One-on-one mentorship (which can include web-based video conferencing for those not located near an approved mentor) is seen as a key component of development for new, as well as experienced, teachers of Mindful Self Compassion, providing the intimacy of a close connection with a seasoned teacher as well as the venue for open and honest exploration of challenges, breakthroughs, insights and possibilities that inevitably arise in teaching the program. The MBPTI has defined mentorship as: “A contractual arrangement between a mentor and mentee which focuses on a mentee’s mindfulness-based teaching in secular settings and supports the ongoing development of personal practice. The purpose of this arrangement is to promote competency and best practice skills for teaching mindfulness in secular settings and to encourage the relevance of applying the principles of mindfulness in everyday life”.
We have assembled the MSC Mentorship Program to assure that each trainee has an educational and inspiring experience of the mentorship process, and have carefully chosen each of our approved mentors based on their years of experience, training and wisdom.
Upon enrollment in the MSC Certification Pathway of the Institute, your next step will be to identify and engage a UCSD-approved mentor from the list below. It is important that before contacting one of the mentors via email, that you carefully review the MSC Certification Pathway.
Next, take the time to read each biography and consider contacting the mentor to arrange a brief phone interview to get a sense of whether you feel comfortable with this mentor. The arrangement is between you (as the mentee) and the mentor, so once you have determined that it is a good fit for both of you, you can jointly complete the contract and make arrangements for your regular mentorship sessions. Note: Your mentor will notify the MBPTI when you enter into a mentorship agreement with them, and will track the dates and times of sessions for reporting to the Institute for Certification purposes. However, it is required that you maintain your own record of sessions.
While your financial arrangement is between you and your mentor, we have asked the UCSD-approved mentors to agree to a base hourly rate for trainees in the United States of $155 (US), but we also appreciate that this rate may not align with local economies in the different countries where MSC is taught. Our mentors are prepared to consider these local factors when determining an agreed-upon rate. We also know that individuals have varying financial circumstances and may need some consideration for these circumstances. If the fee is a financial hardship for any reason, then you are encouraged to discuss this with potential mentors and see if you can mutually agree upon a fee that is acceptable to both parties.
The MSC Mentorship Guidelines document provides a thorough description of the full process. Please download and read the document prior to setting up an initial meeting with a mentor.
The MSC Mentorship and Certification process is outlined here in great detail.
Take the time to consider each of the mentors listed below and reach out to any that seem like a good fit. You will be spending a significant amount of time in contact with your mentor (over the phone, online or in person) and you should choose carefully before proceeding.
Michelle Becker, M.A., LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in San Diego, CA utilizing mindfulness and compassion based psychotherapy with individuals, couples, families and groups. She is a teacher trainer for Mindful Self-Compassion and co-founder, along with Dr.’s Germer, Neff and Hickman, of the Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training. She is also co-founder of the San Diego Center For Well Being and co-developer of the Mindful Living for Couples program. Michelle enjoys helping individuals, couples, families and groups to find a meaningful and satisfying way of life.
Contact Michelle Becker: www.wisecompassion.com
Christine Brähler, DClinPsy, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and clinical supervisor. She gained her degrees from the University of Edinburgh, UK and is an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, UK. She maintains a psychotherapy practice in Munich, Germany, specializing in compassion-based psychotherapy and conducted the first feasibility trial of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). She is an MSC teacher trainer, and leads MSC intensives, MSC teacher trainings and workshops on self-compassion in psychotherapy around the world. In addition to being Secretary of the Board of the Center for MSC, Christine serves as International Coordinator and as Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of Center for MSC. Christine has published several peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and two popular books. As an MSC Mentor, Christine greatly enjoys supporting MSC colleagues in their personal and professional development. She speaks fluent English, German and French and basic Spanish.
Zoe Shobbrook-Fisher has completed the Mindfulness Teacher Training Pathway at University of Bangor and is a Certified MSC Teacher and senior counsellor-psychotherapist. She supervises and mentors mindfulness and MSC teachers for the UK Mindfulness Network. After 11 years working as a student/staff counsellor and group facilitator in a university she set up her own company in south west London, which offers beginner and deepening practice MBSR and MSC courses and residential retreats. She delivers programmes to a wide range of groups, reflecting her commitment to making these trainings accessible to diverse populations, including workplace settings; MIND and NHS mental health patients. A lifelong yoga and meditation practitioner she has always been dedicated to paths of the heart and authenticity, and loves sharing the ways that mindful self-compassion supports this for herself and others. She volunteers for an informal network of Mindful Self-Compassion Teachers in the UK and enjoys writing, singing, dancing and being near trees as much as possible.
