Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an empirically-supported training programme designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. Based on the groundbreaking research of Kristin Neff and the clinical expertise of Christopher Germer, MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult moments in their lives with kindness, care 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 our essential inter-relatedness, 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-hearted, connected presence.
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 unwittingly inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-isolation, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically ourselves.
Rapidly expanding research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships.
The course will support you in learning to:
Practice self-compassion in daily life
Understand the empirically-supported benefits of self-compassion
Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
Transform challenging relationships, old and new
Manage caregiver fatigue
Practice the art of savouring and self-appreciation
The course programme includes guided meditation practices, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. The goal is for participants to directly experience self-compassion and learn practices that evoke self-compassion in daily life.
MSC is primarily a compassion training programme rather than mindfulness training like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), although mindfulness is the foundation of self-compassion. MSC is also not psychotherapy insofar as the emphasis of MSC is on building emotional resources rather than addressing old wounds. Positive change occurs naturally as we develop the capacity to be with ourselves in a kinder, more compassionate way.
Some difficult emotions may arise when practicing self-compassion, and as your teacher I am committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for this process to unfold, and to making the journey interesting and enjoyable for everyone.
Some participants will likely have previously participated in an eight week mindfulness course so will be familiar with principles and with the experience of mindfulness practice – however this isn’t essential, so please do get in touch to discuss suitability if you haven’t done a mindfulness course first. Participants should plan to practice mindfulness and self-compassion for around 30 minutes per day. The course runs on Wednesday mornings from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm UK time.