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12-Week Live Online MSC Teacher Training (LOTT-17)

Steve Hickman and Dawn MacDonald

January 24, 2022 - April 13, 2022

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This Live Online Teacher Training (LOTT) is Step 1 of the Teacher Training Pathway and includes the following elements:

  1. A cohort of 24 trainees who have met all the required prerequisites for MSC Teacher Training, including: having taken the MSC course greater than six months prior to the training; having an established practice of mindfulness and compassion; and having completed a 5-day or longer teacher-led, silent residential meditation retreat. NOTE: No exceptions to these requirements will be made.
  2. Registrants will complete a Teacher Training application during the registration process that will also include an item or two addressing online learning and the registrants concerns or desires about this format of training.
  3. Upon acceptance into the training, all participants are required to purchase the Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program book and to read Part 1 of that book prior to the start of the training.
  4. Full attendance is required to successfully complete the program and move to the next step, although accommodations may be made in exceptional situations. Trainees who miss more than one session of the MSC course or the teacher training component may not be allowed to complete the training.


 Training Sessions Include:
  1. Two initial introductory 3-hour sessions in the first week. 
  2. Nine-week, 3 hours per session MSC course (led by two Certified MSC teachers who are not the Teacher Trainers), with a one-week break in Week Eight of LOTT.
  3. Weekly “teachback” (practice teaching) sessions of 1.75 hours in groups of 12 held between each session of the online MSC program (each session led by one trainer as a sub-cohort with a mid-course re-assignment to new sub-cohorts). There are two Teachback sessions (in Week Six and Seven) that are 3 hours long.
  4. A final 3-hour wrap-up session to address next steps, nuts and bolts of teaching MSC and CMSC policies, procedures and ethical guidelines.
  5. All trainees who successfully complete the online teacher training (just like those who complete the traditional in-person training) will then be eligible to join a Teacher Training Practicum as the next step in their process toward becoming a Trained Teacher of MSC.

Teacher Training Objectives

At the completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Develop and apply personal practice of responding to difficult emotions with mindfulness and compassion
  • Describe current basic theory and research on self-compassion
  • Identify the core themes and practices presented in each of the eight group sessions of MSC, plus the retreat day
  • Develop and implement the skills necessary to facilitate MSC groups, including how to guide meditation, teach from each participant’s direct experience, and facilitate group cohesion
  • Identify obstacles to mindful self-compassion practice and strategies for overcoming them
  • Practice and demonstrate a mindful and compassionate embodied stance toward students of the MSC program as they confront challenges to their practice
Continuing Education Credits

Continuing Education Credits will be offered for US certified psychologists, therapists and nurses. (Please see the list below for details.)

In order to receive CE credits, you must attend all the Teacher Training Sessions. No credit is given for partial attendance. You will also need to fill out the online Evaluation after the training completes. CE Certificates will be emailed about a month after the program completes.

Continuing Education Credit for this program is provided by UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This course offers 32.0 hours of credit.

California licensed MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, LCSWs:
Continuing Education Credit for this program is provided by UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. 32.0 contact hours may be applied to your license renewal through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. For those licensed outside California, please check with your local licensing board to determine if APA accreditation meets their requirements. 

UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP16351, for 38.25 contact hours.

Please submit the $75 USD fee when registering.

Please contact Kristen Prater, [email protected], Continuing Education Coordinator with any questions regarding CE credits. 

Scholarships Supporting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging:

Recognizing the societal importance of self-compassion training and the financial realities that many prospective teachers (especially people from diverse and historically under-served communities) may face, the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion is pleased to offer a number of full and partial scholarships, focused on applications from people of color and those who are members of historically marginalized or under-served communities, and those who wish to serve these populations and communities.  

Scholarships can be requested on the LOTT Application Form, as part of the course application process. (See “Application Process” in the right side-bar.) Please apply by December 20, 2021 if you wish to be considered for a scholarship. 

Cancellation Policy:

There is a $300 USD non-refundable deposit that as part of your registration fee.

If you cancel by January 3, 2022, you will be refunded all monies paid except the $300 non-refundable registration fee. Refunds may take up to 60 days to receive.
No refunds will be given after January 3, 2022.
CMSC is not responsible for any miscellaneous expenses incurred by trainees. Should this program be cancelled by CMSC for any reason, CMSC will refund all monies paid.

    Course runs for 12 weeks from
    January 24 to April 13
    Mondays & Wednesdays. 

    All sessions start at Midnight UTC
    = 4pm PT and 7pm ET

    (UTC = Coordinated Universal Time).
    See Time Zone Conversion and Course Time Zone Schedule section below for more details on determining your local time. 

    LOTT Trainers for this cohort:
    Steve Hickman and Dawn MacDonald

    MSC Teachers for this cohort:
    Cassondra Graff & Brandon Yabko


    1. 3-Hour MSC sessions on Mondays
    2. 1.75-Hour Teachback sessions on Wednesdays (with a few exceptions – see weekly table below)

    $25 non-refundable application fee.
    $2195 for the full program tuition (includes $300 non-refundable fee)
    Tuition fee includes the online MSC Teacher Guide. 

