The CBR Project was founded in 2004 through the Garrison Institute, a US-based not for profit organisation. CBR was initially focused on supporting caregivers and others in the ‘helping’ professions in the US.

In 2013, CBR for humanitarians was developed by a team of internationally recognised experts in psychology, trauma, meditation, mindful movement and educational pedagogy. One of the key founders was Sharon Salzberg, the noted meditation teacher and author, whose work on loving kindness and compassion guided the project.

CBR for humanitarians is now the flagship programme under Garrison Institute International, an extension of Garrison Institute based in the Netherlands, managing international programmes.




The Contemplative Based Resilience Project (CBR) provides bespoke support and capacity building to address these needs. The CBR curriculum is based on three core components:

  • Psychology of Stress
  • Meditation
  • Mindful Movement

The CBR Project approach was shaped by the enormous body of medical evidence showing that meditation and mindful movement help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression as well as improve stress-management, self-awareness, creative thinking and concentration.

The CBR Project training is entirely secular with no religious component, and is therefore open to all.


There is a large body of medical evidence indicating that mindfulness, meditation and yoga help to:

  • Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Increase stress-management, self-awareness, and concentration
  • Enhance neural plasticity
  • Optimise stress response and immune functioning
  • Improve psychosocial functioning

Research confirms that contemplative skills can be trained; that training in these skills produces favourable effects on physiology and behaviour; and that these effects can be measured.

For a full review of the evidence, and a presentation over 200 scientific papers, please read our flagship report, ‘The Human Dimensions of Resilience’.


CBR training has reached over 300 humanitarian aid workers from over 30 organisations across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the United States.

  • 92% of CBR training participants confirmed that the tools and theories presented in the training were useful, practical, and would support their ability to survive and thrive in their work environment.
  • 75% of participants believe that other humanitarians would respond positively to the training.

Our strategy in the coming period is to build on this feedback, and engage in research partnerships which enable us to more rigorously track the impact of CBR support on aid workers.


“Before I attended four days of CBR Training, I did not believe in the meditation world and its result on people. But now meditation and mindful exercises are my daily habits to reduce the stress and tension.”

Aseel, Jordan

“I’m starting to discover myself and the world, humanity again. We’ve had so many trainings regarding the humanitarian sector,but what I’ve felt here was completely different. I feel so grateful for the experience. It was four days but an experience for life.”

Aerlyn, USA

“Meeting you was a turning point in my life; it made a huge difference in the way I see and think about life and others. I had the chance to meet myself again and to reconnect with my inner me.”

Osama, Gaza


The CBR Project is the signature programme under Garrison Institute International, which manages Garrison's non-US based programmes.

For CBR programming in the USA, please visit the Garrison Institute USA website.


Broederplein 33 C, 3703CD Zeist
The Netherlands
+31 (0)6 834 125 73