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5-Day Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive, Big Sur , CA , United States

Kristin Neff and

December 10, 2016 - December 16, 2016

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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—to acknowledge our shortcomings, learn from them, and make necessary changes with an attitude of kindness and self-respect.

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

We are now at capacity for this Intensive. 

What to Expect

In MSC you’ll learn to:

• Practice mindfulness and self-compassion in daily life
• Understand the science of self-compassion
• Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
• Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
• Transform challenging relationships, old and new
• Manage caregiver fatigue
• Practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation
• Teach simple self-compassion skills to others

This program is designed for members of the general public. 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, some difficult emotions are likely to surface during the program as we grow in our capacity to embrace and heal them. MSC teachers are committed to providing an environment of safety, support, privacy, individual responsibility, and a common commitment to developing compassion for oneself and others.

MSC is therapeutic but it’s not therapy. The emphasis of the program is on enhancing emotional resources to meet emotional challenges, old and new. MSC is also not primarily a type of mindfulness training; MSC is mindfulness-based compassion training in which the quality of warmth is emphasized more than awareness itself.

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).

Venue and Schedule

This course is being managed by CMSC and held at the beautiful Esalen Institute at Big Sur, California. Please see this page for information about visiting Esalen, including how to get there, check in/out times, what to bring and other important information.

The course begins after dinner on Sunday December 11, 2016 and ends by 11:30pm on Friday December 16, 2016. The schedule for the program will be as follows:

Sunday 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Monday – Thursday 9:30 am – 12:45 pm
Monday – Thursday  3:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Friday 9:30 am – 11:30 am

This course will have 100+ participants.

We are now at capacity for this Intensive. 

Continuing Education and Scholarships

24 Continuing Education credits are available for some professions. Please see this page of the Esalen website for CE information.

A limited number of scholarships are available for the tuition portion of this course. Please emailevents@centerformsc.org to ask about scholarships.

Recommended reading:

Program fees:

Earlybird tuition and materials (before October 1, 2016): $795

Standard tuition and materials (from October 1, 2016, onward): $895

Please note these fees are for tuition and materials only. Once you register and pay for tuition and materials, you will be given a passcode that you can use when contacting Esalen Institute to register and pay for accommodation and meals. You will not be able to register for accommodation and meals without this passcode. You can find information about Esalen accommodation and meals prices here.

We are now at capacity for this Intensive. 

Cancellation policy:

Your fee will be refunded if we are notified before October 1, 2016, that you need to cancel your registration. PayPal takes a non-refundable fee 2 months after a payment is made, so if you cancel 2 months (or more) after your original payment, and before October 1, 2016, we will refund your original fee minus PayPal’s fee (around 3-4%).

A $50 service fee will be retained if you cancel between October 1 and November 27, 2016.

No refunds are available after November 27, 2016 except on compassionate grounds.

Please note that this cancellation policy relates only to the tuition payment. Please contact Esalen to find out about their accommodation and meals cancellation policy for partner programs.


Esalen Institute
55000 California 1
Big Sur, CA 93920 United States
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We are at capacity for this Intensive, and are no longer taking names for the wait list. Please see our other CMSC managed Intensives: Sedona Mago in Arizona in March and 1440 Multiversity in California in June. Please email events@centerformsc.org for more information.

Our events are listed on Eventslist.org