What it means to teach Mindful Self-Compassion
The foundation for teaching MSC is to embody the qualities of mindfulness and self-compassion and to have an ongoing, daily practice. Becoming an MSC teacher is a wholehearted endeavor and a rich experience for those who choose to embark on this path.
The teacher training pathway is designed for those who wish to teach the full 8-Week MSC course as well as those who would like to integrate mindfulness and self-compassion into 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.).
There are several prerequisites to meet before being accepted into the teacher training course and you are encouraged to carefully consider whether you meet these prerequisites before you apply.
Once accepted into the teacher training program, you will complete several steps to become a Trained MSC Teacher, eligible to teach the standard MSC course. After teaching a minimum of 3 MSC courses, you can apply to start the process of becoming a fully Certified MSC Teacher eligible to teach approved MSC adaptations, in addition to the standard MSC course.
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. Read about scholarships for people of color, historically marginalized and underserved communities.
Fulfilling the Required Prerequisites
The required prerequisites for taking the MSC Teacher Training course 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, 5-day Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive or 10-week Live Online MSC (LOMSC).
- Minimum 6-month gap required between completing MSC and starting Teacher Training.
- Attendance in a least one 5-day silent, teacher-led, mindfulness-based meditation retreat
- Experience teaching meditation in groups
- All the prerequisites are mandatory and no exemptions will be granted.
Becoming a Trained MSC Teacher
Teacher Training Course
Teacher Training course, in either the 6-Day Residential or 12-Week Live Online (LOTT) format.
Teacher Training Practicum
10-Week Teacher Training Practicum.
Group Consultation Sessions
10 Online Group Consultation Sessions while co-teaching your first MSC course
Now that you have fulfilled all of the Prerequisites, you can begin your journey at Step 1 of Becoming a Trained Teacher by registering and applying for the Teacher Training Course of your choice. Your application will be reviewed by the Teacher Trainers and upon approval you will be accepted into the program.
The Teacher Training Course is built around the eight weekly sessions of the standard 8-Week MSC course and is facilitated by a team of senior MSC Trainers, who will provide participants with the essential materials for teaching the standard 8-Week MSC Course.
The Teacher Training course is offered in two formats – residential and live online. Sessions include:
- Condensed, experiential review of each of the 8 MSC sessions
- “Teachback” sessions to practice teaching, guiding and facilitating discussion
- Short talks, group exercises, discussion and periods of silence
- Close consultation with the Teacher Trainers
Residential Teacher Training
Cost: $1695 (early bird) $1895 (standard) USD (not including room and board)
Residential Teacher Training is an intensive course held at a retreat venue. Staying on site is typically required to avoid disruption, enhance group cohesion and deepen the experience.
❖ 6 full days and 5 nights
❖ Start time is generally 3pm on day one and ends after lunch on day 6.
❖ Total contact time: 32 hours
❖ $300 non-refundable registration fee is included
❖ CEU credits may be available, please check individual course details
❖ Scholarships may be available, please check individual course details
Live Online Teacher Training
Cost: $2195 USD
Live Online Teacher Training provides a more intimate, personalized experience with more contact between trainees and trainers and more time to practice and process learning between sessions.
❖ 2 sessions per week over 12 weeks
❖ Training includes full participation in the entire MSC course over 10 weeks
❖ Sessions are generally 3 hours (MSC session) and 1.75 hours (teaching session) each week,
with a few exceptions.
❖ There is one week off mid-way through the course.
❖ Total contact time: 54.25 ( tbc)
❖ $300 non-refundable registration fee is included
❖ CEU credits are available
❖ Partial scholarship funding available.
Objectives of the Teacher Training Course
At the completion of this activity, participants should be able to:
- Develop and apply personal practice of responding to difficult emotions with mindfulness and compassion
- Describe current basic 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 and implement 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 to overcome them
- Practice and demonstrate a mindful embodied stance toward students of the MSC program as they confront challenges to their practice
Teacher Training Reading List
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.
- On Becoming a MSC Teacher: A Mountaineer’s Guide to Building the Resource of Mindful Self-Compassion by Christine Braehler, Steven D. Hickman, and Christopher Germer
- Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program: A Guide for Professionals by Christopher Germer & Kristin Neff
- The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive by Kristin Neff & Christopher Germer
- 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
Continuing Education Credits
This information pertains to Live Online Teacher Training only. If you are interested in CEUs for Residential Teacher Training please check with the host organisation directly.
Continuing Education Credits will be offered for US certified psychologists, therapists and nurses. (Please see the list below for details.)
In order to receive CE credits, you must attend all the Teacher Training Sessions. No credit is given for partial attendance. You will also need to fill out the online Evaluation after the training completes. CE Certificates will be emailed about a month after the program completes.
