Know Thyself - mindfulness for professionals

Behaviour and society

About this minor

Although academic knowledge and skills form the core of graduate programs, an explicit focus on self-awareness and self-care as part of training is also critical, especially in healthcare education. As Socrates already noted: “let him who would move the world, first move himself”. When healthcare professionals become more proficient in the exploration of their own inner worlds and learn to attend to themselves in a kind and healing way, the greater their ability to help their clients.

Mindfulness can be described as the awareness that arises through intentionally attending in an open, caring, and discerning way. Research shows that the practice of mindfulness has positive effects on numerous mental and physical health outcomes within different clinical and non-clinical populations.

In this minor, we introduce mindfulness as a means of maintaining the healthcare professional’s health and well-being, as well as a systematic way of training key caregiving skills (e.g., attention and presence, nonjudgmental curiosity, compassion, emotion regulation, listening, decision making), which will result in stronger therapeutic/working alliances and improved treatment outcomes.

This minor uses examples from healthcare professions but is suitable for students from all disciplines; anyone who aspires to work with other people can benefit from ‘knowing thyself’ better. The focus of the course is on personal development.

The 1st meeting each week comprises small group self-awareness training using formal/ informal meditation and inquiry, and concrete exercises and discussions to translate the learned skills to daily life and healthcare practice; the 2nd meeting comprises literature discussions and lectures, to explain and discuss concepts, effectiveness, working mechanisms, and neurobiological underpinnings of mindfulness.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the sessions and assignments of this 10-week course on mindfulness, you will be able to apply core mindfulness practices and skills within your personal life as well as a professional, organizational context. More specifically, you will be able to:

  • Describe mindfulness, its working mechanisms and effectiveness on various (health) outcomes.
  • Describe why and how cultivating mindfulness practices leads to essential qualities of professionalism.
  • Demonstrate attentional focus and shifting modes from thinking/conceptual to sensing/embodied, and from focused concentration to open monitoring.
  • Develop the ability to come off autopilot in daily life situations, to notice inner processes (thoughts, emotions, physical sensations), and to consciously choose how to respond.
  • Process difficult emotions and uncomfortable feelings.
  • Cultivate attitudes of curiosity, non-judgment, kindness, acceptance, and compassion, towards self and others.
  • Demonstrate mindful communication skills.
  • Demonstrate self-reflective skills.

Good to know

The minor is highly experiential in nature. There is a lot of practicing, both in-group and at home. We ask you to commit to this as this is the most important way of learning in this course.

The course also includes a lot of self-reflection ; you need to hand in (short) self-reflections every week , and 2 longer reports at the end of the course.

Mindfulness can be potentially therapeutic in nature, but this minor is not a replacement for therapy . Trainers will create a safe(r) space and provide tools and guidance on how to work with all sorts of (difficult) inner experiences, but they cannot offer extensive individual support. We ask you to take responsibility for your own processes and stay within your window of tolerance as well as possible.

Training groups have a maximum size of 15 students; the trainer is experienced and certified in mindfulness (or a related discipline). The minor is open for international students; some groups will be in English, some in Dutch.

When translating learned skilled to the (future) work field, we will mainly work with examples from healthcare . The minor therefore fits well with education for helping professions. However, students from all educational backgrounds are admissible; diversity is strongly welcomed . Becoming more mindful and compassionate could be interesting and beneficial to all students and work fields.

All education will be live on campus. Attendance is required for passing the course.

Teaching method and examination

Teaching methods

Experience-based learning, team-based learning.

  • Every 1st session of the week (small group setting; max. 15 students) will be comprised of meditations, inquiry/self-reflection, teachings (mini lectures), group discussions, mindful communication, experiential exercises.
  • Every 2nd session of the week (large group setting; max. 75 students) will include meditation, Q&A, and literature discussions in subgroups.
  • Home practice is comprised of formal and informal meditation, self-reflection, behavioural experiments, diaries, reading scientific literature, answering literature questions, and working on a team-based project about the translation of skills to the work setting.

Teaching materials

Scientific articles
Chapters from handbooks
TedX talks
Your own experience

Method of examination

  • Attendance

  • Weekly evaluations (weekly self-reflection report about meditation practices / answers to literature questions)

  • Final self-reflection report (individual)

  • Team-based project on translation of skills to work field of choice (groups of 3-4)

Composition final grade

Requirements for passing the course:

  • Attendance >80 %
  • Weekly evaluations – All sufficient
  • Final self-reflection report (individual; graded 1-10) – weight 60%, minimum grade 5.5
  • Team-based project on translation of skills to work field of choice (graded 1-10) – weight 40%, minimum grade 5.5

Link to more information

  • Credits
    ECTS 15
  • Level
  • Contact coordinator
  • Selection minor
If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Erasmus University.


  • Start date

    2 September 2024

    • Ends
      10 November 2024
    • Term *
      Block BLOK M 1
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    Currently no more seats available
These offerings are valid for students of Erasmus University