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

The first step of the teacher pathway is to complete the 6-day residential teacher training. This intensive 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 be granted Trained MSC Teacher status and teach the 8-week MSC course, you must also complete steps 2-4. 

Step 1: 6-Day Residential Teacher Training

Step 2: Teacher Training Practicum

Step 3: Teach first MSC course with Zoom Consultation

Step 4: Apply for Trained Teacher status

Step 1: Residential 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).

A list of all upcoming Residential Teacher Trainings courses across the globe can be viewed here

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
  • 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.
  • 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). 
  • Experience teaching meditation in groups

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.silent

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

Europe

Asia

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 Teacher Training Practicum is a ten-week, online journey providing opportunity for a group of 16  teachers-in-training to practice their new-found teaching skills in a safe, structured, online environment. Facilitated by two TTP Trainers, each week will focus on a single MSC session and the trainees will be assigned to lead the various practices, topics and exercises of that session, with periods of feedback and discussion, as well as opportunities to interact during the week online as a group. 

The practicum 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.

The cost of the  Teacher Training Practicum is $995 USD.

Upcoming Practicum Dates

Start DateDays and TimesTeacher TrainersLanguage
January 12, 2020Sundays 2100 UTCDawn MacDonald & Christine McMulkinEnglish
January 23, 2020Thursdays 1500 UTCAli Lambie & Marcia BurtonEnglish
February 4, 2020Tuesdays 2300 UTCBeth Mulligan & Megan PragerEnglish
March 3, 2020Tuesdays 1500 UTCDavid Spound & Elizabeth LinEnglish
March 31, 2020Tuesdays at 1530 UTCMila de Koning & Lorraine HobbsEnglish
April 30, 2020Mondays 2300 UTCTina Gibson & Anna FriisEnglish
October 21, 2020Wednesdays 0500 UTCRegula Saner & Martha SchwarzeGerman
October 21, 2020Wednesdays 1600 UTCChristine Braehler Inken DechowGerman

Step 3: Teach first MSC course with Zoom Consultation

Once teachers have successfully completed the residential teacher training course and the TTP, they can teach their first 8-week MSC with simultaneous enrollment in a series of ten, group consultation sessions. 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 MSC course independently.

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 residential training, the online practicum and the zoom consultation.

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

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

  1. 6-Day Residential Teacher Training – $1595 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. Scholarship details can usually be found on each individual course page.

Certification

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: https://mbpti.org/programs/msc/msc-teacher-qualification-and-certification/.

Upcoming Teacher Trainings

January 5 - January 11, 2020

1440 Multiversity
CA
United States


January 28 - February 5, 2020

Centrum Voor Mindfulness
Netherlands


February 7 - February 13, 2020

Institute of Korean Meditation and Psychotherapy
Korea, Republic Of


February 17 - February 22, 2020

Singapore
Singapore


April 5 - April 11, 2020

Elohee Center
GA
United States


"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!"