Anna Friis, PhD, is a certified MSC Teacher and a psychologist in private practise in Auckland, New Zealand. She specialises in mindfulness and compassion-based therapy. She has had a life-long devotion to ashtanga yoga, a form of moving meditation which provided the foundation for her evolution as a practitioner and teacher of MSC. Anna previously had a substantial career as the director of a public relations company specialising in crisis management, a challenging environment in which the practise of equanimity proved essential to the health and wellbeing of both herself and her clients. Her corporate life provided the inspiration for a Master’s degree investigating the effects of stress and meditation on the autonomic nervous system. Her subsequent doctoral research demonstrated the psychological and physiological effects of self-compassion training, effectively reducing biological markers of stress among people living with diabetes. The results of these studies have been published as peer-reviewed journal articles, contributing to the scientific understanding of the mind-body effects of self-compassion and the MSC programme. Her current practise is “unbusying” which she describes as an orientation towards a more spacious, present-focussed life and a daily opportunity to practise more yang self-compassion.
Tina Gibson is a certified MSC Teacher and teacher trainer. Based in Australia, she traveled to America, as part of the first MSC teacher training, and has been teaching with enthusiasm across Australia ever since. Tina also has years of experience teaching Mindfulness, having facilitated programs within Women’s Health, the Education System, Cancer Support and the general community. Her MSC has also included programs specifically for Health Professionals and for young women. Tina practices what she teaches, bringing warmth, honesty, courage and humour to MSC in her life and her teaching. She has a sound knowledge of health and education stemming from training and working in roles such as; Paramedic, Health Care Worker, Rehabilitation Counsellor, Kinesiologist and Health Educator. Some of her current passions are bringing MSC to children and MSC for enhancing creativity.
Steven Hickman, PsyD., is the Founding Director of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. Steve is a Clinical Psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor in the UCSD Departments of Psychiatry and Family and Preventive Medicine. Since founding the Center in 2000, he has taught over 60 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses, numerous other Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) and is a trainer of teachers in MBSR and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Steve is also a teacher trainer for the Mindful Self-Compassion program and is the Director of Professional Training for the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. His passion is the training of teachers of Mindfulness-Based Interventions and is currently working on a book for Guilford Press entitled A Teacher’s Guide to Learning and Teaching Mindfulness-Based Interventions.
Vanessa Hope, BA Hons, PG Dip in Mindfulness-Based Approaches, practised as a Homeopath for 18 years and was both a supervisor and lecturer for several colleges. She has been practicing meditation and yoga for over 35 years and currently works with a Zen teacher. She has taught MBSR courses since 2001 and has been a member of the Core Training Team for the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University, U.K, since 2007. She taught for 5 years on the Masters in Mindfulness-Based Approaches and is a supervisor, assessor and mentor of mindfulness teachers. She is now delighted to be working as a Certified Teacher and Trainer in MSC as the practice of compassion and loving kindness has always been dear to her heart. Apart from all of this, she also enjoys time with her grandchildren and writing haiku.
Mila de Koning has been working for years in general and mental health care and is a social therapist, nurse, mindfulness teacher and mindfulness teacher trainer. She is a Certified MSC Teacher and Teacher trainer as well. She has a long professional experience working in (mental) health care with groups. And she worked as a teacher for healthcare professionals. Since 2011 her focus is mainly on mindfulness and compassion and she started working for the VU University Medical Centre where one of her main roles was to bring mindfulness and self-compassion to healthcare. Currently she works as teacher and teacher trainer for the mindfulness and self-compassion programs at the Centrum voor Mindfulness in Amsterdam. One of her great aspirations is to bring mindfulness to healthcare, especially for doctors and other healthcare professionals. Together with Marga Gooren, MD she wrote the first book on Self-Compassion for Doctors. It has been published in Dutch in February 2020 and will be translated to English soon.
Ali Lambie has an MSc in Teaching Mindfulness-Based Approaches from the University of Bangor. Prior to training as a mindfulness teacher she was a counsellor for many years and manager of a counselling service within the NHS for the last eight of those. She is a Certified Teacher and Teacher Trainer of MSC and this work is her passion. These days she is fully self-employed teaching MSC and MBSR to general populations and in workplace settings where she lives in the south of England. She also runs several ongoing monthly groups, regular day and weekend retreats as well as 5-day MSC intensives and silent retreats further afield. Ali enjoys supporting other teachers as a supervisor, MSC consultation host and often has newer teachers working alongside her too. She has a deep love of the countryside and part of her practice is mindful walking in the woods each day.
