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5-Day Mindful-Self Compassion Intensive, Middleton , WI , United States

Steve Hickman and Beth Mulligan

August 16, 2019 - August 21, 2019

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This offering is an intensive version of the empirically-supported 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. It was developed by Christopher Germer, PhD, a leader in the integration of mindfulness and psychotherapy (www.MindfulSelfCompassion.org) and Kristin Neff, PhD, a pioneering researcher in the field of self-compassion (www.Self-Compassion.org). This program fulfills a prerequisite for becoming a MSC teacher.

MSC combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to enhance our capacity for emotional wellbeing. Mindfulness is the first step—turning with loving awareness toward difficult experience (thoughts, emotions, and sensations). Self-compassion comes next—bringing loving awareness to ourselves. Together, mindfulness and self-compassion comprise a state of warm, connected, presence during difficult moments in our lives.

Most of us feel compassion when a close friend is struggling. What would it be like to receive the same caring attention from yourself when you needed it most? All that’s required is a shift in attention—recognizing that as a human being, you, too, are a worthy recipient of compassion. Self-compassion involves the capacity to comfort and soothe ourselves, and to motivate ourselves with encouragement, when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. Self-compassion is learned in part by connecting with our innate compassion for others, and self-compassion also helps to grow and sustain our compassion for others.

Burgeoning research shows that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, coping with life challenges, lower levels of anxiety and depression, healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships. It is an inner strength that enables us to be more fully human—more fully ourselves.

Fortunately, self-compassion can be learned by anyone, even those of us who did not learn these skills as children.

MSC Objectives

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

  • describe the theory and research supporting mindful self-compassion
  • motivate themselves with encouragement rather than self-criticism
  • relate to difficult emotions with greater moment-to-moment acceptance
  • respond to feelings of failure or inadequacy with self-kindness
  • begin to transform difficult relationships, old and new, through self-validation
  • practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation
  • integrate core mindfulness and self-compassion exercises into daily life
  • teach simple self-compassion practices to patients, students, or clients


This program is designed for members of the general public, based on the values of equity, diversity and inclusiveness. Meditation experience is not necessary to participate in MSC. All are welcome!

Program activities include short talks, experiential exercises, meditation, group discussion, and home practices.  MSC is an opportunity to explore how we typically respond when difficulties arise in our lives and to learn tools for becoming a warm and supportive companion to ourselves.

The MSC program is a journey—an adventure in self-discovery and self-kindness. Self-compassion has the paradoxical effect of both soothing our emotional distress as well as opening us to the pain that we may have been unconsciously holding inside, often for many years.  Therefore, difficult emotions are likely to surface during the program, including past traumas. MSC teachers are committed to helping participants feel safe and comfortable during the course. However, participants agree at the outset that they will take primary responsibility for their emotional wellbeing.

MSC is therapeutic but it’s not therapy. The emphasis of the program is on building the resources of mindfulness and self-compassion. MSC is not a substitute for medical or mental health care. 

Participants should also be aware that MSC is mindfulness-based compassion training. Mindfulness and compassion go hand-in-hand, but our main purpose is compassion training.

In a randomized, controlled study, 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 in their daily lives. For the full-text article, please click here (PDF). Improvements were linked to how much a person practiced in their daily lives. After the Intensive, MSC participants are encouraged to practice mindfulness and self-compassion up to 1/2 hour per day, and teachers will provide tips for home practice.

MSC is taught in a variety of formats and an Intensive is the most emotionally challenging format to learn MSC. This is because it is 5 days of full immersion in self-compassion and participants do not have as much time to digest the course material and they don’t have access to their usual social supports. The depth of the training also means that difficult emotions are more likely to surface. Nonetheless, the deep dive into self-compassion that happens at an Intensive is a unique opportunity to experience its transformative potential.

To create an optimal learning experience, Intensives are only taught by Certified MSC Teachers (the highest level of training). All participants are encouraged to engage in the Intensive to the extent that they feel comfortable, and not more. However, participants should consider in advance whether they ready for this kind of learning experience or if a different MSC format might be preferable at this point in time. If you are unsure, please contact a teacher for further discussion.

Registration Closed


Venue and Schedule

This course is being managed by CMSC and held at the beautiful and serene Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, Wisconsin – just a few miles from downtown Madison.   Please see the Holy Wisdom website for more information about the venue.  

