MFY: Making Friends with Yourself: A Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens & Young Adults Teacher Training

“At long last, a self-compassion training for teens! This delightful, innovative program captures the essence of self-compassion for an age group that needs it the most. Wholeheartedly recommended!” – Christopher Germer, Ph.D.

March 20-24, 2017 •  Whidbey Institute, Clinton, WA
Faculty: Lorraine Hobbs, MA and Karen Bluth, Ph.D.

Registration & Fees

mfy_image2Making Friends With Yourself (MFY)
is an empirically-supported 8-week program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion in teens. MFY teaches core principles and practices that enable teens to respond to the challenges of these critical years with kindness and self-compassion.

Adolescence is a time of change and growth. It is the period of life reserved for rebellion and self-discovery, but as the demands in life increase for teens, this time is often fraught with confusion, anxiety or depression. For many teens these challenges lead to disconnection and isolation.

This course, Making Friends with Yourself (, is designed to facilitate awareness, self-kindness and an understanding of our common humanity in response to these growing challenges. Through developmentally appropriate activities and carefully crafted practices and meditations, teens have an opportunity to learn how to navigate the emotional ups and downs of life with greater ease. This course creates an opportunity for adolescents to construct a healthier world-view and gives rise to greater compassion and empathy toward self and others. In a preliminary research study, this program demonstrated a significant decrease in depression, anxiety, perceived stress and negative mood.

“So like stressful situations and stuff happens. Or tests or skating competition or whatever. I’m able to handle it more easily and more quickly, and able to, I don’t know, to calm myself down and put it into perspective.” – Teen participant

Following in the footsteps of the adult MSC program, MFY is rooted in the three key components of self-compassion: self-kindness, common humanity and mindful, balanced awareness. These elements serve to open the hearts of teens to their own suffering, so they can learn to give themselves what they truly need, recognize that they are not alone in their suffering, and encourage an open-minded acceptance of the struggle they are facing.

Self-compassion can be learned by teens suffering from any kind of emotional, physical or psychological affliction. It’s a courageous attitude that stands up to harm, including the harm that is self-inflicted through self-criticism, self-denial, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing teens to begin to be kinder to themselves amidst their suffering.

“It’s cool to see after we took [the class] how much life in general has improved, like not necessarily the situations, but the ways I can handled it. This is so important, so I’m going to take it again and then maybe make it even better.” – Teen participant

This curriculum was adapted from the adult Mindful Self-Compassion created by Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, and has been endorsed by the founders.

Teacher Training

MFY Teacher Training is an intensive, 5-day program facilitated by the creators of the program, Lorraine Hobbs, MA and Karen Bluth, PhD. The training is built around the eight weekly sessions, followed by small group activities designed to give attendees opportunities to practice teaching, guiding and facilitating discussion of that session with the close consultation of the teacher trainers. In addition, the training includes short talks, group exercises, and a discussion on current research findings. An essential part of the training also includes a family orientation session, which helps prepare participants to work with potential resistance and anxiety in teens and to help parents encourage their teen to be proactive in the course by taking responsibility for their daily practices. This intervention can help prevent the daily practice from becoming a potential battleground between a parent and teen. Participants will be provided with the essential materials to teach MFY.


At the completion of this course, participants are able to:

  • Identify the core themes and practices presented in each of the eight sessions of MFY
  • Understand the rationale for the modifications made from the adult MSC program
  • Describe different ways of involving parents so that they can appropriately engage and support their teens in their practice
  • Identify obstacles for teens to learning mindful self-compassion practice and strategies for overcoming these obstacles
  • Deepen one’s understanding of key elements in teaching mindfulness and self-compassion practice to teens
  • Summarize current research on self-compassion with teens.

Target Audience

This 5-day intensive is intended for those who wish to teach the MFY program in an educational or clinical setting.

Participant Requirements

The prerequisites for taking the MFY Teacher Training are:

  • Established daily mindfulness and self-compassion practice
  • Completion of MSC Teacher Training
  • Experience working with teens in an educational or clinical setting.

From participants of our teacher training in San Diego in April, 2016:
“Words cannot express the gratitude I feel as I begin to settle into this new, wide world of self-compassion for teens. Lorraine Hobbs and Karen Bluth wove together their two worlds to create a program that is fun, informative, engaging and transformative.” Celedra Gildea
“I, too, was one of the fortunate ones to be participate in the first teacher training of Making Friends with Yourself (MFY). It was an absolute gift to see the beautiful sequencing of this material, as well as the heartfelt incorporation of so many of the key components of MSC. Karen and Lorraine’s work on this program demonstrate an exquisite example of development of curriculum for a new population… I was touched to see the beautiful duo of Karen and Lorraine, as co-teachers/trainers they modeled genuine love and respect for each other and a deep trust and knowledge of the material. It is an exciting and hopeful time for MFY.” Michelle Bobowick

