Join Our Mailing List
Certificate Programs
MBSR Teacher Certification
MSC Teacher Certification
Training Retreats
ATT :: Advanced Teacher Training for MBSR and MBCT Teachers
June 14-19, 2015 / Petaluma, CA
MBCP :: Mindfulness-Based
Childbirth and Parenting

January 18-24, 2015 / Petaluma, CA
MBCT :: Mindfulness-Based
Cognitive Therapy

February 15-20, 2015 / Petaluma, CA
MBRP :: Mindfulness-Based
Relapse Prevention

June 28-July 3, 2015 / Clinton, WA
MBSR :: Mindfulness-Based
Stress Reduction

September 20-26, 2014 / Petaluma, CA
March 23-29, 2015 / Tampa, FL
July 11-17, 2015 / Batavia, NY
September 13-19, 2015 / Lucerne Valley, CA
ME-CL1 :: Mindful Eating-Conscious Living: A Foundational Professional Training
June 16-21, 2015 / Clatskanie, OR
October 4-9, 2015 / Wallingford, PA
November 5-10, 2015 / México
MSC :: Mindful Self-Compassion
December 7-12, 2014 / Joshua Tree, CA sold out
May 4-9, 2015 / Petaluma, CA
October 25-30, 2015 / Clinton, WA
December 13-18, 2015 • Lucerne Valley, CA
MSC :: Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training
August 18-24, 2014 / Batavia, NY sold out
February 8-14, 2015 / Petaluma, CA sold out
August 7-13, 2015 / Garrison, NY
November 8-14, 2015 / Lucerne Valley, CA
Mindfulness for ADHD :: Training For Adults, Parents and Professionals
August 7-10, 2014 / Petaluma, CA
Bridging the Hearts & Minds of Youth
February 27-March 1, 2015 / San Diego, CA
Reading Materials
Guided Audio

MSC :: Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training

February 8-14, 2015 • EarthRise Retreat Center, Petaluma, CA SOLD OUT
Faculty: Christopher Germer, PhD, Kristin Neff, PhD, Michelle Becker, LMFT & Steven Hickman, PsyD

August 7-13, 2015 • Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY
Faculty: Christopher Germer, PhD, Kristin Neff, PhD, Michelle Becker, LMFT & Steven Hickman, PsyD

November 8-14, 2015 • RW Spiritual Retreat Center, Lucerne Valley, CA
Faculty: Christopher Germer, PhD, Michelle Becker, LMFT & Steven Hickman, PsyD

Early-Bird Registration Fee: $1195 + Room & Board

Compassionate Action Scholarship Funds Available for 2015 Trainings (read more)

For someone to develop genuine compassion towards others,
first he or she must have a basis upon which to cultivate compassion,
and that basis is the ability to connect to one’s own feelings and to care for one’s own welfare…
Caring for others requires caring for oneself.

- Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama -

Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an empirically-supported 8-week program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. Based on pioneering research by Kristin Neff and integrated with the clinical perspective of Christopher Germer, MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult emotions with care and understanding.  

The three key components of self-compassion are self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and balanced, mindful awareness. Kindness opens our hearts to suffering, so we can give ourselves what we need. Common humanity opens us to others, so that we know we aren’t alone. Mindfulness opens us to the present moment, so we can accept our experience with greater ease. Together they comprise a state of warmhearted, connected, presence during difficult moments in our lives.

Self-compassion can be learned by anyone, even those who didn’t receive enough affection in childhood or who feel uncomfortable when they are good to themselves. It’s a courageous attitude that stands up to harm, including the harm that we inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-denial, or self-absorption.  Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, forgive ourselves, motivate ourselves with kindness, care for others, and be fully human.

Rapidly expanding research clearly demonstrates that self-compassion is related to emotional wellbeing, lower anxiety and depression, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships.