    $75 for CEs (optional)


    Before you apply, please ensure you have met ALL of the required prerequisites. No exceptions will be granted. To review them, please visit the MSC Teach Page

    If after you review the prerequisites you are not sure about your qualifications, please email [email protected].

    Complete the application and pay the non-refundable $25 fee. Scholarships can be requested on this application form.    

    CMSC will review your application and let you know whether you have been accepted,  within 2 weeks of submitting your form. Scholarships will be decided 1 month prior to the course start date. Please apply by December 20, 2022 to be considered.

    Upon acceptance, you will be provided with a link to register for the LOTT of your choice. Once you register and pay, you will be considered enrolled in the teacher training. Payment plans are available.

    Please Note: Acceptance of an application does not automatically enroll you into a course. You must register and pay to be considered enrolled. 

    Space limited to 24 people. Early registration advised.

Time Zone Conversion and Course Time Zone Schedule

By virtue of being online, the LOTT draws trainees from all around the globe. Different regions and time zones may shift at different times during the 12-week LOTT. CMSC uses UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) to anchor the time for these programs. 

In order to determine your local time zone relative to the UTC start time for this course, please visit a time convertor site like World Time Buddychecking your time zone in correlation to the UTC time on the start date of the LOTT. 

Click here to view the LOTT-17 Course Time Zone Schedule.  

Steve Hickman – Live Online Teacher Trainer

Steven Hickman, Psy.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and an Associate Clinical Professor in the UC San Diego Department of Family Medicine & Public Health. As Executive Director of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, his role is to provide oversight, vision, direction and focus for the development and expansion of CMSC around the world. He is also the Director of Professional Training, overseeing the training of teachers from “start to finish” and assuring the highest quality standards and the best possible resources for teaching. Steve is the Founding Director of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, a program of community building, clinical care, professional training and research. 

Dawn MacDonald – Live Online Teacher Trainer

Dawn MacDonald, MSW, RSW has been practicing and teaching mindfulness based interventions for decades. In 2010, after noticing a trend in health care providers to be incredibly self-critical, she invited Dr. Kristin Neff to share her research in a hospital Grand Round. Part of the first cohort of teachers trained in Mindful Self Compassion, Dawn continues to work towards co-creating the conditions to alleviate unnecessary suffering within and between ourselves and in the structures of our institutions. Dawn’s training in mindfulness-based interventions is extraordinarily broad and encompasses MBSR, Compassion Cultivation Training, Mindful Leadership, and, of course MSC. At present, Dawn is a trainer and a certified teacher with the CMSC. 

Cassondra Graff – Program Online MSC Teacher

Cassondra is a Certified Instructor of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and a licensed psychotherapist. She holds a Certificate of Competence in Teaching MBSR, Proficient/Advanced via MBI TAC, from Bangor University. Cassondra is the Director of Mentors for the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (CMSC) Online Advanced Skills Trainings. She developed the roles of Self-Compassion Mentor and Affinity Group Facilitator, creating ethical, inclusive and compassionate guidelines to serve a diverse range of participants and optimize learning in Self-Compassion-based public programs. Cassondra taught MBSR for a long-range National Institutes of Health (NIH) research study through UCSD evaluating the potential benefits of mindfulness in the senior aging process. She received her Master’s degree from Columbia University in New York and is licensed as a psychotherapist in California. Cassondra’s work as a mental health professional transformed over the years, becoming mindfulness and compassion based. She offers Mindfulness and Compassion Training worldwide, and is currently based in Arizona.

Brandon Yabko – Program Online MSC Teacher

Brandon Yabko is a licensed psychologist and certified MSC teacher in Salt Lake City, UT. In order to understand Brandon’s story, it is best to understand how he learned about mindfulness. “While in grad school a person told me about mindfulness and how focusing on the breath is so important. I about laughed in their face and said, ‘That’s ridiculous!’” I thought this was for hippies and not for me at all. One day, I went with this person to a conference that, to my surprise, was all about mindfulness. I practiced one time and was hooked ever since. I had never experienced the mind at such a peaceful state as I did in that exercise. The thing is, the person who I laughed at is now my wife! She then told me about self-compassion and once again I laughed it off for 10 years… Now I cannot imagine life without self-compassion. Brandon created one of the first Mindfulness Centers in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System and oversees that program as well as Complementary and Integrative Health (CIH). Although he is in a heavy administrative role, he continues to provide MSC to underserved populations within the VA and is a faculty member of the VA’s first national mindfulness facilitator training (VA CALM). Brandon’s areas of interest are in making mindfulness more accessible to everyone, creating brief mindfulness interventions, self- and other-compassion, and valued living.


January 24, 2022
April 13, 2022


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