Please Note:

  • The design and structure of the MFY Teacher Certification pathway is currently underway. If you plan on pursuing MFY certification, please refer to the guidelines for MSC trained teachers, with the provision that there will be changes appropriate to the MFY teacher training.
  • You do not have to be a mental health clinician to take the MFY Teacher Training, but it is very important to have had clinical or educational experience with teens.
  • Upon completion of the MFY Teacher Training, participants receive a Certificate of Attendance from the UCSD Center for Mindfulness Professional Training Institute stating that he or she has attended the MFY TT in its entirety and can begin to teach MFY as a Teacher Trainee.

mfy_image1Trained Teacher Designation

The purpose of the 5-day Teacher Training is to establish a basic level of training and proficiency sufficient to begin offering the program to the general public. To receive MFY Trained Teacher status, graduates of the Teacher Training are also expected to receive consultation while teaching at least one 8-week MFY program, either by co-facilitating with a certified MFY teacher or through online group consultation offered through the UCSD Center for Mindfulness Professional Training Institute. All Trained Teachers are eligible to be listed on the Center for MSC website in a directory of Trained Teachers and the Making Friends With Yourself website.

Teaching MFY

The MFY program is ideally led by two instructors, particularly if the size of the group is 12 or over. This model enables one instructor to monitor the emotional needs of individual participants while the other is teaching. When teens struggle, they tend to resist in the form of isolation, withdrawal, non-attendance or an attitude of non-compliance. These behaviors or attitudes can reflect a natural coping style that can be worked with through the process of inquiry. We know that self-compassion can activate strong emotions, and it is important for teachers to be able to hold a safe container with self-awareness and embodied presence while simultaneously supporting the individual and the group. We therefore recommend that one of the teachers, or an assistant to the MFY teacher, be a licensed mental health clinician. We realize that some groups may have members with relatively minor emotional needs, or be too small to require two teachers, so please use your own judgment about how to provide a safe and supportive learning environment.

Participant Guidelines

Our ability to teach others depends largely on discovering the power of self-compassion in our own lives and embodying the practice. Since the core principles and practices of the MFY program are taught through experiential learning, just as they are in the MSC teacher training, participants are encouraged to focus on their felt experience during training. Ample time will also be allocated for professional dialogue and the nuts and bolts of teaching.

The MFY program is a journey—an adventure in self-discovery and self-kindness. Loving-kindness and self-compassion training helps us soothe and comfort ourselves as it paradoxically reveals emotional distress we may have been unconsciously holding inside, often for many years. As we begin this journey of teaching teens how to grow in their capacity to embrace difficult emotions, it is important to have our own experience to draw from. As many of you know, teens require authenticity, transparency and creditability, and a strong practice of our own enables us to support the journey of these young minds and hearts with more depth and wisdom.

Self-compassion thrives in an environment of safety, support, privacy, individual responsibility, and a common commitment to presence and compassion. Self-compassion practice should also be easy and enjoyable. The teacher trainers are dedicated to creating such a learning atmosphere for all workshop participants and their future students.

Needs Assessment

Over the past few years, mindfulness for teens has moved into the mainstream in the general population and is being increasingly integrated into professional practice (e.g., schools, psychotherapy practices, inpatient units, hospitals, pediatric offices, sports, chronic pain, etc.). As the demand grows, the demand for quality professional training in these practices and techniques is growing each year. Self-compassion is at the growth edge of mindfulness. It’s a “trending health term” (Reader’s Digest, 2012) and an area of burgeoning research. Self-compassion is the emotional heart of mindfulness. There is substantial and impressive scientific evidence supporting the connection between self-compassion and emotional wellbeing for adults, and, although the research for teens is still nascent, there is growing evidence of this link between self-compassion and strong emotional health in teens. This increasing demand supports the need for explicit training in self-compassion, offered through the MFY Teacher Training at the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness.

Register Online


It is the policy of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine to ensure balance, independence, objectivity and scientific rigor. All persons involved in the selection, development and presentation of content are required to disclose any real or apparent conflicts of interest. All conflicts of interest will be resolved prior to an educational activity being delivered to learners through one of the following mechanisms: 1) altering the financial relationship with the commercial interest, 2) altering the individual’s control over CFM content about the products or services of the commercial interest, and/or 3) validating the activity content through independent peer review. All persons are also required to disclose any discussions of off label/unapproved uses of drugs or devices. Persons who refuse or fail to disclose will be disqualified from participating in the CFM activity.

Tentative Schedule

Registration: 1:00–5:00 pm
Dinner: 5:30–6:30 pm
First Session: 6:45–8:45 pm

Session Ends: 4:00 pm


Recommended Reading

All books are available on our Amazon Bookshelf.

Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Daniel Siegel, M.D.

The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time by Dzung Vo


Frequently Asked Questions

I am flying in for the training. What are my options and what do you recommend?
See our LOCATIONS page for details about travel to the retreat centers and preferred airports. The UCSD Center for Mindfulness will set up a Ride Share Bulletin Board in coordinating shuttle rides for those arriving by air at local airports.

What time should I plan to arrive? When do we finish?
We will begin checking people into the retreat at 1 pm on the first day of the training. However, it may be possible for you to arrive before 1pm and have access to your room. We ask that you plan on arriving no later than 5pm so that we can begin with the full group in attendance at dinnertime. We plan to end the retreat by 1:00 pm on the last day so please plan your travel accordingly, using the time guidelines above. Sometimes situations arise in which people have to leave the retreat earlier than noon on the last day but we strongly urge you to avoid this if at all possible.

Is there wireless service/cellular phone use?
Please do not expect to get consistent, reliable wireless internet service while at the retreat center. It is most advisable to leave your computer at home because of the retreat nature of the training, however we recognize that sometimes computer use is a necessity. Most cellular phones will work in this location. Again, however given the nature of the training there will be limited opportunities to use them, so informing those who may need to contact you of these limitations ahead of time will be helpful.

Is it possible to stay extra nights at the facility or arrive a day or two early?
The retreat center is often booked both right before and right after our training, so arriving early or staying an extra night or two after the retreat is over is not likely to be a possibility. You can of course arrange to stay at lodging near the retreat center if you would like to extend your stay. Contact us directly at to make such arrangements.

What do I need to bring?
If it is at all possible, please bring a meditation cushion (zafu) and a yoga mat. We will have a few cushions but not enough to go around, so if you have one and can squeeze it into your luggage or bring it as a carry-on please consider doing so. It is always advisable to check the weather forecast prior to traveling, to help guide you in proper clothing choices.

The relatively remote location makes security a minor concern, but we do want people to know that with shared sleeping quarters and very limited availability of keys to lock rooms, we highly recommend leaving valuable items at home to reduce the possibility of anything being lost or stolen. Certainly some of us will have vehicles where such items can be secured if this is necessary.

What should I expect regarding the format of the training?
This training is taught in a retreat format, which means there is a great deal of mindfulness practice embedded in the training, and we want to reiterate that now so you are not surprised when you get here. The venue very much facilitates this format; we will will meet, eat and be housed in a relatively secluded area. There are no other large groups planned in the center that week so it should be relatively quiet and secluded. The rooms are clean and comfortable, but not by any means luxurious. and as you probably noted on the website, you will have a roommate. In most cases several of you will share a dorm-style bathroom nearby.

What should I read prior to arriving?
Check the “Schedule and Required Reading” page of the specific training you are registered to attend.

What if I require some special accommodations or have dietary restrictions?
While you are asked to note specific food restrictions on your registration application, if there are any additional food or medical concerns we should be aware of please let us know of these in advance so we may assist you.

Registration Fees

March 20-24, 2017 • Whidbey Institute, Clinton, WA
$100 “Early-Bird Discount” if you register and pay in full on or before January 20, 2017 Early-Bird Rate
On or Before
January 20, 2017
On or After
January 21, 2017
Registration $995 $1095
Room and Board Single Occupancy $735 $735
Room and Board Double Occupancy $495 $495
Camping (includes meals) $350 $350
  1. Registration fee does not include room and board charge. 
  2. Upon submission of your registration you will be asked to complete an online application form.
Register OnlineChange your registration or Make a payment

Partial Payments

Partial payments are acceptable; however a non-refundable minimum deposit of $300 USD is due upon registration.

Please be aware that the early-bird rate is available for all participants who register and pay their balance in full by the early-bird deadline (see registration information above). All early-bird rate participants who have a remaining balance on or after the early-bird deadline will have their fees automatically adjusted to the General Session Rate.

All remaining balances must be paid in full 30 days prior to the start of the training or your registration will be cancelled for non-payment and you will not be permitted to attend.

Online Application Form

Upon submission of your registration, you will receive a registration confirmation email with a link to our online MFY Training Application Form where you will be describing your reason for wanting to attend this MFY Training, an indication of your professional training and experience in psychotherapy as well as a description of your meditation practice (if any). In regard to meditation practice, you will be asked to describe the tradition in which you practice and any retreats or other meditation experiences in which you have participated. Should your qualifications not be accepted for admittance, a full refund will be granted.


Cancellation Policy

A refund (minus your $100 non-refundable and non-transferable deposit) will be made for cancellations submitted in writing 30 days prior to the training. No refunds will be allowed after that date.

In the unlikely event that the course is cancelled, UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is responsible only for a full refund of the registration fee and not for transportation, hotel accommodations or any miscellaneous expenses.