What it means to be a teacher of MSC Teacher

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. There are several prerequisites to meet before being accepted onto the teacher training program and you are encouraged to carefully consider whether you meet these prerequisites before you apply.

The teacher training program 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.).

The Training Pathway

The teacher training program consists of four steps and you are required to complete each step in sequence if you wish to become an MSC teacher, to be listed in the CMSC teacher directory and be eligible to teach the standard 8-Week MSC course. Further opportunities for professional development and offering MSC adaptations are possible once teachers attain their Trained Teacher status.

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First Step

Fulfill the Prerequisites to be eligible to apply for Teacher Training.

Second Step

Teacher Training course, in either the 6-Day Residential or 12-Week Live Online Format.

Third Step

10-Week Teacher Training Practicum.

 

Fourth Step

10 Online Group Consultation Sessions during your first teaching experience.

Steps to becoming an MSC Teacher

* 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.

Steps to Becoming an MSC Teacher

Objectives of the Teacher Training Course

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
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.

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
Host Organizations & Teacher Trainers

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
Center for Mindfulness Studies in Canada

Europe
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

Asia
Institute of Korean Meditation and Psychotherapy (IKMP) in Korea
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore
Hailan Family and Wellbeing in China

Step 1

Attend Teacher Training course

Step 2

Attend 10-Week
Teacher Training Practicum

Step 3

Attend 10 Group Consultation Sessions, whilst co-teaching an MSC course as a Teacher-in-Training

Step 4

Apply for Trained Teacher status

Step 1.   Prerequisites

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, 5-day Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive or 10-week Live Online MSC (LOMSC). This is mandatory and no exemptions will be granted.
  • Minimum six-month gap required between completing MSC and starting Teacher Training. [dropdown: This gives you time to embody the practices of MSC and to reflect on whether embarking on the teaching training journey is the right path for you. However, you may register for teacher training at any time after you complete the MSC course].
  • Attendance in at least one 5-day silent, teacher-led, mindfulness-based meditation retreat.
  • Experience teaching meditation in groups

Once you have met the prerequisites you may register for the teacher training course of your choice. You are then invited to submit your application, including how you have met the prerequisites. This will then be reviewed by the teacher trainers and, once approved, you will be accepted into the program.

Objectives

Teaching Scope

As a Trained MSC Teacher you will be eligible to teach the 8-week course in-person. You can also take subsequent training in TSCO (if you want to teach online) and SCHC TT (if you want to teach SCHC). Options to teach MSC Intensives, Retreats and Core Skills workshops are not permitted for Trained teachers. Should you wish to teach in these formats, you would be required to work towards Certification (the next level of teacher training).

Ongoing Support & Resources

Once you start your training you will be welcomed into the global community of MSC teachers. The Teacher Café is an international online community space for teachers to share ideas, resources and support one another. Countries also have their own groups that you wil be invited to as a Trained Teacher. CMSC supports its teachers by offering….

Step 2.   Teacher Training Course

Duration / Format:      Residential – 6 Days  or  Live Online – 12 Weeks

The Teacher Training course is built around the eight weekly sessions of the MSC course and is facilitated by a team of senior MSC teachers. Participants are provided with the essential materials for teaching the standard 8-week course in person.

Upon completion, trainees will be eligible to join a Teacher Training Practicum (TTP), the third step in the pathway to becoming a Trained MSC Teacher. The ‘Teaching Self-Compassion Online” course (TSCO) is also requiredif they wish to teach MSC online.

The teacher Training course is offered in two formats – residental 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: $1595 USD approx. (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 help participants make the most of 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
❖ 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 

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)
❖ CEU credits are available
❖ Partial scholarships available. Apply in the application process after registration.

Step 3.   Teacher Training Practicum (TTP)

Duration / Format:      Live Online – 10 Weeks

TTP

The TTP 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 at the Residential/ Live Online Teacher Training, 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.

NOTE: The TTP has been a mandatory part of the Teacher Training Pathway since Jan of 2020. It will become mandatory for ALL Teacher Training graduates prior to January 2020, who have NOT begun teaching MSC, to take the TTP starting January 2022, at a 50% discount.

Summary:

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.
❖ Limited scholarship funding is available up to 25%

TSCO

This course is required if you plan on teaching MSC in an online format. There will be teach-backs, small and large group discussions, and feedback opportunities covering the topics of online presence, safety and connection, inquiry.

The training includes a Teaching Self-Compassion Online Teacher’s Companion Guide.

Summary:

Cost: $175 USD

❖ 2 sessions, 2 hours each
❖ Total contact time: 4 hours
❖ CEU credits are not available
❖ Choose from a range of dates once you are enrolled on a Teacher Training Program
❖ Scholarship funding is not available

Step 4: Group Online Consultation Sessions While Co-Teaching Your First MSC Course

Duration / Format:      Live Online – 10 Weeks

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 teachers can expect to hear from a variety of experiences and stages of teaching.

To be eligible for Trained Teacher status after completing this step, the following is required:
➢ Your MSC course must have at least 8 registered participants.
➢ 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.

Summary:

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
experience.

Apply for Trained Teacher status

Once you have completed the 3 components of the Teacher Training Program steps outlined above, you will be granted full Trained MSC Teacher status. You will receive a certificate, be listed as a Trained Teacher on the MSC teacher directory where you can advertise your courses, and be permitted to teach the 8-week, in-person MSC course independently.

Upcoming Teacher Trainings

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January

Centrum voor Mindfulness

Netherlands

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March

The Ammerdown Centre

United Kingdom

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April

Rolling Ridge Retreat Centre

United States

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June

Casa de Retiros Nossa Senhora Aparecida

Brazil

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July

Hotel Mennorode

Netherlands

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- Brad

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- Jessica

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- Tyler