Marta Alonso Maynar, DClin Psy. is a psychologist and specialist in clinical psychology with the Ministry of Education and Science in Spain. She is the first Certified Teacher and Teacher Trainer in Spanish language and a pioneer in introducing compassion programs in Spain. Since 2012 Marta has delivered more than 26 MSC courses in her country. She has practiced meditation for the last 27 years. She is a founding member and the current President of AEMind (Asociación Española de Mindfulness y Compasión) www.aemind.es. She holds the recognition as European Expert in Psychotherapy by the EFPA. Marta is co-author, along with Vicente Simon and others, of the book “Mindfulness en la Práctica Clinica” and both created the triple CD with a booklet with 209 minutes of Mindfulness and Self Compassion audios and practices in Spanish with a booklet available on Amazon.
Dawn MacDonald, MSW, RSW, currently co-leads the Compassion Project, an innovative organizational change and development initiative of the Catholic Health Corporation of Manitoba designed to co-create the conditions for Compassion to flourish in Health and Human Services. She is a Certified Mindful Self Compassion Teacher and teacher trainer. Dawn also teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and has completed all the professional trainings at the Oasis Institute for Mindfulness-based Professional Education and Teacher Training. She is a Certified Compassion Cultivation Teacher by Stanford University’s Center for Compassion Altruism Research and Education and a Senior Instructor for the Institute for Mindful Leadership.
Beth Mulligan, PA-C is a certified MSC Teacher and teacher trainer. She was in the first group to be invited to MSC teacher training, and has been teaching MSC with great passion and enthusiasm ever since, at the UC Irvine Center for Integrative Medicine and Insight LA as well as providing workshops for professional caregivers. Beth is also a certified MBSR teacher and teacher trainer, and adjunct faculty for the UMASS Center for Mindfulness. She has been teaching MBSR for over a decade to diverse populations; from the critically ill, to non-profit organizations, the underserved, educators, and corporate leaders. Beth has a background in primary care medicine as a Board Certified Physician Assistant and has practiced medicine for over 25 years. Beth is a certified yoga instructor, and holds a Black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She is a long time student of Roshi Charles Tenshin Fletcher at Yokoji Zen Center where she has lived in residence, and is the Guiding Dharma teacher at Insight Community of the Desert. Phone: 760-799-7847
Susan M. Pollak, MTS, Ed.D. is a licensed psychologist in Cambridge, MA. and President of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. For over 2 decades she has taught and supervised at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School, and is a co-founder of the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion at CHA. She has been teaching MSC with Christopher Germer since 2010, and worked on developing and refining the 8- week MSC course. A student of meditation and yoga since childhood, she has been integrating mindfulness and psychotherapy since 1985. Susan is the co-author of Sitting Together: Essential Skills for Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy.
Judith Soulsby, MA, CQSW initially trained as a social worker and psychotherapist, and has a long-term Buddhist meditation practice. While working as a research officer at Bangor University, UK, she helped found the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice (CMRP) in 2001. Judith hastaught mindfulness-based approaches for CMRP since 2003, including training, supervising and assessing MBSR and MBCT teachers since 2006, and working as Director of CMRP’s Master’s Programmes for 6 years. She is now semi-retired and works freelance, mainly teaching Mindful Self-Compassion and training teachers in this, and is now a Certified MSC Teacher and Teacher Trainer. As well as greatly enjoying this work, she delights in singing with several local community choirs in north-west Wales.
Judith is currently unable to accept new MSC mentees.
David Spound, M.Ed., is the Director of Valley Mindfulness (in Northampton, MA, USA) and is a certified teacher and teacher trainer of both Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). David has been teaching mindfulness since 2005 with his own company and on behalf of other organizations including the UMass Center for Mindfulness, the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, and the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. With the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, David leads MSC courses, MSC Teacher Training, online Mentoring Sessions, Silent Meditation Retreats, the online Community for Deepening Practice course, and the Ultimate Courage Men’s Workshop. With Valley Mindfulness, he teaches MSC, MBSR, and sees private clients. From 2006 through 2013, David was a staff member of the UMass Center for Mindfulness where he taught MBSR and managed the “Oasis” MBSR Teacher Training and Certification Program. For David, his work as a teacher, teacher trainer, and mentor is a true labor of love.