Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an intensive training in an empirically-supported course designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. The course can be taught weekly or in a residential format as it is here. It is based on ground-breaking research by Kristin Neff, integrated with the clinical perspective 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, 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 clearly 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. And it’s easier than you think.
After participating in this course, you’ll be able 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
What to expect
Course activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. MSC is a workshop rather than a retreat. The goal is for participants to directly experience self-compassion and learn practices that evoke self-compassion in daily life.
MSC is a compassion-training course rather than mindfulness training like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), although mindfulness skills are taught as a foundation for self-compassion. MSC is also different from therapy insofar as the emphasis of MSC is on building emotional resources rather than addressing old wounds. Nonetheless, psychological healing may occur as we develop the capacity to be with our difficulties, and with ourselves, in a loving, compassionate way.
MSC is a journey that entails a variety of challenges. This is particularly true in the residential format of this training, as going through the whole course at once is a much more intense experience. Compassion has the effect of soothing and comforting us as it paradoxically opens us to emotional discomfort. While some difficult emotions may arise when practicing self-compassion, MSC teachers are committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for this process to unfold, and to make the journey interesting and enjoyable for everyone.