Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an intensive training retreat version of an empirically-supported 8-week program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. Based on groundbreaking research by Kristin Neff and integrated with the clinical perspective of Christopher Germer, MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult emotions with kindness and understanding.
The three key components of self-compassion are self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and balanced, mindful awareness. Kindness opens our hearts to suffering, so we can give ourselves what we need. Common humanity opens us to others, so that we know we aren’t alone. Mindfulness opens us to the present moment, so we can accept our experience with greater ease. Together they comprise a state of warm, connected, presence during difficult moments in our lives.
Self-compassion can be learned by anyone, even those who didn’t receive enough affection in childhood or who feel uncomfortable when they are good to themselves. It’s a courageous attitude that stands up to harm, including the harm that we inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-denial, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, forgive ourselves, motivate ourselves with kindness, care for others, and be fully human.
Rapidly expanding research clearly demonstrates that self-compassion is related to emotional wellbeing, lower anxiety and depression, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships.
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, as well as for professionals who wish to integrate self-compassion into their work. Participating in a MSC program satisfies a prerequisite for becoming a MSC program teacher. Meditation experience is not necessary to participate in this 5-day MSC program for professionals. All are welcome!
Program activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. The goal is to provide a safe and supportive environment for exploring how we typically respond when difficult emotions arise and to provide tools for becoming a warm and supportive companion to ourselves. The emphasis of the program is on enhancing emotional resources and personal capacities. For more information on self-compassion, please see www.Self-Compassion.org and www.MindfulSelfCompassion.org
The MSC program is a journey—an adventure in self-discovery and self-kindness. Compassion has the paradoxical effect of both soothing and comforting as well as opening us to emotional distress that we may have been unconsciously holding inside, often for many years. Therefore, some difficult emotions are likely to surface during the program as we grow in our capacity to embrace and heal them. The teachers are committed to providing an environment of safety, support, privacy, individual responsibility, and a common commitment to developing compassion for oneself and others.
It is recommended, but not required, that participants read the following two books before the training retreat:
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer