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Ultimate Courage: Self-Compassion Training Workshop for Men, San Diego, United States

Steve Hickman and David Spound

February 16, 2018 - February 18, 2018

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Teachers: Steven Hickman, Daniel Ellenberg and David Spound

What does it take for a man to be successful in this day and age?

How do you navigate through the changing demands of life and keep fulfilling the expectations of your roles?

Men are expected to be strong, confident, productive and protective. What happens when you don’t meet these expectations? Let’s face it, it can be challenging to be a man in our society today.

Men today face a unique and daunting challenge to find a satisfying and comfortable way through the evolving roles, changing demands and shifting standards of modern life. Traditional notions of masculinity, such as maintaining a “stiff upper lip” or keeping emotions “close to the vest” no longer serve most men. In fact, those notions have become a perfect recipe for shame, anxiety, and feelings of alienation. These challenges can lead to relationship problems, workplace difficulties, substance abuse, anger and depression.

Thankfully, science is validating a better way of meeting these challenges. This approach combines knowledge from ancient wisdom traditions, modern neuroscience and psychological research. We are learning that the most resilient, successful, and emotionally intelligent men are the ones who can face adversity and challenge with an open heart and a self-compassionate nature, rather than a rigid or self-critical one. Fortunately, research and practice shows that self-compassion is a skill that can be taught and learned.

Developing our capacity to be self-compassionate seems like the opposite of how most of us learned to be masculine or manly, but nothing could be further from the truth. It takes courage to challenge traditional male role attitudes and behaviors—to step outside the male box, evaluate how well those behaviors are serving you, and create a different relationship with yourself and others.

Think of someone who had a significant positive influence on you growing up; perhaps a coach or teacher who seemed to be able to bring out the best in you. More often than not, this person had high but reasonable expectations for you, challenged you to do your very best, cheered you on when you succeeded, consoled you when you fell short, but never gave up on you—and always seemed to know that you were capable of more and better. What if you could be your own inner coach or wise teacher?

Groundbreaking research has established that the practice of self-compassion, while not at first seeming to be valuable or important, actually helps men go through and beyond old roles and find a new powerful voice and quiet confidence. This research has demonstrated that people higher in self-compassion tend to be able to persist and achieve more in the face of adversity; cope better with challenges like divorce, trauma or chronic pain; are able to change troubling and unhealthy habits and behaviors more easily; and are perceived more positively by their partners.

In this workshop, we will discover how:

  • Experiencing our common humanity, as men and simply as humans, helps us overcome feelings of failure, isolation, or not fitting in
  • Finding a middle path between the extremes of harsh self-criticism and complete surrender can actually result in greater happiness, life satisfaction, and personal and professional achievement
  • Developing a kind inner voice, an inner ally, can actually motivate and encourage us more than any self-criticism ever could
  • The empirically-validated practice of mindfulness can help us develop a more productive and comfortable relationship with our thoughts and emotions
  • Our journey will include a variety of different action-oriented practices as well as meditation and group dialogue intended to develop the resource of self-compassion and resilience.
  • Come join a group of men all inspired to challenge archaic limitations and set forth on a powerful, spirited path.

Program Trainers

Daniel Ellenberg, PhD, is a leadership coach, licensed therapist, seminar leader, and group facilitator. He is a principle in both Rewire Leadership Institute and Relationships That Work. He leads Strength with Heart men’s groups and seminars and is a founding member of the Men’s Counseling Guild. He has been leading weekly men’s groups for over 30 years and wrote his dissertation on psychological aspects of the male sex role. He is a board member of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and co-author of Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership. He co-created and delivered a resilience training program for several NASA space centers.

Steven Hickman, PsyD
is a clinical psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor in the UC San Diego Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine & Public Health. He is the founder and Executive Director of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness and the Director of Professional Training for the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. Dr. Hickman teaches Mindful Self-Compassion around the world and trains teachers in the program, in addition to speaking and teaching on the topic of mindfulness-based programs. Steve is particularly interested in supporting men in developing greater self-compassion and mindfulness and is involved in projects to develop these capacities in Olympic-class athletes, first-responders and active duty military.

David Spound, M.Ed., is a meditation teacher and consultant based in Northampton, MA. where he offers courses including Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) through his company Valley Mindfulness (www.valleymindfulness.com). David also enjoys creating new and customized training programs, leading silent meditation retreats, and exploring possibilities for online education and training. David is a former staff member and trainer at the UMass Center for Mindfulness, the organization founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and he has co-led programs for the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion.



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

  • Briefly describe the theory and research supporting the practice of self-compassion
  • Motivate themselves with encouragement rather than self-criticism
  • Relate to difficult emotions with greater moment-to-moment acceptance
  • Respond to feelings of failure or inadequacy with self-kindness
  • Begin to transform difficult relationships, old and new, through greater understanding and self-validation
  • Develop the ability to integrate core practices into daily life
  • Most importantly, this self-compassion is about working less, not more – letting go of the ways that we unnecessarily and invisibly complicate our lives.

Target Audience

This workshop is intended for men of any background, although participants who wish to integrate mindfulness and self-compassion into the workplace are also encouraged to participate and will be supported in that effort.


Program activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. The goal is to provide a safe and supportive environment for exploring how we typically respond when difficult emotions arise and to provide tools for becoming a warm and supportive companion to ourselves. The emphasis of the program is on enhancing emotional resources and personal capacities. For more information on self-compassion, please see www.Self-Compassion.org and www.MindfulSelfCompassion.org

Participant Guidelines

This workshop is intended to begin or continue a journey—an adventure in self-discovery and self-kindness. Compassion has the paradoxical effect of both soothing and comforting as well as opening us to emotional distress 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. The teachers are committed to providing an environment of safety, support, privacy, individual responsibility, and a common commitment to developing compassion for oneself and others.

It is recommended, but not required, that participants read the following two books before the training retreat:

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff

Course is Full.


Day 1  – Friday, Feb 16:  1:00-6:30 

Day 2 – Saturday, February 17:  9:00-12:30, 2:00-6:30

Day 3 – Sunday, February 18:  9:00-12;30, 2:00-4:00


UCSD Center for Mindfulness
5060 Shoreham Place, Suite 330
San Diego, CA 92122 United States



  • Early Bird Tuition – through January 15, 2018:  $695.00
  • Standard Tuition – after January 15, 2018:  $745.00

$100 non-refundable deposit due at registration.

Fees include breakfast and lunch each day

Course is Full


Cancellation Policy

There is a $100 nonrefundable minimum payment due upon registration.

Your payment (less the $100 nonrefundable fee) will be refunded if we are notified before January 15, 2018, that you need to cancel your registration.

No refunds are available after January 15, 2018, except on compassionate grounds.

In the unlikely event that the workshop is canceled, Center for Mindful Self-Compassion is responsible only for a full refund of the registration fee and not for transportation, hotel accommodations or any miscellaneous fees.


February 16, 2018
February 18, 2018


UCSD Center for Mindfulness
5060 Shoreham Place, Suite 330
San Diego, CA 92122 United States
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