“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
MSC Teacher Training is an intensive, 6-day, residential program facilitated by a team of senior MSC teachers. The training is built around the eight weekly sessions of MSC with each half day dedicated to a condensed, experiential review of one of the sessions, followed by small group activities designed to give attendees opportunities to practice teaching, guiding and facilitating discussion in that session with the close consultation of one of the Teacher Trainers. In addition, the training includes short talks, group exercises, discussion, and periods of silence. Participants will be provided with the essential materials to teach MSC programs.
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 for overcoming them
- Practice and demonstrate a mindful and compassionate embodied stance toward students of the MSC program as they confront challenges to their practice
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.).
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.
It is widely acknowledged within the field that the teaching of mindfulness and compassion arises out of the personal practice of them. Thus, training courses include substantial periods of personal practice of mindfulness meditation and compassion to help develop the personal and professional resource of these human qualities. An analogy might be that the swimming coach would have to be an excellent swimmer, or a violin teacher would actually be a skilled violinist. Therefore in the field of mindfulness and compassion, the teacher must have a well-developed and substantial experiential grounding in these practices, which is partially supported through meditative practice and exercises during the training.
Trained Teacher Designation
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. To receive MSC Trained Teacher status, graduates of the Teacher Training are also expected to receive consultation while teaching at least one 8-week MSC program through online group consultation offered through the Center for MSC. All Trained Teachers are eligible to be listed on the Center for MSC website in a Directory of Trained Teachers.
Trained Teacher status 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. The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness offers certification in conjunction with the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. Please see our MSC Certification Pathway if you have further questions about Certification.
MSC Teacher Training programs are sponsored by the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (www.CenterForMSC.org).
- 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.
- Attendance in at least one 5-day silent, teacher-led meditation retreat.
- Previous participation in a five-day or eight-week Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Training. 10-week Online MSC (LOMSC) does not routinely fulfill the prerequisite.
- 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.
Please Note . . .
- You must allow at least 6 months to elapse between completing your MSC course and beginning Teacher Training. This will allow you to reflect on whether you really want to begin the teaching journey. However, you may register for teacher training at any time after you complete the MSC course.
- We strongly recommend that the silent, teacher-led meditation retreat be completed more than two months prior to your attendance at the Teacher Training.
- If you have only taken MSC in the 5-day intensive form, CMSC highly recommends that you make an effort to experience it in the standard 8-week format that you will be trained to teach at the Teacher Training. Having the opportunity to experience the curriculum over an extended period, with time to integrate self-compassion practice into daily life and allow the experience to fully “land” within your experience will enrich your ability to teach the program to others. You might find a local MSC program or consider taking the Live Online MSC program offered through CMSC.
- You do not have to be a mental health clinician to take the MSC Teacher Training.
- Upon completion of the MSC Teacher Training, participants receive a Certificate of Attendance from the Center for MSC stating that he or she has attended the TT in its entirety and can start teaching MSC as a Teacher Trainee.
Please read the following prior to attending the training. All books are available on our Amazon Bookshelf.
- 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
- The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive by Kristin Neff and 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
- 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
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.
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.
Continuing Education Credits
This program is sponsored 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 CE credit.
California licensed MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, LCSWs:
This activity is an approved continuing education program by the American Psychological Association. 32.0 CE credit 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 CE credit is accepted.
UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP16351, for 38.25 contact hours.
The tentative schedule is as follows:
Registration: 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Dinner: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
First Session: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Optional Morning Practice: 7:15 am – 8:00 am
Morning Session: 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Lunch: 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Afternoon Session: 2:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Dinner: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Evening Session: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Optional Morning Practice: 7:00 am – 8:00 am
Final Session: 9:00 am – 12:00 noon
Lunch: 12:00 noon
Cultural and Linguistic Competency Statement
California Assembly Bill 1195 requires continuing medical education activities with patient care components to include curriculum in the subjects of cultural and linguistic competency. It is the intent of the bill, which went into effect on July 1, 2006, to encourage physicians and surgeons, CME providers in the state of California, and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to meet the cultural and linguistic concerns of a diverse patient population through appropriate professional development. The planners, speakers and authors of this activity have been encouraged to address issues relevant in their topic area. In addition, a variety of resources are available that address cultural and linguistic competency, some of which are included in your syllabus or handout materials. Additional resources and information about AB1195 can be found on the CME website.
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 the learners through one of the following mechanisms 1) altering the financial relationship with the commercial interest, 2) altering the individual’s control over 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 are disqualified from participating in the activity. Participants will be asked to evaluate whether the speaker’s outside interests reflect a possible bias in the planning or presentation of the activity. This information is used to plan future activities.All faculty members listed above have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.The MBPTI staff, meeting planners, planning committee and MBPTI committee reviewers do not have any relevant financial relationships to disclose. The views and opinions expressed in this activity are those of the faculty and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine or University of California, San Diego Medical Center.