Becoming an MSC Teacher

Becoming an MSC Teacher

The foundation for teaching MSC is to embody the qualities of mindfulness and self-compassion and to have an ongoing, daily practice. MSC teachers are often deeply moved by the transformation of their participants and honored to share in this transformation. Some say teaching self-compassion makes their personal practice even deeper and more meaningful and feels like a natural extension of self-compassion into the world.

CMSC supports prospective teachers in every step of their journey to becoming a Trained or Certified Teacher, more details of which are given below.

The Teacher Training Pathway

After you have attended the MSC Course in either the 8-Week, 5-Day Intensive, or Live Online MSC versions, you can begin your Teacher Training Pathway journey. (Please see Participation Requirements below for full prerequisites to attending a Teacher Training.) 

The first step of the teacher pathway is to complete the 6-day residential or 12-week online teacher training course. This training is intended for those who wish to teach the MSC program, those who would like to integrate mindfulness and self-compassion in their ongoing professional activities (i.e., psychotherapy, coaching, nursing, teaching, etc.) and individuals who have a professional interest in the field (i.e., researchers, administrators, etc.). 

If you wish to become a Trained MSC Teacher to be able to teach the 8-week, in-person MSC course, you must also complete steps 2-4. 

Step 1: 6-Day Residential or 12-Week Online Teacher Training

Step 2: Teacher Training Practicum

Step 3: Co-Teach first MSC course with Zoom Consultation

Step 4: Apply for Trained Teacher status

Step 1: Residential or Online Teacher Training  

The Residential Teacher Training is an intensive, 6-day, in-person course facilitated by a team of senior MSC teachers. The training is built around the eight weekly sessions of MSC with each half day dedicated to a condensed, experiential review of one of the sessions, followed by small group activities designed to give attendees opportunities to practice teaching, guiding and facilitating discussion in that session with the close consultation of one of the Teacher Trainers. In addition, the training includes short talks, group exercises, discussion and periods of silence. Participants will be provided with the essential materials to teach the standard 8-week MSC course.

Typical registration fee is $1595 USD (not including room and board).

The Online Teacher Training is run over an extended 12-week period. It contains all the same elements as the residential training and, additionally, includes the full MSC course. There are two online sessions per week: one MSC session that is 3 hours, one “teachback” session that is usually 1.75 hours duration.

The registration fee for the online program is $2195.

Click here to view all upcoming Residential and Online Teacher Training courses.  


The standard pre-requisites for taking the MSC Teacher Training are:

  • Established daily mindfulness practice of at least two years
  • Ongoing, daily, sitting meditation practice
  • Ongoing practice of loving-kindness and self-compassion in daily life
  • Previous participation in an 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) course or 5-day Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive. (Live Online MSC does not typically counted as a substitute for an in-person course).*
  • Attendance in at least one 5-day silent, teacher-led, mindfulness-based meditation retreat. Some MSC silent retreats are listed here, however the retreat does not need to be MSC-based in order to meet the requirement.*
  • Experience teaching meditation in groups
  • *Due to the pandemic, we are now permitting Live Online MSC and other online versions of the standard 8-week course, to count as a valid pre-requisites. Certain online silent retreats, run by well-established retreat centers and reputable teachers may also count toward the silent retreat pre-requisite, subject to the discretion of the Center for MSC. 

Please Note:

  • You must allow at least 6 months to elapse between completing your MSC course and beginning Teacher Training.  This will allow you to reflect on whether you really want to begin the teaching journey and give you time to embody the practices of MSC. However, you may register for teacher training at any time after you complete the MSC course.
  • Other mindfulness-based training programs do not count as a substitute for the standard MSC course pre-requisite.
  • You do not have to be a mental health clinician to take the MSC Teacher Training

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

  • Deepen one’s personal practice of responding to difficult emotions with mindfulness and compassion
  • Understand the current theory and research on self-compassion
  • Identify the core themes and practices presented in each of the eight group sessions of MSC, plus the retreat day
  • Develop the skills necessary to facilitate MSC groups, including how to guide meditation, teach from each participant’s direct experience and facilitate group cohesion
  • Identify obstacles to mindful self-compassion practice and strategies for overcoming them
  • Embody a mindful and compassionate stance toward students of the MSC program as they confront challenges to their practice

Required Reading

The following article and books are required references for all MSC teachers, but it is not necessary to read them all before coming to Teacher Training. 

Recommended Reading
  • Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
  • The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions by Christopher Germer
  • Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing by David Treleaven
  • Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy by Christopher Germer and Ronald Siegel
  • Mindfulness and Psychotherapy – Second Edition by Christopher Germer, Ronald Siegel and Paul Fulton
  • The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert
  • The Mindfulness Solution by Ronald Siegel
  • Self-Compassion: Step by Step. CD set by Kristin Neff

MSC has been in development since 2010 and Teacher Training started in the USA and Europe in 2014. The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion hosts MSC Teacher Training in the US and oversees teacher training through a network of worldwide host organizations including:

North America




Institute of Korean Meditation and Psychotherapy (IKMP) in Korea

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore

Hailan Family and Wellbeing in China

MSC Teacher Trainers

MSC Teacher Training is coordinated by CMSC Executive Director and Director of Professional Training, Steven Hickman, in collaboration with program developers Chris Germer and Kristin Neff. The MSC teacher training team also includes a number of other highly experienced, skilled and talented Teacher Trainers.

