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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction - finding fresh ways of being

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is an eight-week foundational mindfulness training course which is evidence-based, practical and empowering. As seen on Catalyst TV.

8 weeks

From isolation to connection

World-wide live online and face to face in some locations | each school term | concession/further discount if you are really struggling 

If you are a returning Openground MBSR participant you can have 20% off your next MBSR course. Contact [email protected] to receive your discount code.

Undertaking this in-depth training to develop a steady mindfulness practice will offer you a precious capacity for the rest of your life. We take a genuine, personal approach and our dedicated teachers will go the extra mile to help you engage with each other and your practice in ways that are immediately satisfying and helpful. You will learn a range of mindfulness practices to cultivate an observant, accepting and compassionate stance towards your own internal experiences and how to apply this in a practical way to immediate life challenges. 


Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an evidence-based, user-friendly program that brings the principles of mindfulness meditation into everyday life by teaching specific skills and practices to help break cycles of anxiety, stress, unhappiness and exhaustion.

Openground is proud to be endorsed by Emeritus Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn – who developed MBSR at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979 for people suffering chronic and acute stress, chronic pain and illness, and associated anxiety and depression.  As seen on ABC Catalyst TV.

What does it involve?

an individual phone interview, and ongoing individual support from your teacher
  • a 2.5 hour class, over eight weeks, plus one full retreat day 

  • mindfulness meditation and body awareness training 

  • an exploration of your own patterns and how to transform them 
  • good conversations about things that matter
  • scientific rationale for the practice 

  • access to Openground audio app for practice and a 100 page course book

Come and see how this inspiring course can help you develop more mental, emotional, physical and psychological resilience and well-being.

Book early as our courses fill up quickly. 



We love to offer enabling discounts for people who have a need for our support because of disability, long-term unemployment, students (with no help from parents) or chronic pain conditions that prevent work. And there is much need at the moment of course, because of the increased strain of COVID. So if you have access to assets, savings, shares, or property, can we ask you to reflect on whether you can stretch to afford the full fee at this time, or maybe choose a payment plan. Thanks! 

Please complete this questionnaire today if you need a serious discount and we will be back in touch soon.


Focus and presence

Cultivate more concentration and capacity to be in the moment with what matters to you most, here and now.


Emotional calming

Reduce reactivity, learn to befriend your emotions and to express them in ways that set clear and caring boundaries.


Clarity and wisdom

See your patterns and values with more clarity so that your actions can be more beneficial to yourself and others.

Register Here


How does MBSR work?


Through the cultivation of skills, attitudes and knowledge MBSR offers a tested approach to develop and quicken our innate human capacities for attention, awareness and wise action. You will learn a range of mindfulness practices to cultivate an observant, accepting and compassionate stance towards your own internal experiences including thoughts, emotions, body sensations and impulses, and how to apply this in a practical way to immediate life challenges. 

MBSR is different from many other mindfulness offerings in terms of dedicated attention with a teacher, time spent in actual practice and the transformative power of the experience with other people in the group.

In MSBR change happens through ~

  • Physiological regulation ~ learning how to calm down and balance your nervous system
  • Emotional awareness ~ getting to know your own emotions and how to accept, explore and transform them
  • Cognitive flexibility ~ developing more concentration and clarity, and less rigidity in your beliefs and attitudes 
  • Engagement with values ~ bringing what you care about into how you live
  • Behavioural change ~ experimenting with small changes leading to bigger shifts in life

Topics by week ~

Week 1     Recognising the present moment
Week 2     Perception and how we make sense of the world
Week 3     Keeping the body in mind
Week 4     Investigating stressful experience and approaching the difficult
Week 5     Finding perspective: working with emotions and thoughts
Week 6     Relationships and kindness
Week 7     Values and action
Week 8     Making mindfulness a part of your life

 Is MBSR safe?

This is an important question. Some recent research did not find a single instance in which people in an MBSR course experienced any harm that was  greater than base rates of increased negative symptoms experienced by people in the control group that received no treatment.  So you can take up the training in MBSR with confidence.

Openground's MBSR program on ABC TV

In late 2018, ABC's Catalyst team invited a group of 15 ordinary Australians to take part in a mindfulness experiment to see if undertaking the MBSR course could help treat conditions like chronic pain, stress, anxiety and depression that effect millions of us.  This course was  taught by Timothea Goddard - the Director of Openground.  Watch their journey here to see how the eight week MBSR course changes people's lives and brains. Or check out these shorts giving an overview of MBSR and an excerpt following Erin's journey with MS and chronic pain.


ABC Science - Erin's story with MS and chronic pain

Testing the waters - a free consultation for you

You have probably tried a lot of things.

And while an in-depth mindfulness training can be transformative, it is not a panacea or a quick fix. You might be wondering how the scientific evidence about mindfulness can be applied to your specific situation.

You are welcome to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable teacher to explore what you are grappling with and discuss whether doing some in-depth mindfulness training would be useful or not.

Book your free consultation now

feature retreats

The mindfulness course slowly allowed me to change my thought patterns from self-criticism to self-compassion. This is allowing me to let go of the past and of things that are outside of my control and get on with life. I seem now to see things more clearly, and it has made dealing with the reality of the life I have a lot easier.

Why learn with Openground?

Timothea Goddard - Practice mindfulness with an experienced teacher

Personal attention and skilled teaching

Practicing mindfulness with an experienced teacher simply can’t be compared with using a meditation app. We take a genuine, personal approach, and our highly trained, experienced, and dedicated teachers go the extra mile to help you engage with your practice in ways that can bring real transformation.

brain waves - evidence based mindfulness training

Evidence-based transformation

MBSR is an authentic, evidence-based program of mindfulness training, grounded in 39 years of research and drawing on the wisdom of Buddhist psychology. Unlike many shorter mindfulness courses, which have no evidence of benefit, MBSR is globally recognised as the gold standard for mental and physical health in the field.  


