receiving the best possible guidance from a suitably experienced mindfulness teacher. You could ask your potential teacher if they:
    - have their own personal meditation practice
    - take regular silent retreats
    - have trained in a reputable form of group-based mindfulness training (such as MBSR)?
    - And, if so, what form of training did they do? 

    All Openground teachers engage in regular professional development, silent retreats, and ongoing personal practice. The University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness (CFM) and the Mindfulness Training Institute Australasia (MTIA) recommends a sequence for MBSR teacher training involving foundational training, initial teaching, supervision, advanced training and certification.

    To find out more, take a look at this article from Rebecca Crane about standards and competency in teaching:

  • Why should I do MBSR when I can go to a local meditation centre for free?

    Many people come to MBSR because they specifically want a mindfulness training that is secular and has no particular spiritual orientation or beliefs attached to the process. 

    In addition, most ‘free’ meditation centres depend on the generosity of people to support and sustain their work. If you want these centres to survive, you may want to offer payment for the services you receive, so these wonderful resources can continue to thrive. 

  • I am on a Mental Health Care plan with my GP. Will I be able to claim a Medicare or other health insurer refund?

    Unfortunately, only certain health professionals are able to be registered to offer a Medicare rebate. Many of our teachers - although they are probably among the most well-trained and skilled teachers in the country - are not able to do this. Do ask about discounts if it is financially impossible for you to afford the full fee and we will be happy to help.

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