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Evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is rapidly growing as interest in this field expands. By contrast, there are few empirical analyses of the pedagogy of MBSR and MBCT. Development of the evidence base concerning the teaching of MBCT or MBSR would support the integrity of the approach in the context of rapid expansion. This paper describes an applied conversation analysis (CA) of the characteristics of inquiry in the MBSR and MBCT teaching process. Audio-recordings of three 8-week MBCT and MBSR classes, with 24, 12, and 6 participants, were transcribed and systematically examined. The study focused on the teacher-led interactive inquiry which takes place in each session after a guided meditation practice. The study describes and analyzes three practices within the inquiry process that can be identified in sequences of talk: turn-taking talk involving questions and reformulations; the development of participant skills in a particular way of describing experience; and talk that constructs intersubjective connection and affiliation within the group. CA enables fine-grained analysis of the interactional work of mindfulness-based inquiry. Inquiry is a process of disciplined improvisation which is both highly specific to the conditions of the moment it took place in and uses repeated and recognizable patterns of interaction.
Over recent decades, there has been an exponential growth in mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). To disseminate MBIs with fidelity, care needs to be taken with the training and supervision of MBI teachers. A wealth of literature exists describing the process and practice of supervision in a range of clinical approaches, but, as of yet, little consideration has been given to how this can best be applied to the supervision of MBI teachers. This paper articulates a framework for supervision of MBI teachers. It was informed by the following: the experience of eight experienced mindfulness-based supervisors, the literature and understandings from MBIs, and by the authors’ experience of training and supervision. It sets out the nature and distinctive features of mindfulness-based supervision (MBS), representing this complex, multilayered process through a series of circles that denote its essence, form, content and process. This paper aims to be a basis for further dialogue on MBS, providing a foundation to increase the availability of competent supervision so that MBIs can expand without compromising integrity and efficacy.