Mindful Self-Compassion Training


We offer training in Mindful Self-Compassion, an internationally acclaimed mindfulness-based program researched, tested and developed by Christopher K. Germer, PhD, leader in the integration of mindfulness and psychotherapy, and Kristin Neff, PhD, pioneering researcher in the field of self-compassion.

Mindfulness is the first step in emotional healing—being able to turn toward and acknowledge our difficult thoughts and feelings (such as inadequacy, sadness, anger, confusion) with a spirit of openness and curiosity.

Self-compassion involves responding to these difficult thoughts and feelings with kindness, sympathy, and understanding so that we soothe and comfort ourselves when we’re hurting. Research has shown that self-compassion greatly enhances emotional wellbeing. It boosts happiness, reduces anxiety and depression, and can even help maintain healthy lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise. Being both mindful and compassionate leads to greater ease and well-being in our daily lives.

Who can benefit from MSC?

MSC can be learned by anyone. It’s the practice of repeatedly evoking good will toward ourselves especially when we’re suffering—cultivating the same desire that all living beings have to live happily and free from suffering.

Most of us feel compassion when a close friend is struggling. What would it be like to receive the same caring attention whenever you needed it most? All that’s required is a shift in the direction of our attention—recognizing that as a human being, you, too, are a worthy recipient of compassion.

In MSC you’ll learn:
  • how to stop being so hard on yourself
  • how to handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • how to motivate yourself with encouragement rather than criticism
  • how to transform difficult relationships, both old and new
  • mindfulness and self-compassion practices for home and everyday life
  • the theory and research behind mindful self-compassion
  • how to become your own best teacher
Is MSC effective?

A randomized, controlled trial demonstrated that MSC significantly increased self-compassion, compassion for others, mindfulness, and life satisfaction, as well as decreased depression, anxiety, and stress. Improvements were linked to how much a person practiced mindfulness and self-compassion in their daily lives. For the full-text article, please click here (PDF).

Self-compassion is a skill anyone can learn. Meditation experience is not necessary to participate in MSC.  All are welcome!   


Mindful Self-Compassion Teachers



Victoria Pawlowski, M.Ed., R.C.C.

In 2014 I took a week-long training in Mindful Self-Compassion on Whidbey Island, Washington with Dr. Kristen Neff,  Dr. Chris Germer, Steve Hickman and Michelle Becker.  Wow!  I was inspired by the integrity of the teachers, the rigor of the program and the practices and tools offered.  I went on to Batavia, New York to further my training and eventually become a Certified MSC Teacher and have been practicing, teaching and participating in the world-wide MSC community ever since. I offer a deep bow of gratitude to my teachers/mentors Chris Germer, PhDKristin Neff, Ph.D., Steve Hickman, Michelle Becker, Dawn MacDonald, Kristy Arbon; my co-teachers along the way including Carol Ranger, Zoey Ryan and Kristy Williams, and to each and every one of the thousands of courageous program participants, I have had the privilege to teach.


Kristy Williams, M.D.

I am a Family Physician in Nanaimo enjoying my community practice, including hospital rounding, urgent care, palliative care, home visits and street medicine with people who are unsheltered/homeless.  I have been meditating for over 14 years and have trained in trauma-sensitive mindfulness, embodied leadership and mindful self-compassion.  I took my first Mindful Self-Compassion course in 2018 and immediately went on to become a Trained MSC Teacher co-teaching community based programs with Victoria Pawlowski, and offering mindfulness and self-compassion training to my colleagues and community. 


Mindful Self-Compassion for Teens & Young Adults

Dominique Sullivan, B.B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed.

Making Friends with Yourself (MFY) is an empirically-supported, 8-week program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion in teens and young adults. It was adapted from the original Mindful Self-Compassion program for adults and teaches core principles and practices that enable teens to respond to the challenges of these critical years with kindness and self-compassion.  This program is offered in our community by one of our community partners, Certified MFY Teacher, Zen Librarian Dominique Sullivan. I highly recommend Dominique for her experience, passion, and commitment to supporting youth and their families. Check her out at www.zenlibrarian.ca