Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Tell me about the program.
- The program consists of an orientation session, 8 weekly class sessions, and the Day of Mindfulness- where all of the classes in that cycle meet to spend the day meditating and doing yoga, mostly in silence.
- The main focus of the program is introducing participants to; mindfulness meditation, body awareness, yoga, and mindful movement- and apply it to reducing your stress and improving your health.
- You are asked to do home practice- i.e. meditating on your own, daily, and reading from the workbook between the class sessions.
- You are provided a workbook, handouts, and CDs to help you with the home practice.
When are classes offered?
We run four “cycles” during the calendar year- Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. The number of Foundation programs varies with each cycle, but we will typically offer three Foundation classes per cycle. To make classes as accessible as possible we make every effort to offer classes in the evenings and afternoons, both at Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, and Duke Raleigh Hospital in Raleigh.
The schedule for upcoming classes can be found here.
Schedules are subject to change so please check the online schedule for any updates prior to registering.
How do I register?
Advanced registration, paid in full, is required for all MBSR programs. Your space in the class is not reserved until we have received both your application and full program fee.
Classes can fill very quickly and it is not recommended to wait to apply if you are interested in taking a class. If you submit your application form and discover your desired class is already full, your Guest Services representative can tell you of other classes that still have availability. If your schedule only allows you to opt for a specific class, request to be put on the wait list. If a seat opens up it will be filled from the wait list in the order interest was received.
Call 1-866-313-0959 toll-free to request an application form. Or you may download the application form, and send to:
Mail: Guest Services Department
Duke Integrative Medicine - MBSR Program
DUMC Box 102904
Durham, NC 27710
I am a Duke IM member and would like to sign up for MBSR.
Duke IM Platinum and Gold Enrollment clients are able to take one MBSR course for free during the year of their enrollment membership. Please fill out an application form, and be sure to fill in the box on the form stating your status as a Duke IM member.
If you decide you need to cancel, you must follow the MBSR Cancellation Policy. Failure to do so will mean you have claimed your free MBSR course for that membership year, and you will not be able to register again without paying the registration fee.
What are the costs?
See our Registration Page for course fees.
Do you have payroll deduction for Duke employees?
Payroll deduction is not currently available.
Does insurance cover this?
The MBSR program is considered an educational program, and is not eligible for insurance coverage from most companies.
Individuals who are referred to the program by their doctor may be able to file for reimbursement, but it is up to you to negotiate with your insurance company. Supporting documentation (receipts, letter of purpose from the Program, ect.) is available on request. Please contact the Program Coordinator at
What about financial aid?
Our philosophy is that the skills taught in the MBSR Program are of benefit to everyone. For that reason, the program has a Financial Aid program that enables you to learn MBSR skills and use them in your daily life, regardless of socio-economic status.
Download a financial aid request form here.
For additional information about financial aid, please:
Call: 1-866-313-0959 (toll-free)
Mail: Duke Integrative Medicine
DUMC Box 102904
Durham, NC 27710
We ask applicants to be able to contribute a minimum of 50% of the course fee to be eligible for financial aid so that we may provide assistance to as many individuals as we can.
Please submit your registration and financial aid request forms well in advance of your intended class.
Can I switch classes?
No, we'll ask you to choose one class and stay with that class for the entire 8 weeks. It becomes disruptive to the group learning dynamic to move from one class to the other and while all the instructors cover the same material, they may not teach in the same order, or at the same pace, depending on the needs of the class as a whole.
If I withdraw from class, do I get a refund?
Please see our MBSR Cancellation Policy here.
What if my class is cancelled?
For the group dynamics and learning environment necessary for the program to work, a certain number of participants are required. It may happen that a particular class does not meet that requirement, and we must cancel the class prior to its start. Notification to registered students will be made of a cancelled class at least three business days prior to the orientation. If your class is cancelled due to under enrollment, you will receive a full refund.
Tell me about the Orientation.
An orientation is required for each participant intending to take an MBSR class. It gives you a chance to meet the instructor and your other class mates. You will be given information about the class and get a better feel for what sort of the commitment the program is, and in general helps you and your instructor determine if the class is right for you.
What if I can’t come to the Orientation?
If you cannot attend the orientation that is scheduled for your class, but are able to attend the orientation of another class that week, please contact us at
, so we can plan accordingly.
If you are unable to attend any orientation session please consider taking the class at another time.
Can I miss a class (including the Day of Mindfulness)?
