During the foundational Mindful Self-Compassion training, many participants experience the extraordinary nourishing and healing quality of self-compassion for the first time. With sustained commitment, practice, and dedication, a deep level of embodiment and integration can begin to take root in the practitioner’s daily life.

For this reason, we created the Community for Deepening Practice (CDP).

Because this is a graduates’ course, CDP is a deepening and elaboration of MSC. Participants re-commit to integrating and embodying self-compassion into daily life through regular, long-term practice in community with others. This more slowly paced, spiral learning approach allows participants to savor the practices anew as a way to consciously embody, expand, and deepen their learning.

Course structure:

  • We’ll begin the CDP by clarifying intentions, revisiting core values, and exploring our individual challenges to bringing practice into the world. This sets the stage for our shared journey together. We will receive periodic guest teachings by Chris Germer, Steve Hickman, Christine Braehler, Michelle Becker, and Kristy Arbon.
  • The CDP will meet online together once a week in both small- and large-group configurations. Each meeting will include a combination of opening meditation, a group check-in, practice and discussion about the week’s topic(s)/practice(s), and a closing circle. Participants sometimes choose to meet each other at other times as well to practice together informally.
  • We will provide an accessible, password-protected, online home in which participants can come together to connect via the discussion board, share resources, network, and discuss any topics which arise during the course.

CDP member portal design

  • Participants are given fully optional Creative Invitations (see sample here), which we hope will encourage varied modes of engagement with each week’s topics. These Invitations will include guided journaling, photography, musical explorations, visual creations, guided movement exercises, and more. We will focus on process, not outcome, as way to deepen experience and be with what unfolds. Participants may choose to share their experiences with the Creative Invitations on the private Activity Wall.

Creative Activity Wall sample

  • Each CDP participant will receive a Personal Profile Page on the Community’s website as well as access to our Community’s shared directory and discussion forums. True to all MSC practices, participants are invited to check in deeply with themselves and to take part (participate) in as much or as little as they wish.

CDP sample screenshot

  • Also available is the MSC Circle of Practice, a weekly online meditation group. The Circle of Practice is a free, drop-in, flexible, ongoing experience that is available to both CDP participants and the wider MSC graduate community as a whole.

Time commitment

In order to enjoy the program to the fullest, it is suggested that the minimum time commitment is 3 hours per week. It breaks down as follows:

  • 2 hours per week for our online group meeting
  • 1 hour to go over the week’s readings, materials, and practice(s)
  • Strongly recommended: We invite up to 20 minutes/day of formal or informal meditation practice.
  • Optional: Participants may use the online discussion forums and Zoom video conferencing software as often as they wish to connect outside of class hours
  • Optional: There will be a variety of supportive readings and Creative Invitations available throughout the course to further engage learning and nurture an embodying of practice. We will also hold periodic, dedicated open forum meetings to discuss Creative Invitations.


The CDP’s Lead Teacher will be Bal Phipps, and Aimee Eckhardt will assist. We’re also so extremely grateful to welcome periodic guest teachings by the CMSC core teaching staff, including Chris Germer, Michelle Becker, Kristy Arbon, and Steve Hickman.


The CDP is currently in session, and the schedule for the next offering, beginning October 19, 2016, is being finalized. If you’d like to be informed when those details are finalized, please sign up here.

Class size:

We are intentionally limiting the size of the CDP in order to engender an environment which supports trust, safety, and connection among participants and teachers. The maximum number of participants is 20, and we’ll meet in both large- and small-group configurations throughout the 8-month period.


In order to allow participation by the greatest number of people possible, the 8-month course fee of $1,600 USD can be paid either monthly ($168.75/month) or in full at the beginning of the course. A $250 deposit is required with each application. This reserves a participant’s spot during application review. Upon acceptance, the deposit will be deducted from the total cost of the course. (Convert to your local currency.)

There will be some financial support available for those who are unable to pay the full course fee. Please visit the financial support page to learn more.

For those who are considering joining us for the CDP journey:

  • We appreciate this is a commitment of time and priority, and in order to support this, we would like you to consider: Is this the right time? During the course, we’ll invite you to renew your commitment to taking care of yourself by engaging the exercises, the practices/meditations, and each other. Our once-weekly meetings are 120 minutes, and the process of going inward, reflecting, and witnessing will benefit from dedicated space and time to ripen.
  • Please note that this is open to ALL MSC GRADS, whether or not they teach MSC.

Thank you for your interest and taking the time to read this.  We are so privileged and excited to be offering this innovative opportunity to come together and deepen our self-compassion practice in a supportive community.

With warm wishes,
Bal and Aimee


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Deep gratitude to Bal and Aimee. Thanks so much for your generosity of time and wisdom and spirit, your deep listening, and yes, you have brought us together from all over the world thru this magical thing called internet but that I may feel a deep connection sometimes as if it were face to face is tribute to what you are both creating and holding here. Truly a deepening of practice and being.