Step 2: Teacher Training Practicum (TTP)

The TTP is a ten-week, online journey for a group of up to 16 teachers  to practice their new-found teaching skills in a safe, structured, online environment facilitated by two Certified MSC Teachers/TTP Trainers. Each week focuses on a single MSC session and all trainees come prepared to teach each session, and are then assigned to lead the various practices, topics and exercises of that session, with periods of feedback and discussion. There is also opportunity to connect beyond the weekly sessions and build a sense of community among teachers.

The TTP provides new teachers with a “laboratory” to find their own voices and to continue to practice what they learned at the Residential Teacher Training, with time between each session to review, prepare and reflect on the process of teaching MSC. The cohort model allows participants the unique opportunity to build an environment of safety and support among colleagues as a source of encouragement and assistance long after the practicum ends.

Once you have been accepted on the Teacher Training program, you will be provided with a link to register for your Teacher Training Practicum. Each weekly session is 2.5 hours duration.

The cost of the  Teacher Training Practicum is $995 USD (early-bird fee), $1095 (standard  fee).

Limited scholarship funding is available.

Step 3: Co-Teach first MSC course with Zoom Consultation

Once teachers have successfully completed the 6-day residential or 12-week online teacher training course and the TTP, they can co-teach their first 8-week MSC course, with simultaneous enrollment in a series of ten, group consultation sessions. (This course may be online if the new teacher completes the Teaching Self-Compassion Online course and if they are co-teaching with a fellow MSC Teacher-in-Training, Trained, or Certified Teacher). The consultations are conducted online, via Zoom and offer a rich opportunity for guidance and support during your first teaching experience. There are up to 6 teachers-in-training present in each session, facilitated by a Teacher Trainer or Senior MSC Teacher.

The cost of Zoom Consultation is $400 USD. 

To be eligible for Trained Teacher status at the end of your first teaching/ Zoom consultation experience, please ensure you meet the following requirements:

  • Your MSC course must have at least 8 registered participants. 
  • You should have a co-teacher and be teaching at least 50% of the course. If no co-teacher is available you should be supported by a General Assistant or Mental Health Assistant.
  • Your course must follow the MSC curriculum and not be a modification or adaptation of the curriculum.

Step 4: Apply for Trained Teacher status

Once you have completed the steps outlined above, you will be awarded Trained Teacher status. You will receive a Trained Teacher certificate, be listed as a Trained Teacher on the MSC teacher directory and be permitted to teach the 8-week, in-person MSC course independently.

Supporting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion welcomes applications from people from diverse backgrounds and is committed to creating diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in all of its training programs.

Recognizing the societal importance of self-compassion training and the financial realities that many prospective teachers, especially people from diverse and historically underserved communities may face, we offer a limited number of partial scholarships to attend MSC Teacher Training.

If you identify as a person of color, are a member of historically marginalized or underserved communities, or wish to actively serve these populations and communities, and would like to request a partial scholarship,  please state this explicitly (and in some detail) on your application form and we will do our best to support you. 

Costs of Becoming a Trained MSC Teacher

When considering the financial investment of becoming a trained MSC teacher, please bear in mind that there are costs associated with each of the three training stages – the teacher training course, the practicum and the consultation sessions.

You may also want to consider additional costs of meeting the standard pre-requisites before being accepted onto the program, such as attending a silent retreat. 

An estimated breakdown of costs of the teacher training pathway are outlined below:

  1. 6-Day Residential Teacher Training / 12-Week Online Teacher Training – $1595* / $2195 USD
  2. Teacher Training Practicum – $995 USD
  3. Zoom Consultation – $400 USD

*The cost of the Residential Teacher Training does not include room and board.

Scholarships are sometimes available to cover part of the tuition and/or accommodation fees, and can be applied for on the MSC Teacher Training Application after registration. 


Certification is verification of a teacher’s competence whereas the designation of Trained Teacher simply recognizes that a person has completed the requisite training activities. Certification is highly recommended for those who continue to teach on an ongoing basis or wish to teach MSC Intensives or other adaptations. 

Trained MSC teachers are eligible to START the pathway towards certification after teaching at least 3 MSC courses, wherein they can do the Collaborative Assessment with an approved MSC Mentor/Teacher Trainer. The process then entails a minimum of 14 hours of individual mentorship over the course of teaching at least two more MSC courses.

More information is outlined on the UCSD website here:

Upcoming Teacher Trainings

April 3 - April 9, 2022

Rolling Ridge Retreat Center
United States

June 25 - July 1, 2022

Hotel Mennorode

"The MSC trainings have softened my inner critic and strengthened my inner champion. I am less anxious about imperfection, and celebrate vulnerability as a strength to meet challenges with courage, to deepen my capacity for joy. The best part is I get to embody it and humbly offer it to others as an MSC Teacher!"