Holy Wisdom Monastery
4200 County Road M
Middleton WI 53562
608-836-1631, x100

The course begins with dinner at 5:15 pm on Friday, August 16 and ends at approximately 12:00 pm on Wednesday, August 21.  You may stay for lunch on Wednesday.

Approximate Course Times (subject to change):

Friday:  6:30-8:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8:30 am to 5:15 pm (2-hour lunch break from 12 to 2)
Monday: 8:30 am to 12:00 pm
Tuesday: 8:30 to 5:15 pm (2-hour lunch break from 12 to 2)
Wednesday:  8:30–12:00 pm

This course will have no more than 50 participants.


Continuing Education and Scholarships 

Psychologists: 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 24.0 hours of credit.

California licensed MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, LCSWs: 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. 24.0 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 requirement.

Social Workers:  Center for Mindful Self-Compassion is Approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886771645-3069) to offer for 24 continuing education contact hours for this program.  Some States do not accept this approval. Please contact your local board if you are unsure.

Nurses: UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP16351, for 28.75 contact hours. Please contact your local board to see if California CE hours are accepted.

Fees for CE hours: $75   (Please select CE type from the dropdown list below, and add your license number.  Then remit payment through the Buy Now – PayPal link.)

Continuing Education Credits
License number for CE credits

Scholarships Available

There are a limited number of scholarships available for this program. CMSC is especially committed to providing access to participants of color and members of other underserved groups and we prioritize scholarship applications of these individuals.  If you are interested in a scholarship please email [email protected].

All Scholarships have been awarded.  If you’d like to put your name on a wait list for scholarship consideration in case a recipient cancels, then please email [email protected]

Highly recommended while participating in the MSC course (but not necessary to read in advance):

It is also recommended, but not required, that participants read the following two books prior to the training:

Program fees:

The program fees include tuition, materials, lunch and dinner, and are payable to the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. Lodging is not included in the program fee.

Early-bird tuition, materials, lunch and dinner (before July 25, 2019): $895
Standard tuition, materials, lunch and dinner (from July 25, 2019): $995

There are a limited number of Single and Double accommodations available at Holy Wisdom. Please contact Amanda at [email protected] or 608-836-1631, x158 to reserve your rooms. Please mention that you are part of the MSC Intensive. Continental breakfasts are included.

Once the accommodations at Holy Wisdom are Full, participants will need to make their own accommodation reservations at a local hotel. To help with this, we have reserved a block of rooms at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Madison West/Middleton, which is near Holy Wisdom.  See below for details and the booking link.  Please note that lunch and dinner are still included in the program fees even if participants stay outside of Holy Wisdom or commute.

Event Summary:
Mindful Self Compassion – Holy Wisdom Monastery
Start Date: Friday, August 16, 2019
End Date: Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Last Day to Book: Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Hotel(s) offering your special group rate:
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Madison West/Middleton for 109 USD – 119 USD per night

Book your group rate for Mindful Self Compassion – Holy Wisdom Monastery



Cancellation policy:

$200 Non-Refundable cancellation fee for tuition applicable at any time. 

Your tuition payment (less the $200 non-refundable cancellation fee) will be refunded if we are notified by July 25, 2019 that you need to cancel your registration. Please see the Holy Wisdom site or the Fairfield Inn site for their cancellation policies.

No refunds are available after July 25, 2019, except on compassionate grounds.

In the unlikely event that the course is canceled, CMSC is responsible only for a full refund of the registration fee and not for transportation, hotel accommodations or any miscellaneous expenses.


Dr. Steve Hickman

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. 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. He has taught Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for 17 years and has trained teachers of MBSR and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Steve is an MSC teacher trainer, and leads MSC intensives and workshops around the world.


Beth Mulligan, PA-C is a certified MBSR teacher, teacher trainer, and adjunct faculty through the UMASS Center for Mindfulness. She has been teaching MBSR for over a decade to diverse populations; from the critically ill, to non-profit organizations, the underserved, educators, and corporate leaders. She currently teaches at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UCI and Insight LA. Beth teaches the 10-week and nine-day practicum for teachers in training nationally and internationally. Beth is a certified Mindful Self Compassion teacher and teacher trainer and does international training for the Center for Mindful Self Compassion.



August 16, 2019
August 21, 2019


Holy Wisdom Monastery
4200 County Road M
Middleton, WI 53562 United States
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(608) 836-1631


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