Conducting Research on MSC

MSC entails a unique way of leading exercises and meditations as well as interacting with students that transmit a felt-sense of self-compassion. Therefore, we strongly recommend that any research studies examining MSC as an intervention involve teachers who (1) are Trained MSC Teachers and (2) have taught the MSC program at least 2-3 times. Otherwise, the experimental subjects will not be getting the full experience of MSC.  Researchers should feel free to select specific exercises from the MSC program and use them in research, but in that case are requested not to call the intervention “MSC.”

If you are thinking of conducting research on MSC and would like guidance, please contact our research committee, below. They can give you advice about study design and potentially put you in touch with MSC teachers who are qualified to deliver the intervention for your study.


CMSC Research Committee

Dr. Karen BluthKaren Bluth

Dr. Karen Bluth received her PhD in Child and Family Studies in 2012 from The University of Tennessee, and holds a faculty position in the Program on Integrative Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. As a self-compassion and mindfulness researcher and teacher, Dr. Bluth’s research focuses on the roles that self-compassion and mindfulness play in promoting well-being in youth. She was awarded a Francisco J. Varela grant from the Mind and Life Foundation in 2012, which allowed her to explore the effects of a mindfulness intervention on adolescents’ well-being through examining stress biomarkers, as well as the relationship of self-compassion on the physiologic stress response. Further, she is co-creator of Making Friends with Yourself: A Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens, which is an adaptation of the Neff and Germer Mindful Self-Compassion Program for adults. She has recently received a grant from NIH to explore the impact of this intervention with teens who have depressive symptoms. Through support from the John Rex Endowment, Dr. Bluth collaborated with a local community organization in to train community leaders to teach mindfulness to adolescents, and mindfulness and self-compassion to their adult caregivers. As a mindfulness practitioner for almost 40 years and a lifelong educator with 18 years of classroom experience, Dr. Bluth frequently gives talks and conducts workshops in self-compassion and mindfulness in educational settings and in the community. Dr. Bluth is an Associate Editor of the academic journal Mindfulness and Associate Director of the UNC Mindfulness Program on Stress and Pain Management.


Dr. Amy Finlay-JonesAmy Finlay-Jones

Dr. Amy Finlay-Jones is a clinical and research psychologist based in Western Australia. She received an Australian Postgraduate Award for her doctoral research, for which she developed and evaluated an online self-compassion training program for health professionals. Amy has a particular interest in the role of self-compassion in promoting adaptive emotion regulation, and her clinical work has focused on using self-compassion practices to support self-regulation among individuals with substance abuse difficulties and eating disorders. Amy is passionate about translational research and she has a strong research and clinical focus on child and adolescent mental health. She currently holds a postdoctoral research position at the Telethon Kids Institute, and an adjunct academic position at Curtin University, and she is the Western Australia state representative for Compassionate Mind Australia.  Amy is a trained Mindful Self-Compassion teacher, and is also trained to deliver the Compassion Cultivation Training program, and the Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living Program. She regularly runs these programs, as well as delivering workshops on compassion and mindfulness for health professionals and educators.


Anna FriisAnna Friis

Anna Friis is a New-Zealand registered health psychologist. She has recently completed her PhD at the University of Auckland’s Department of Psychological Medicine, a program of theoretical, cross-sectional and experimental studies investigating the health benefits of self-compassion among diabetes patients. Her PhD culminated in a randomized controlled trial of the MSC eight-week program with results that showed improvements in both psychological and physiological outcomes in this hard-to-treat group. As a psychologist in private practice, Anna specializes in mindfulness and self-compassion- based therapies, and gives frequent talks and seminars on the mind-body health benefits of self-compassion. She is a devoted yoga practitioner and has taught the Mindful Self-Compassion program many times.

Contact the Committee with questions about research.

"The MSC trainings have softened my inner critic and strengthened my inner champion. I am less anxious about imperfection, and celebrate vulnerability as a strength to meet challenges with courage, to deepen my capacity for joy. The best part is I get to embody it and humbly offer it to others as an MSC Teacher!"