Maintaining Consistency and Integrity of MSC

In the last 3 years, over 800 people have become Trained MSC Teachers and the program has been taught to tens of thousands of people around the world. Most of the momentum has been driven by word-of-mouth and the experience that “self-compassion works!”  The MSC program itself has been steadily refined over the past 7 years to be effective for the general public across cultures and our teachers have also found their own teaching voices to make the program fit local conditions and needs.

As MSC goes far and wide, we feel an obligation to our teachers and prospective students to help maintain the consistency and integrity of the program. Therefore, we wish to remind you that if you call your program “MSC,” that it must contain at least 85% of the content of the latest Teacher Guide (Sept 2017). Furthermore, the sessions should be 2 ¾ hours long, with a 15-minute break in the middle of the session, plus a ½ day retreat between sessions 5 and 7. Experienced teachers may teach each session in 2 ½ hours, but less than that probably means that below 85% of the program is included in the course or that the students are not given the time to reflect, savor and consolidate their learning.   

The 8-session format is considered the “standard format” for MSC.  Certified Teachers may teach more than 3 hours per day, such as in the Intensive MSC format. 

Please remember, that ONLY Certified MSC Teachers are authorized to teach intensive MSC programs (programs that involve more than one session of material in a week). Intensive programs require a great deal of familiarity and fluency with the MSC material, which is CMSC has this policy.

Many of our teachers have expertise in other areas and wish to bring MSC into their professional activities. We welcome those adaptations as we would like everyone to experience mindful self-compassion, but we ask that you only call the program “MSC” (or “Mindful Self-Compassion” in capital letters) if it contains 85% of the curriculum. If that is not the case, then please use another name for your program, such as “Self-Compassion for….” and credit Chris and Kristin in the usual manner for their intellectual property.


Your first course must take place in the “standard format” if you would like to get credit toward being a Trained MSC Teacher. If your first course is not in the standard format, you can still attend Zoom consultation sessions for support but you will need to do another standard format MSC course as a prerequisite for becoming a Trained MSC Teacher.

Certified MSC Teachers:  

You are welcome to create a formal adaptation of MSC for special populations, such as Karen Bluth and Lorraine Hobbs have done for young adults in their “Making Friends with Yourself” program. To qualify as a formal adaptation under the umbrella of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (CMSC), your program should be submitted for approval to CMSC and also have evidence-based research to support it. We at CMSC would be delighted to work with you to support these efforts to broaden the reach of MSC.

In the end, it is our hope and belief that this policy will make MSC even stronger and more readily identifiable, and that this will benefit all MSC teachers.



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