Teacher News

Guidelines for Permissions and Approval of Adaptations


March 11, 2019

The following guidelines are designed to facilitate widespread dissemination of the principles and practices of the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC™) program while maintaining the integrity and consistency of the program, the quality of teaching, and the intellectual property of Chris Germer and Kristin Neff (hereafter referred to as the Co-developers). These guidelines are becoming increasingly important as professionals (MSC-trained and untrained) integrate self-compassion training into their work and publish MSC-related training materials.

Copyright and Trademark

  • Copyright refers to the “tangible expression of ideas,” especially the words used in trainings and published materials describing the concepts and practices of the MSC™ program. Copyright laws are designed to protect intellectual property. Permission from Guilford Press is required to publish material from the MSC program.

For permission from Guilford Press, please go to https://www.guilford.com/permissions

  • Trademark refers to the “source” of a product, or branding. “MSC™” is a registered trademark in many parts of the world. Trademark laws are designed to protect the rights of developers and reduce confusion about a particular product. CMSC owns the MSC™ trademark and is responsible for maintaining the consistency and integrity of the MSC program and reducing confusion about what MSC™ signifies to the public. Therefore, approval by CMSC is required for all adaptations that have “MSC” in the title (i.e., subtitle).

For approval from CMSC, please email your request to steve@centerformsc.org


  • Permission refers to allowance given by the Co-developers to use material from the MSC program as well as permission by Guilford Press to publish material from the MSC workbook or professional textbook. Permission is a way of protecting copyrighted material.

Unpublished Matter

  • Individuals may distribute unpublished, printed or online material of up to 7 topics or practices (i.e., meditations, informal practices, exercises) from the MSC curriculum at workshops, trainings, on websites, etc. without requiring written permission from Guilford Press or the Co-developers. However, the source of those materials (the MSC workbook or professional textbook) should be appropriately cited. This guideline refers to practices that use “original” text from published MSC materials as well as materials “adapted from” the MSC curriculum.
  • Unpublished printed or online material containing 8 or more MSC practices requires permission from CMSC. For permission, please email steve@centerformsc.org This guideline insures that bulk use of MSC materials upholds the integrity of MSC. The published sources of unpublished material should always be correctly referenced.

Published Matter

  • Publishing any material from the MSC program (original or adapted) requires permission from the publisher of the workbook or the professional textbook (Guilford Press).
  • Publications that use 8 or more MSC practices (original text or “adapted from”) require permission from both Guilford Press and CMSC (as the holder of the trademark). Generally speaking, this is a simple process because Guilford Press and CMSC are happy to see MSC materials disseminated.

Use of MSC™ in Professional Activities

  • The co-developers of MSC heartily encourage professionals to use the concepts and practices of the MSC program in the context of their ongoing professional activities (e.g., teaching a course on parenting, mindfulness instruction to organizations, psychotherapy.) These are informal, unpublished, integrations of MSC into professional work.
  • Components of the MSC curriculum (topics, practices, exercises) used in these activities, such as in handouts or PowerPoint presentations) should be cited appropriately. Professionals can reference either the professional textbook, Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Training Program (Germer & Neff, 2019) or the workbook, The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook (Neff & Germer, 2018).

MSC™ Applications

  • An MSC “application” is an MSC program that contains 85% or more of the MSC curriculum. It is essentially a full MSC program with some minor changes (language, content) for specialized populations. An application may use the “MSC” in the main title of the program, such as “MSC for Men” or “MSC for Diabetes.” Trained MSC teachers with particular expertise or training should feel free to develop and teach MSC applications for specialized populations.
  • The Center for MSC (CMSC) is available to consult with developers who are unsure whether their application has 85% or more of the MSC curriculum. CMSC would like to be made aware of any interesting, new applications of MSC so we can advise, support, and possibly help disseminate these applications.
  • Developers of specialized applications must be at least Trained MSC Teachers. Research on specialized programs should only have Certified MSC Teachers teaching the program to insure a high standard of teaching competence.
  • Developers do not require permission or approval from CMSC to teach new applications of MSC unless they intend to publish their curriculum.

MSC™ Adaptations

Approval by CMSC

  • An MSC “adaptation” is a structured program that is recognizable by someone familiar with MSC as primarily derived from MSC™, it contains less than 85% of the MSC curriculum, and the adaptation has been approved by CMSC. An approved adaptation can use “MSC” in the subtitle of the program. For example, “Making Friends with Yourself: MSC for Teens” would be an approved adaptation.
  • It is not necessary to obtain approval from CMSC to create and disseminate a program using material from MSC™. Approval is only required if the developers of the adaptation want their program to be considered an official adaptation of MSC and use “MSC” in the subtitle. However, permission is still required if 8 or more practices are used, or adapted from, the MSC curriculum. Receiving permission from CMSC is a relatively easy process since the mission of CMSC is to support the dissemination of MSC in diverse contexts and populations.
  • Nonetheless, developers of an adapted program are strongly encouraged to submit their program to CMSC for “approved” status. When an adaptation is approved by CMSC, it can be advertised as “an adaptation of the Mindful Self-Compassion program approved by the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion” and listed on the CMSC website.
  • To receive CMSC approval for an adaptation of MSC™, or permission to use 8 or more MSC practices in your adaptation, please submit your adapted curriculum to Steve Hickman, PsyD at steve@centerformsc.org

Criteria for Approval

  • An official adaptation may either be shorter or longer than the standard MSC program. The MSC curriculum contains 7 meditations, 20 informal practices, 14 class exercises, and 34 didactic topics, and consists of 24 hours of classroom activity.
  • Approval by the CMSC Adaptation Committee depends on fidelity of the adaptation to the MSC curriculum. For example, a 6-hour adaptation for a specialized population (e.g., healthcare workers, business leaders) which draws over 90% of its content from MSC is likely to receive approval from CMSC. By comparison, a 24-hour program that is equal parts yoga, hypnosis and MSC is unlikely to receive approval as an adaptation. CMSC will probably offer permission to use MSC material in such an adapted program, but “approval” status is reserved for programs that are distinctly MSC related.


  • Sponsorship refers to adaptations and applications for which CMSC has agreed to support the development and training of teachers as well as other activities of dissemination and ongoing support. Teachers of sponsored programs are formally trained as MSC teachers and subsequently take additional training (online or in-person) in the specific adaptation or application.
  • Applications and adaptations are considered for sponsorship by the CMSC when the developers are Certified MSC Teachers, the program is supported by empirical outcome research, and there is an established cadre of Trained MSC teachers who are committed to sustaining and developing the program into the future.

MSC Teacher Training and Online Training

  • CMSC is the only organization with the right to organize MSC™ Teacher Trainings. CMSC has carefully selected organizations in a variety of countries to host Teacher Trainings and we maintain close contractual collaborative relationships with those organizations to provide high quality, integrated training opportunities for all current and future MSC teachers. CMSC has complete authority and responsibility for the content of Teacher Trainings, while the hosts are responsible for the logistics of the trainings.
  • CMSC also retains the right to be the sole purveyor of online MSC™ training. For now, online training is a key source of revenue that allows CMSC to continue to function as a non-profit organization. Individuals or organizations that would like to provide online MSC training are invited to contact CMSC to discuss the options.