Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an evidence-based, 8-week, training program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. Based on the groundbreaking research of Dr Kristin Neff (PhD) and the clinical expertise of Christopher Germer (psychologist), MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult moments in their lives with kindness, care and understanding.
Rapidly expanding research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships. And it’s easier than you think.
The three key components of self-compassion are self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and balanced, mindful awareness. Kindness opens our hearts to suffering, so we can give ourselves what we need. Common humanity opens us to our essential interrelatedness, so that we know we aren’t alone. Mindfulness opens us to the present moment, so we can accept our experience with greater ease. Together they comprise a state of warm-hearted, connected presence.
Self-compassion can be learned by anyone, even those who didn’t receive enough affection in childhood or who feel uncomfortable when they are good to themselves. It’s a courageous attitude that stands up to harm, including the harm that we unwittingly inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-isolation, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically ourselves.
After participating in this workshop, you’ll be able to:
● Practice self-compassion in daily life
● Understand the evidence-based benefits of self-compassion
● Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
● Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
● Transform challenging relationships, old and new
● Manage caregiver fatigue
● Practice the art of savouring and self-appreciation
What To Expect
Program activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. MSC is a workshop rather than a retreat. The goal is for participants to directly experience self-compassion and learn practices that evoke self-compassion in daily life.
MSC is primarily a compassion training program, although mindfulness is the foundation of self-compassion. MSC is also not psychotherapy insofar as the emphasis of MSC is on building emotional resources rather than addressing old wounds. Positive change occurs naturally as we develop the capacity to be with ourselves in a kinder, more compassionate way.
It is said that “love reveals everything unlike itself.” While some difficult emotions may arise when practicing self-compassion, we are committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for this process to unfold, and to making the journey interesting and enjoyable for everyone.
MSC includes 8 weekly sessions in addition to a 4-hour retreat scheduled midway.
Prior to registering, participants should plan to attend every session and practice mindfulness for 30 minutes a day.
No previous experience with mindfulness or meditation is required to attend MSC. To insure safety, participants are asked to provide background information when they register for the program.
It is recommended that participants read one or both of following books before or during the program:
● Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Kristin Neff
● The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, by Christopher Germer
This program fulfills one of the prerequisites for becoming a MSC teacher. For more information on MSC and MSC Teacher Training, please visit www.CenterForMSC.org.
Mindful Self-Compassion Teachers
Kristy Williams, M.D
Victoria Pawlowski, R.C.C.
This program is not therapy but can be very therapeutic. In order to assure your emotional safety and the safety of everyone in the group, you are asked to have a short phone interview with the facilitator prior to registering.
When you submit payment you will be sent a registration package that includes a request for the following information:
- background information including relevant health concerns
- coping agreement
- confidentiality agreement
- emergency medical waiver
What to expect
We start each session with a guided meditation, introducing Core Meditations from the MSC program. We spend time reflecting and sharing on our experience of practice of the skills learned the week before before moving on to the topic of the evening. This course is finely designed to build your capacity for self-compassion by offering new skills, tools and practices each week. It is experiential, reflective and interactive (to the extent that you feel comfortable). The program is not group therapy however it is therapeutic.
If you would like to participate in this program but finances are a limiting factor at this time, you are invited to apply for a partial scholarship. Just send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why you would like to take the program and we will work with you to find a way to make it accessible.