Yes. But if you know in advance of the orientation that you must miss more than 2 classes, we recommend that you consider waiting to taking the class at another time.
What if there is bad weather the night of my class?
In case of severe weather or the threat of severe weather, please call the MBSR Program office at 919-684-9811 or Duke Integrative Medicine Guest Services at 919-660-6826 for information regarding classes on bad weather days. We will make every effort to update our phone message by 9 am on the affected day.
Back-Up Plan: If you are unable to get through to our office or we have been unable to update the message (power outages, ect.), use the closing schedule of the Durham County Public Schools and Office as your guide- that is, if Durham County operations are closed for weather reasons then it is likely Duke IM is closed as well. If Duke IM is closed, we will cancel all of our events and classes that day - this includes classes that may take place outside of Duke IM and our distance learning classes.
Even if classes are still scheduled to meet, use your own discretion regarding travel and road conditions. Please be safe!
Bad Weather Contacts:
MBSR Program Office: 919-684-9811 or
Duke Integrative Medicine Guest Services: 919-660-6826 or 866-313-0959 (toll free)
What if my class materials are lost or stolen?
If your class materials are lost or stolen, you may obtain replacements via the following methods:
- Workbook - send an e-mail requesting a replacement workbook to:
. Your replacement order will be confirmed via e-mail with the total amount due and you will be given further instructions for processing your materials replacement fee. Fee: $35 (includes shipping)
- Guided meditation CDs- You may purchase a replacement set or purchase the individual CDs individually. These can be purchased through our Provisions store, either by calling (919-684-8846) or by visiting our online store. Fee: see website for current prices.
What is the Day of Mindfulness?
The Day of Mindfulness is a Saturday session somewhere near the end of your MBSR course (see your class schedule for the specific date). It is a full day of mindfulness practice where all of the MBSR classes in that cycle come together for this experience. Alumni from past classes are also invited to attend. You will receive more specific information about the Day of Mindfulness in your class.
Although preregistration is not required for the Day of Mindfulness, we ask and strongly encourage anyone with special needs or health challenges to alert us well in advance of attending the day, so that we might be aware of you, and so we can plan together the safest and most comfortable ways to support you, and to include you in the day's activities.
Who are the instructors?
All of our instructors have longstanding mindfulness meditation. Each have attended mindfulness meditation retreats and have gone through the MBSR training for professionals given by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts.
Individual instructor bios can be found here.
What if I can’t do yoga because of a physical condition?
The instructors will work with you and help you find another posture. The yoga is very gentle and its main focus is on stretching and awareness of the breath.
What sort of people take this class?
All kinds. People who want to learn about mediation, people who are stressed out, people with various physical conditions.
How many people are in the class?
Do you accept children in the class?
No. This MBSR program is not appropriate for young children or adolescents.
Is this the same as the program Jon Kabat-Zin does?
Yes, it is based on the program he developed, and all of our instructors have studied with him.
Is MBSR a form of therapy?
Although people bring personal issues to class, MBSR is not group therapy. It is a group learning experience, in which we focus on bringing mindfulness to problems.
Do I have to share private information with the class?
No. Participants are encouraged to determine for themselves what information they choose to share with their classmates, but are not required to share anything. All information shared is confidential. Do not discuss other people's issues outside of class.
Are there religious aspects to mindfulness meditation that conflict with my own practice?
No. The practices and techniques Jon Kabat-Zinn distilled for MBSR are designed to be neutral and approachable for all individuals, regardless of their chosen spiritual practice. People from a variety of backgrounds take this class and we ask all participants to please respect others' spiritual practice.
While this program is not intended to be a spiritual practice, many have found that it does deepen whatever form of spirituality you practice.
What kind of mindfulness practices are used in the program?
- Breath Awareness – simple focus on breath, observing thoughts without being caught up in them.
- Body Scan – a way of discovering embodiment -what it means to live in and with your body by growing mindfulness of the sensations in the different parts and regions of your body.
- Walking Meditation – Walking as a way of meditating.
- Loving Kindness – Projecting feelings of friendliness and kindness towards yourself and others.
- Choiceless awareness – a mindfulness meditation practice that deliberately does not "choose" a particular focus for attention, but instead takes a broad attentional stance that includes sounds, sights, sensations, emotions, and thoughts with equal interest.
Can you help me find an MBSR program in . . .
You can search for other MBSR programs in your area by visiting the UMASS Center for Mindfulness website here.