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Presence and Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy

Chris Germer and Shari Geller

February 5, 2021 - February 6, 2021

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Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels

Join Chris and Shari for a 2-day workshop on self-compassion and therapeutic presence. This workshop will offer clinicians core skills and practices to cultivate presence and self-compassion as a foundation for therapeutic relationships, self care and to teach to clients.This workshop is open to all healthcare professionals and educators, including students. Meditation experience is not required to participate in this program.

Therapeutic presence (TP) lies at the heart of a positive treatment alliance. When practicing therapeutic presence, clinicians use their whole self— physically, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually—to be receptively attuned and deeply engaged with the client, moment-by-moment. TP provides a neurophysiological sense of safety in clients that allows them to be seen, heard, understood, and “feel felt.”

Self-compassion (MSC) involves the capacity to comfort and soothe ourselves, and to motivate ourselves with encouragement, when we struggle, fail, or feel inadequate. It is a key resource that enables clinicians to be fully present and attuned with clients. Burgeoning research shows that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, lower levels of anxiety and depression, coping with life challenges, healthy habits like diet and exercise, and more satisfying relationships.

TP and MSC are trans-theoretical mechanisms of change in psychotherapy and the emotional heart of mindfulness when we meet suffering. Self-compassion is a part of presence, and yet strengthens presence. Both therapeutic presence and self-compassion are powerful resources for clinicians to maintain emotional balance in the midst of challenging clinical work, to enjoy their work and their clients more fully, and to prevent caregiver fatigue.

Since presence and self-compassion need to be directly experienced to be understood, this workshop will be largely experiential, including meditation, musical rhythm, imagery, and creative exercises. It will also contain short lectures, class exercises, videos, poetry, and group discussion. Participants will receive instructions to a wide variety of practices that can be practiced at home, and also taught to clients, students, and trainees.


February 5, 2021
February 6, 2021