I was born in 1957 in the Netherlands. Instead of studying at university, I lived as a Buddhist monk for six years in South East Asia. During this period, I studied Buddhist psychology, practised meditation intensively and learned to teach meditation to others. I have written several books on this subject, some of which have been translated into English.
After returning to the Netherlands, I trained as a nurse in psychiatric settings. I started to get interested in a more secular way of practising and teaching mindfulness, and studied to become an MBSR/MBCT teacher at the Institute for Mindfulness (IvM) in the Netherlands. I am now affiliated as a trainer at various training institutes across Europe. My wife and I have set up a private practice from which we organise retreats and training in mindfulness and compassion.
As a trainer and author, I collaborate closely with psychiatrist/psychotherapist Erik van den Brink, with whom I developed a follow-up programme for participants who have already followed a mindfulness-based training (e.g. MBSR or MBCT). This programme is called Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living (MBCL). We teach workshops and a Teacher Training Programme on MBCL throughout Europe. Together we wrote several books on compassion training, which were published in the Netherlands and later translated into German, English and Spanish.
Please note that Frits is available to offer supervision only for the MBCL programme.
- 1982-1988 – living as a Buddhist monk
- 1994 – qualified as a nurse in psychiatry, the Netherlands.
- 2007 – as a teacher MBSR/MBCT in the Institute for Mindfulness (IvM), the Netherlands (VMBN, category 1)
- Completed postgraduate training in Mindfulness-based Approaches including: Mindfulness-based Supervision (Alison Evans); Deep Listening (Rosamund Oliver); Mindful Communication (Susan Gillis Chapman, Edel Maex); Interpersonal Mindfulness Teacher Training (Florence Meleo-Meyer & Phillis Hicks); Mindful Self-Compassion (Kristin Neff, Chris Germer); and Breathworks (Vidyamala Burch).
- Completed postgraduate training in psychotherapy: Compassion Focused Therapy (Paul Gilbert, Chris Irons)
Teaching Training Specialisms
- Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living (MBCL)
- MBSR, MBCT, Interpersonal Mindfulness
- Working with mindfulness and compassion in clinical settings
- Mindfulness meditation
Retreat Lead Experience
- Four to five intensive vipassana meditation retreats a year (lasting four to 30 days) since 1994
- Three to four secular mindfulness retreats on a yearly basis since 2010 for MBSR Teacher Training Institutes in Europe (MBSR)
- Several secular compassion retreats of three to seven days since 2008, first with Erik van den Brink and the last two years with Jetty Heynekamp
- Since 2016, I have taught a four-day Interpersonal Mindfulness workshop with Erik van den Brink and/or Jetty Heynekamp
- Interpersonal Mindfulness
Since 1979, I have attended many retreats (vipassana + metta), first in the Netherlands and then, from 1982-1988, in South East Asia, with many teachers. From 1988, I have still attended a yearly retreat of five or six weeks, in Wat Vivek Asom (Thailand), Saddhammaransi Yeiktha (Burma) and in Swe Oo Min Yeiktha (Burma – 2008). The last ten years I have attended a yearly retreat of five or six weeks in Wat Bhaddanta Asabharam, Thailand.
I have also attended retreats on Mindful Communication with Gregory Kremer and with Florence Meleo Meijer and have attended workshops on Mindful Communication by Susan Gillis Chapman and Rosamund Oliver. I practise mindfulness and compassion on a daily base, formally and informally.
Research Activities and Interests
I was involved with and co-authored several articles (see below) on studies into mindfulness and compassion training for psychiatric out-patients, health professionals and psychiatric trainees. I am particularly interested in how mindfulness and compassion can be presented in a non-religious way.
Books in English:
- Van den Brink, E. & Koster, F. with Norton, V. (expected 2018): A practical guide to Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living: Living with Heart. London: Routledge.
- Van den Brink, E. & Koster, F. (expected 2018). Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living – A deepening programme for those with basic mindfulness skills. In I. Ivtzan (Ed.), The Handbook of Mindfulness-Based Programs: Every Established Intervention, from Medicine to Education. London: Routledge.
- Van den Brink, E. & Koster, F. (2015). Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living: A new training programme to deepen mindfulness with heartfulness. London: Routledge.
- Koster, F. (2014). The Web of Buddhist Wisdom. Chiang Mai, Silkworm Books.
- Koster, F. (2007). Buddhist Meditation as Stress Management. Chiang Mai, Silkworm books.
- Koster, F. (2004). Liberating Insight. Chiang Mai, Silkworm books.
Papers in peer-reviewed journals
- Schuling, S., Huijbers, M., Jansen, H., Metzemaekers, R., Van den Brink, E., Koster, F., Van Ravesteijn, H., & Speckens, A. (2017). Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living in recurrent depression: the co-creation of a post-graduate intervention to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Mindfulness. doi:10.1007/s12671-017-0783-1
- Bartels-Velthuis, A. A., Van der Ploeg, K., Koster, F., Fleer, J., Schroevers, M. J., & Van den Brink, E. (2016). A Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living training in a heterogeneous sample of psychiatric outpatients: a feasibility study. Mindfulness, 7, 809–818.
Frits’ website is at www.compassionateliving.info.