Continuing Education Credit for this program is provided by UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This course offers 32.0 hours of credit.
California licensed MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, LCSWs:
Continuing Education Credit for this program is provided by UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. 32.0 contact hours may be applied to your license renewal through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. For those licensed outside California, please check with your local licensing board to determine if APA accreditation meets their requirements.
UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP16351, for 38.25 contact hours.
Please submit the $75 USD fee when registering.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding CE credits.
Host Organizations & Teacher Trainers
MSC has been in development since 2010 and Teacher Training started in the USA and Europe in 2014. In addition to hosting MSC Teacher Trainings in the US and online, the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion coordinates teacher training programs around the world through a network of worldwide host organizations including:
Center for Mindfulness Studies in Canada
Arbor Seminars in Freiburg, Germany
Centrum for Mindfulness in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Sussex Mindfulness Centre in the UK
AEMind (Asociación Española de Mindfulness y Compasión) in Spain
Center for Mindfulness Sweden in Sweden
ADM (Association pour le Developpement de la Mindfulness) in France
Institute of Korean Meditation and Psychotherapy (IKMP) in Korea
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore
Hailan Family and Wellbeing in China
The TTP is step 2 of Becoming a Trained Teacher. It is an opportunity for a group of up to 16 teachers-in-training 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.
The TTP provides new teachers with a “laboratory” to find their own voices and to continue to practice what they learned during the Residential/ Live Online Teacher Training course, with time between each session to review, prepare and reflect on the process of teaching MSC. Once you have been accepted on the Teacher Training program, you will be provided with a link to register for the Teacher Training Practicum of your choice.
Cost: $995 USD (early-bird), $1095 (standard)
❖ 10 weekly sessions, 2.5 hours each
❖ Total contact time: 25 hours
❖ CEU credits are not available
❖ Choose from a range of dates once you are enrolled on a Teacher Training Program.
❖ Partial scholarship funding available
While co-teaching your first 8-week course, teachers-in-training must enroll in a series of ten, group consultation sessions. There are up to 6 teachers-in-training per session, facilitated by a Teacher Trainer or Senior MSC Teacher. Unlike the Teacher Training and the TTP where you are in the same cohort throughout, attendees in the consultation sessions will vary week-to-week and you can expect to hear from a variety of experiences and stages of teaching.
To be eligible to apply for Trained Teacher status after completing this step, the following is required:
➢ Your MSC course must have at least 8 registered participants.
➢ You must have a co-teacher or assistant, very few exceptions are granted.
➢ You should be co-teaching at least 50% of the course.
➢ Your course must follow the MSC curriculum and not be a modification or adaptation of the curriculum.
Cost: $400 USD ($275 for low-income countries)
❖ 10 weekly sessions, 1 hour each
❖ Total contact time: 10 hours
❖ CEU credits are NOT available
❖ Multiple slots offered weekly, sign up any time before or during your first teaching
Apply for Trained Teacher status
Once you have completed the Prerequisites and the 3 steps of Becoming a Trained Teacher, outlined above, you can apply for Trained MSC Teacher status. You will receive a certificate and be listed as a Trained Teacher on the MSC course directory.
Becoming a Certified MSC Teacher
Certification is verification of a teacher’s competence whereas the designation of Trained Teacher simply recognizes that a person has completed the MSC teacher trainings. Certification is highly recommended for those who continue to teach on an ongoing basis. While Trained and Certified Teachers can teach the standard MSC course, only Certified Teachers are eligible to teach approved adaptations such as MSC Intensives, Retreats and Core Skills workshops.
Fulfilling the Prerequisites
The prerequisites before starting your journey toward MSC Teacher Certification are:
- Attaining Trained MSC Teacher status
- Having taught at least 3 MSC courses in the standard 8-Week MSC format
- Having video footage of either session 4 or 5 of a recent MSC course
Once you have met the prerequisites you may start Step 1 of Becoming a Certified Teacher.
Collaborative Assessment with Mentor
Enroll in UCSD-MBPTI
Individual Mentorship while teaching MSC
Find a Mentor and Conduct the Collaborative Assessment
Start by contacting a Mentor and organizing the Collaborative Assessment. A list of MSC Mentors is provided on this page https://cih.ucsd.edu/mbpti/msc-mentorship
The Collaborative Assessment consists of 3 sessions:
- An orientation session with your Mentor
- Mentor reviews video on their own (see Prerequisites)
- Mentor and Mentee create a Mentorship Plan.
- The minimum duration of a Mentorship Plan is fourteen individual mentorship sessions, which includes at least three sessions for the Collaborative Assessment process, and at least eleven sessions over the course of teaching at least two MSC courses.
