MSBR courses: FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about our MBSR courses

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.

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

We have a commitment to making the MBSR program accessible to as many people as possible, even when people can't afford the full fee. To this end, we offer strongly discounted places and payment plans.

Please email Caroline or the teacher of your course and she 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 down the road is offering a mindfulness course for $395. What's the difference?

There may be no difference. Check it out!

For over 30 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 to training, doing retreats and having a personal practice themselves, over many years.

However, many people are now offering “mindfulness” courses “based on MBSR” or “based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn” with very little personal experience and immersion in mindfulness practice themselves, and little or no training in MBSR. These courses are often shorter, perhaps 6 sessions of 1.5 hours (ie 9 hours long) or 6 sessions x 2 hours (12 hours long) for around $400. This works out as more expensive than the MBSR program which is 27 hours long, including a silent retreat day, plus email and phone contact with the teacher if you need it during the 8 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?

This happens for lots of people over the eight week program.

In some locations, there are a few courses happening in any week, so you can 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.  This day-long retreat is held every quarter, so you can always attend next time to make up this practice time.

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

Both can be valuable pathways in learning mindfulness meditation. Many people find the intensive retreat process more manageable when they have some basic practice skills under their belt.
One of the advantages of the slower, more gradual 8-week process is that we are integrating the practice into our day-to-day lives - how we relate to ourselves, family members, work colleagues and the world.

What is the refund policy?


We are confident you will find the course engaging and that you have enrolled knowing that the course invites your own self-exploration.
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 offer transfers to a subsequent course. If you wish to withdraw from your current course part way through, you will 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 (e.g. due to serious illness or family crisis) we are happy to review these 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 the teacher to make sure they are equipped to teach me mindfulness?

This is an important question.  You could ask if they:

  • o Have their own personal meditation practice?
  • o Do regular silent retreats?
  • o Have trained in a reputable form of group-based mindfulness training (such as MBSR)?
  • o If so, what form of training did they do? 

All Openground teachers engage regularly in professional development, silent retreats and ongoing personal practice. The CFM and MTIA recommends a sequence for MBSR teacher training involving foundational training, initial teaching, supervision, advanced training and certification.

You might like to read this article from Rebecca Crane in the UK 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.

As well, most “free” meditation centres rely on people’s generosity to support and sustain their work and the teachings. If you want these centres to survive, you may want to offer payment for the services you receive so these wonderful resources can thrive.


What People Are Saying

I have learnt a lot about myself through the MBSR course. Coming from a place of feeling very disconnected to myself, I now feel I am engaged and listening to what I need, which then has allowed me to handle what life has to offer in a positive way.

Anonymous, 2018

Since doing your course (Living with Wisdom and Compassion) my major transformation has been in my daily work as a family doctor. Instead of being the best doctor I can so that patients will admire me and appreciate me I am aware that I am regularly “putting myself in my patients shoes.” I want their lives to be better and their suffering to diminish. Whether that is through my doctoring or something not related to me is not relevant.



Ingrid (GP), 2018

Understanding mindfulness has changed my life.



Lee-Anne , 2018

It was great to be able to explore the strength of compassion, both internally and externally, through Living with Wisdom and Compassion. This course builds on what MBSR began. While it had its challenging moments, I came away from it feeling stress-relief thanks to my heart softening yet strengthening. And from the ability to see that even though we are all unique individuals, and we may express ourselves in wildly different ways, we all have the same needs. The better I can get at understanding those needs the more effective I can be in helping myself and others. I highly recommend this course to everyone.

Lisa, 2018

Bravo Ingrid Jolley and Openground! Thank you for your soothing and strengthening MBSR course. I’m feeling grounded, curious and hopeful about the future. I have the tools I need to lead an authentic, fulfilling life. 


Roz , 2018