Mindful Self-Compassion Training


Mindful Self-Compassion Training teaches the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion, providing a powerful tool for emotional resilience. It was 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).


MSC is offered in a variety of formats, both online and in-person:


  • MSC 8-Week Course (MSC)
    – the empirically-supported 8-week training program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion
  • MSC Short Course (MSC-SC)
    – ​6-week adaptation of the empirically-supported 8-week MSC 
  • 2-Day Core Skills Workshop 
    – in-depth opportunity to immerse in some of the key practices and exercises of the 8-week MSC 
  • MSC Intensive Course
    – intensive 5-day retreat format offering the complete content of the 8-Week MSC 
  • Introductory Sessions 
    – 1 hour, 1/2 day or full-day programs
  • Compassion Inspired Eating
    – integration of key skills from MSC and Mind-Body Nutrition 

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




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

In 2014 I found myself at a week-long training in Mindful Self-Compassion on Whidbey Island, Washington and the trajectory of my life changed. The practices resonated deeply and challenged my inner self-critic that had been running the show for too long. I went on to Batavia, New York six months later to train as a teacher and since that time I have continued to practice teach and integrate Mindful Self-Compassion into my personal and professional life.  I have further deepened my own practice and my own teaching as I was mentored into becoming recognized as a Certified MSC Teacher.  I offer a deep bow of gratitude to my teachers/mentors Chris Germer, PhDKristin Neff, Ph.D., Steve Hickman, Michelle Becker, Kristy Arbon, Dawn MacDonald, my co-teachers Carol Ranger, Kristy Williams, Zoey Ryan and to the hundreds of courageous and open-hearted 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, and home visits.  I have been meditating for over 13 years and have trained in trauma-sensitive mindfulness. I took my first MSC course in 2018 and am now a Trained Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher.  I continue to study with The Centre for Mindful Self-Compassion, co-teach MSC community programs with Victoria, and offer introductory Mindful Self-Compassion training to my colleagues at the hospital. 


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