Teacher Training

The MSC program has been in development since 2009, and teacher training will start in the USA and Europe in 2014. A MSC training manual is also scheduled for publication in late 2014 (Guilford Press). The UCSD Center for Mindfulness will coordinate teacher training in the USA, in collaboration with the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (

MSC Teacher Training is an intensive, 6-day, residential program facilitated by a team of senior MSC teachers. The first half of the training is a condensed, experiential review of the MSC program, integrating short talks, meditation, group exercises, discussion, and periods of silence. The second half of the program focuses on how to teach the core themes and skills of each session in simulated, guided, small groups. Participants will be provided with the essential materials to teach MSC programs. 


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

Target Audience

This 6-day 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.).

Participation Requirements

Applicants for MSC Teacher Training course are REQUIRED to have to have previously taken the MSC Training as a participant (in either the 8-week or 5-day intensive format), have an established personal meditation practice, and have experience teaching meditation in group settings. To receive MSC "teacher qualification" (see below), graduates of the Teacher Training are also expected to receive supervision for at least one 8-week MSC program, either by co-facilitating with a certified MSC teacher or through online consultation.

Participation in this teacher training is subject to approval by the teacher trainers. The prerequisites for taking the MSC Teacher Training are:

Personal Skills

  • 3 years of meditation practice
  • Ongoing, daily, sitting meditation practice
  • Ongoing practice of loving-kindness (metta) and self-compassion in daily life
  • Attendance in at least a 1-day silent teacher-led meditation retreat

Professional Skills

  • Previous participation in a five-day or eight-week Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Training
  • Experience teaching meditation in groups, such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, or in clinical settings
  • You do not have to be a clinician to take the MSC Teacher Training


Upon submission of your registration, you will be asked to write and email a short essay (less than two pages), including your:

  • reason for attending this teacher training
  • daily meditation practice, years practicing, retreat experience, and the tradition in which you practice
  • professional training and/or experience teaching meditation
  • date and location of the 5-day or 8-week MSC course you took as a participant
  • brief curriculum vitae or resume

Should your essay or qualifications not be accepted for admittance, a full refund will be granted.

Teacher Qualification

The purpose of the 6-day Teacher Training is to establish a basic level of training and proficiency sufficient to begin offering the program to the general public. The requirements for teacher qualification are:

Upon completing these requirements, you can be listed in the directory of “qualified” MSC teachers on the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion website.

Teacher Certification

“Qualification” is a key step toward “certification.” Certification is a process of ensuring that an individual has achieved full competency through experience, training and supervision over a period of time and practice. By 2017, the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion will offer certification in conjunction with the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness.  Please contact us if you have further questions about the distinction between “qualification” and “certification.”

Teaching MSC

The MSC program is ideally led by two instructors. This model enables one instructor to monitor the emotional needs of individual participants while the other is teaching. Self-compassion can activate strong emotions, sometimes including relational pain dating back to childhood. We therefore recommend that one of the teachers, or an assistant to the MSC 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 MSC program are taught through experiential learning, participants are encouraged to focus on their felt experience during teacher training. Ample time will also be allocated for professional dialogue and the nuts and bolts of teaching.

The MSC 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. Therefore, some difficult emotions are likely to surface as we grow in our capacity to embrace them. This is intrinsic to the process of emotional transformation through self-compassion.

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.
The following reading is highly recommended, but not required, before the teacher training:

Neff, Kristin: Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind
Germer, Christopher: The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion

Needs Assessment

Over the past few years, mindfulness has become mainstream in the general population and is being increasingly integrated into professional practice (e.g., mental health, medical care, education, business, law). 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. Due to the impressive scientific evidence for the connection between self-compassion and emotional wellbeing, and the need for explicit training in self-compassion, the MSC Teacher Training is offered at the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness.

UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness    •   5060 Shoreham Place, Suite 200    •   San Diego, CA 92122-0980
 Phone: (858) 334-4631    •   Fax: (858) 334-4601    •   E-mail:     •   Website:

Content is subject to change without notice. Please refer to the activity website for the most current information.
Official Web Site of the University of California, San Diego. Copyright ©2013 Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.