Finding a Mindfulness-Based Therapist

Finding a skilled, mindful therapist is a beautiful act of self-care. It can be easier if you have a few tools.

Many therapists describe their areas of specialty in an online profile. For example:

  • The vipassana therapists are a group of psychotherapists in the San Francisco Bay Area, and are practitioners of vipassana (also known as insight) meditation.
  • Psychology Today offers a Find a Therapist Once you enter your city/zip code, you can narrow the results by treatment orientation (MBCT is a choice), insurance accepted, etc.
  • offers a therapist search. After indicating your city, you can specify the type of therapy (click “more” for “Mindfulness Based Approaches,” and “Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy”).

While mindfulness may be listed in a therapist’s profile, it can be helpful to know whether this is a recent interest, or a long-established personal practice in which the therapist has deep understanding. A few ways a therapist has demonstrated a significant commitment to personal and professional mindfulness practice is certification in one of the following:

  • Teacher at one of the Buddhist Vipassana (mindfulness meditation) centers in the US and Canada, or additional centers worldwide;
  • Teacher of MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) certified through the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness, or UCSD Center for Mindfulness. The latter has a teacher directory. MBSR teachers are in many states and countries;
  • Licensed therapist trained in MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy), often used to prevent depression relapse.

A therapist may also have received briefer training in:

There are wonderful mindful therapists with none of these certifications. In either case, you can do a Google search for your town + psychologist + mindfulness. Feel free to ask the therapists you find how long they have personally been practicing mindfulness meditation.

If they feel like a good fit, confirm that they are licensed, will work with your concerns, are clear about their fees, and if applicable, accept your insurance.

If one doesn’t work out, don’t be afraid to go to another for a second opinion. Regardless of the training and degree, you want someone with whom you feel comfortable in a therapeutic relationship.

Meanwhile, remember to care for yourself with gentleness and compassion. Click here for IMCW resources, and those of Tara Brach, to support your practice.

Note: search engine results have not been personally verified by the author. Please confirm qualifications before starting therapy.

This site is not intended to diagnose or treat any physical or mental health condition. If you are in crisis, or in need of immediate assistance, find help here:

Much gratitude to Mindy Abbott for helping us to compile this document. 2016-03-18