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5 Day Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive, Sedona , AZ , United States

Chris Germer and Kristin Neff

March 15, 2020 - March 20, 2020

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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 and Kristin Neff, PhD, a pioneering researcher in the field of self-compassion. 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.

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 Objectives

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

  • Describe the theory and research supporting mindful self-compassion
  • Develop and apply self-compassion practices to motivate themselves with encouragement rather than self-criticism
  • Assess and manage difficult situations and emotions with greater moment-to-moment acceptance
  • Develop and apply self-compassion practices to respond to feelings of failure or inadequacy with self-kindness
  • Transform difficult relationships, old and new, through self-validation
  • Utilize the art of savoring and self-appreciation to overcome negative attention bias
  • Apply core mindfulness and self-compassion practices into daily life
  • Demonstrate 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.

There are a few things to carefully consider before signing up to attend an MSC Intensive program:

  • 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.
  • 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.


This event is a benefit for the non-profit Center for Mindful Self-Compassion,
which means that the teachers are donating all teaching fees to fund the operations of the organization.
ll proceeds support the mission of CMSC to make the world a more compassionate place.


This program is now Full. 

We are no longer taking names for the wait list, due to extensive interest in this program. We currently have over 100 names.



Venue and Schedule

This course is being managed by CMSC and held at the beautiful and peaceful Sedona Mago Retreat Center, which is remotely located outside of Sedona, Arizona.   Please see the Sedona Mago website for more information about the venue.  

Sedona Mago Retreat CenterSedona Mago landscape
3500 E Bill Gray Rd, 
Sedona, AZ 86336

The course begins with dinner at 5:30 pm on Sunday, March 15 and ends at approximately 12:00 pm on Friday, March 20.  

Approximate Course Times (subject to change):

Sunday : 7:00-8:30 pm 
Monday, Tuesday & Thursday:  8:30-12:00, 2:00-5:30  
Wednesday: 8:30-12:00 (afternoon free)
Friday:  8:30 – 12:00     

There may be optional evening programs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.      

This course will have approximately 100 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 CE credit is accepted.

Social Workers:  Approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886771645-1626) 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 CE credit. Please contact your local board to see if California CE credit is accepted.

Fees for CE hours: $75   (Please purchase when you register.)

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.  

Scholarships have all been awarded

      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, all meals and snacks, and accommodations. All fees are payable to the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion in USD. 


Early-bird tuition, materials, meals (before January 15, 2020): $845
Standard tuition, materials, meals (from January 15, 2020): $945


Sedona Mago provides both private and shared rooms. Shared rooms reflect a per person rate and private is single occupancy. If you wish to room together with a family member or friend, please select the shared room option. If you are coming alone and register for a shared room, we will assign you a roommate (of the same sex).  All rooms include private bathrooms.

Sedona Mago does not allow Commuter attendance, due to local County environmental impact laws. When you register please select one of the following options.

Shared Rooms:  $900 per person
Private Rooms:  $1150 per person

This event is a benefit for the non-profit Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, which means that the teachers are donating all teaching fees to fund the operations of the organization.



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 February 15, 2020 that you need to cancel your registration. 

No refunds are available after February 15, 2020, 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.



Christopher Germer, Ph.D., is a co-developer of the MSC program and a co-founder of the Center for MSC. He is the author of the popular book, The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, and co-author (with Kristin Neff) of the professional text, Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program, and a workbook, The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook. Chris is an MSC Teacher Trainer and leads MSC intensives and workshops around the world.

Chris is also a clinical psychologist and lecturer on psychiatry (part-time) at Harvard Medical School. Chris has been integrating the principles and practices of meditation into psychotherapy since 1978. He has co-edited two influential volumes –Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy – and he is a founding faculty member of both the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy and the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School. Chris maintains a small private practice in Arlington, Massachusetts, USA, specializing in mindfulness and compassion-based psychotherapy.


Kristin Neff, Ph.D., is co-founder of CMSC and co-developer of MSC. She is Associate Professor in the Educational Psychology Dept. at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, being the first person to operationally define and measure the construct.  She has published widely including numerous academic articles, book chapters and the popular book Self-Compassion:  The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.  She is also Associate Editor at the journal Mindfulness.  Kristin’s work has received extensive media coverage, including the New York Times, MSNBC, National Public Radio, Scientific American, and Psychology Today.  Kristin is an MSC teacher trainer, and leads MSC intensives and workshops around the world.




March 15, 2020
March 20, 2020


Sedona Mago Retreat
3500 Bill Gray Rd
Sedona, AZ 86336 United States
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