At this point a decision is made regarding the applicant’s readiness for certification and the formal mentorship plan is finalized and agreed upon.
Enroll in the Certification Program
Once you have completed your Collaborative Assessment and Mentorship Plan with your Mentor, the next step is to enroll with the University of California San Diego Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute (UCSD-MBPTI) at University of California San Diego (UCSD)
Individual Mentorship while teaching MSC
You are required to teach two consecutive MSC courses while meeting regularly with your Mentor to complete your Mentorship Plan. Mentees are expected to record all MSC classes during the mentorship process. The Mentorship Plan may include more sessions at the discretion of the Mentor.
Finalize your Certification
Upon completing these requirements, you will submit a formal letter of application for Teacher Certification to the UCSD-MBPTI Teacher Qualification and Certification Committee. Your Mentor will also submit a letter of recommendation at this time. Your request will be reviewed by the Committee and upon approval, you will be issued with a letter confirming you have satisfied all the necessary modules for Teacher Certification status and you will be awarded a certificate acknowledging your Certified MSC Teacher status.
Please note, MSC Teacher Certification is managed through the University of San Diego Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute (UCSD-MBPTI) . For more information please visit the UCSD website: https://cih.ucsd.edu/mindfulness/mbpti/mindful-self-compassion-msc-teacher-certification.
Estimated Training Fees
When considering the financial investment of becoming a Trained and/or Certified MSC Teacher, please bear in mind that there are costs associated with each step. An estimated breakdown of costs are outlined below. Note: All costs are listed in USD, so please check your conversion rate https://xe.com/currencyconverter/.
Becoming a Trained MSC Teacher
Prerequisites – costs vary depending on where and when you choose to complete these requirements.
Teacher Training Course – 6-Day Residential – $1695 or 12-Week Live Online – $2195
Teacher Training Practicum – $995/$1095
Group Consultation Sessions – $400
Total Estimated Cost: $3190 to $3965
*The cost of the Residential Teacher Training does not include room and board. $300 non-refundable registration fee is included with the Teacher Training Course (Residential or Live Online)
Becoming a Certified MSC Teacher
Prerequisites – You must first be a Trained Teacher in order to become a Certified MSC Teacher. Please see the costs associated with Becoming a Trained MSC Teacher above.
Individual Mentorship – 14 sessions (at $155 each), includes 3 sessions as part of the Collaborative Assessment – $2170.
More sessions may be recommended. Costs are determined by the Mentor and hourly rates may vary.
UCSD-MBPTI Enrollment & Mentorship Administration Fee – $340
Teacher Certification Review Fee – $500
Total Estimated Cost = $3010
Scholarships for MSC Teacher Training
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, CMSC offers a limited number of partial scholarships to attend the MSC Teacher Training Course and Teacher Training Practicum
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.
If you attend a Residential Teacher Training that is hosted by an organization other than CMSC, please visit the host’s course page. Scholarships are sometimes available to cover part of the tuition and/or accommodation fees, depending on the host venue.
We would like to support you as best we can so please reach out if you have any questions about scholarships and discounts available.
Ongoing Support & Resources
Once you start your training you will be welcomed into the global community of MSC teachers. You will receive a login to the Teacher Dashboard, a private members area of the CMSC website, where you can create a public teacher profile, list your courses on the course directory and access official resources and information for teachers. You will also be invited to the Teacher Café, an international online community space for teachers to share ideas, gain inspiration and support one another. If you are not based in the US and/or if you took MSC in a language other than English, you may be invited to join a teacher group hosted independently by teachers in your country.
In addition to the standard teacher training pathway, CMSC offers periodic trainings, workshops and events to help teachers stay connected, build community and develop their teaching skills. These offerings are communicated via the quarterly “Teacher Bulletin” newsletter and the Teacher Dashboard.
Continuing Professional Development
As a Trained MSC Teacher you are eligible to teach the 8-week MSC course. Trained Teachers who progress to Certified Teacher status are eligible to teach adaptations of MSC, including the MSC Intensive, the MSC Core Skills Workshop and MSC Silent Retreats.
Trained Teachers who are also health professionals may wish to undertake additional training to teach the Self-Compassion in Healthcare course (SCHC).
Upcoming Teacher Training Courses
September 13 – November 22, 2021
Mila De Koning and David Spound
Live Online en Español
September 29, 2021 – December 1, 2021
Luis Gregoris De La Fuente and Marta Alonso Maynar
October 5 – December 21, 2021
Mila De Koning and Ali Lambie
Nazareth University of Light
Sao Paulo Brazil
December 3 – December 9, 2021
Chris Germer, Luis Gregoris De La Fuente and Marta Alonso Maynar