Real value

Our immersive, eight-week courses include 28 hours of personal mindfulness training. Many short courses only give you a taste of mindfulness, and are actually more expensive than MBSR on an hourly rate basis. Our courses offer significant value, and we can also arrange serious discounts if you need a helping hand.

aus wide
MBSR Australia wide

NSW - Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong
VIC - Melbourne
QLD - Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast
WA - Perth
SA - Adelaide
Distance MBSR

for all
Openground for all

We know how beneficial mindfulness is, and so we do our best to help people  access our courses. Openground offers course discounts wherever possible to people experiencing hardship or special circumstances – ranging from financial constraints to chronic pain or other complex needs. Talk to us if you are a current Health Care Card holder, or are experiencing genuine financial difficulty.

Significant early bird rates are also offered for our courses in some locations.


Your questions, answered

  • I've tried meditation and can't do it.

    Yes, we know! Everybody has this experience when they first start mindfulness practice, and most people in your class will feel the same way. Don't worry – it won't prevent you from developing more ease and peace in your life through MBSR training.

    We all need to start with the mind we have, and if that is a busy and preoccupied mind, then that’s the perfect place to begin. Initially, mindfulness practice is about becoming familiar with your own mind and body, and exploring ways to soothe, calm, and simply explore how you tick.

    Step-by-step throughout the course, you’ll be offered different ways of practicing so you can bring more of this way of being into your life. By exploring the science of mindfulness, you’ll also discover why so many of us have such jumpy, 'jack-rabbit' minds and learn what you need to do to cultivate a calmer and clearer mind.

  • Who is MBSR for and what does it involve?

    Our MBSR course is for anyone who wants to reduce work, family or health-related stress, bring a greater sense of balance and meaning to their lives, and learn how to manage challenges more skillfully.

    The MBSR course involves:
    - an individual phone interview with your teacher
    - a 2.5 hour class, once a week for eight weeks, plus one full retreat day
    - yoga and body awareness training
    - an exploration of your own patterns of thinking, feeling and action, and how to transform them
    - brief lectures and discussions
    - individual feedback and support
    - scientific rationale for the practice
    - your commitment to daily homework practice using audio tracks and a course book.

  • What are the benefits of MBSR?

    Over 40 years of research into the MBSR program, evidence has been established for the following outcomes:
    - greater capacity to deal with stress
    - increased sense of wellbeing and balance
    - lasting decrease in physical and psychological symptoms of stress
    - increased energy and productivity; feeling more engaged with life
    - stronger immune system
    - increased levels of attention and concentration
    - more creative problem solving and greater focus
    - increased sense of connection, meaning and purpose.

  • Why is it important to practice?

    Mindfulness is not just a good idea – it’s a practice!

    A with any new skill – like learning to swim, do Pilates or play golf – just hearing or reading about mindfulness can only take you so far. Experience and practice are the two things that will lead to lasting and profound changes.

    To fully benefit from the program, ask yourself if you are willing to make a commitment to undertake some formal practice each day over the eight weeks of your course. This will make all the difference to your satisfaction with the course, the benefits you experience, and your life.

    Training in mindfulness will equip you with a very portable set of skills that you can practice anywhere, anytime. Give it a go and let's see what happens!

  • Why not just use a mindfulness app or do a short course?

    We may not like it, but real change takes time. This is why your MBSR training unfolds over eight weeks of 2.5-hour sessions plus a whole day retreat – a total of 28 hours of training, as well as your home practice.

    Promises of a quick fix are always tempting. There are many short, 4-6 week courses that offer a few hours of training and claim to be based on MBSR or 'the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn'. Often these courses also inaccurately draw on the MBSR research base, when this is not evident in the structure of the course or the experience of the teacher.

    Mindfulness involves changing the habits of your mind and body. Change happens through practice, and evidence suggests that eight weeks is the optimum time for new cognitive, emotional, neurological and behavioural changes to become embedded. Our experience is that practice develops most effectively and sustainably when there is an ongoing personal relationship with a teacher who really knows their stuff.

    We encourage you to do some research of your own. If you are quite stressed, or you’re facing some big challenges, you may find greater benefit in an in-depth, evidence-based MBSR program.

  • I am a health professional. How will MBSR help me in my work?

    MBSR is a wonderful program for people working in helping professions. It assists with our capacity for listening, empathy, compassion and genuine curiosity. It can also help us see into our own patterns that can get in the way of being truly helpful.
    However, MBSR is not a professional training program for using mindfulness with clients. We welcome you to join the course as a participant, leave your professional hat at the door, and immerse yourself in mindfulness practice. Our MBSR course presents an opportunity to learn about mindfulness from the inside out, by engaging in the group process and learning from your fellow participants.

    There are good ethical and professional reasons to develop an in-depth understanding of your own personal mindfulness practice before teaching others. A sustained mindfulness practice, including completing an MBSR course and a teacher-led silent mindfulness retreat, is a pre-requisite for training to teach

  • I have a mental health care plan with my GP. Will I be able to claim a Medicare or other health insurer refund for the course?

    Unfortunately, not all health professionals can be registered to offer a Medicare rebate. Although many of our teachers are among the best trained and most skilled in the country, they are not able to offer a rebate. However, we do offer discounts for people whose circumstances make it impossible to afford the full fee, and we’re happy to discuss this option with you.

  • 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.

  • 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.