What does it take for a man to be successful in this day and age?
How do you navigate through the changing demands of life and keep fulfilling the expectations of your roles?
Men are expected to be strong, confident, productive and protective. What happens when you don’t meet these expectations? Let’s face it, it can be challenging to be a man in our society today.
Men today face a unique and daunting challenge to find a satisfying and comfortable way through the evolving roles, changing demands and shifting standards of modern life. Traditional notions of masculinity, such as maintaining a “stiff upper lip” or keeping emotions “close to the vest” no longer serve most men. In fact, those notions have become a perfect recipe for shame, anxiety, and feelings of alienation. These challenges can lead to relationship problems, workplace difficulties, substance abuse, anger and depression.
Thankfully, science is validating a better way of meeting these challenges. This approach combines knowledge from ancient wisdom traditions, modern neuroscience and psychological research. We are learning that the most resilient, successful, and emotionally intelligent men are the ones who can face adversity and challenge with an open heart and a self-compassionate nature, rather than a rigid or self-critical one. Fortunately, research and practice shows that self-compassion is a skill that can be taught and learned.
Developing our capacity to be self-compassionate seems like the opposite of how most of us learned to be masculine or manly, but nothing could be further from the truth. It takes courage to challenge traditional male role attitudes and behaviors—to step outside the male box, evaluate how well those behaviors are serving you, and create a different relationship with yourself and others.
Think of someone who had a significant positive influence on you growing up; perhaps a coach or teacher who seemed to be able to bring out the best in you. More often than not, this person had high but reasonable expectations for you, challenged you to do your very best, cheered you on when you succeeded, consoled you when you fell short, but never gave up on you—and always seemed to know that you were capable of more and better. What if you could be your own inner coach or wise teacher?
Groundbreaking research has established that the practice of self-compassion, while not at first seeming to be valuable or important, actually helps men go through and beyond old roles and find a new powerful voice and quiet confidence. This research has demonstrated that people higher in self-compassion tend to be able to persist and achieve more in the face of adversity; cope better with challenges like divorce, trauma or chronic pain; are able to change troubling and unhealthy habits and behaviors more easily; and are perceived more positively by their partners.
In this workshop, we will discover how:
- Experiencing our common humanity, as men and simply as humans, helps us overcome feelings of failure, isolation, or not fitting in
- Finding a middle path between the extremes of harsh self-criticism and complete surrender can actually result in greater happiness, life satisfaction, and personal and professional achievement
- Developing a kind inner voice, an inner ally, can actually motivate and encourage us more than any self-criticism ever could
- The empirically-validated practice of mindfulness can help us develop a more productive and comfortable relationship with our thoughts and emotions
Our journey will include a variety of different action-oriented practices as well as meditation and group dialogue intended to develop the resource of self-compassion and resilience. Come join a group of men all inspired to challenge archaic limitations and set forth on a powerful, spirited path.
Daniel Ellenberg, PhD, is a leadership coach, licensed therapist, seminar leader, and group facilitator. He is a principle in both Rewire Leadership Institute and Relationships That Work. He leads Strength with Heart men’s groups and seminars and is a founding member of the Men’s Counseling Guild. He has been leading weekly men’s groups for over 30 years and wrote his dissertation on psychological aspects of the male sex role. He is a board member of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and co-author of Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership. He co-created and delivered a resilience training program for several NASA space centers.
Steven Hickman, PsyD is a clinical psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor in the UC San Diego Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine & Public Health. He is the founder and Executive Director of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness and the Director of Professional Training for the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. Dr. Hickman teaches Mindful Self-Compassion around the world and trains teachers in the program, in addition to speaking and teaching on the topic of mindfulness-based programs. Steve is particularly interested in supporting men in developing greater self-compassion and mindfulness and is involved in projects to develop these capacities in Olympic-class athletes, first-responders and active duty military.
David Spound, M.Ed., is a meditation teacher and consultant based in Northampton, MA. where he offers courses including Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) through his company Valley Mindfulness (www.valleymindfulness.com). David also enjoys creating new and customized training programs, leading silent meditation retreats, and exploring possibilities for online education and training. David is a former staff member and trainer at the UMass Center for Mindfulness, the organization founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and he has co-led programs for the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion.
At the completion of this workshop, participants should be able to:
- Briefly describe the theory and research supporting the practice of self-compassion
- Motivate themselves with encouragement rather than self-criticism
- Relate to difficult emotions with greater moment-to-moment acceptance
- Respond to feelings of failure or inadequacy with self-kindness
- Begin to transform difficult relationships, old and new, through greater understanding and self-validation
- Develop the ability to integrate core practices into daily life
Most importantly, this self-compassion is about working less, not more – letting go of the ways that we unnecessarily and invisibly complicate our lives.
This workshop is intended for men of any background, although participants who wish to integrate mindfulness and self-compassion into the workplace are also encouraged to participate and will be supported in that effort.
Program activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. The goal is to provide a safe and supportive environment for exploring how we typically respond when difficult emotions arise and to provide tools for becoming a warm and supportive companion to ourselves. The emphasis of the program is on enhancing emotional resources and personal capacities. For more information on self-compassion, please see www.Self-Compassion.org and www.MindfulSelfCompassion.org
This workshop is intended to begin or continue a journey—an adventure in self-discovery and self-kindness. Compassion has the paradoxical effect of both soothing and comforting as well as opening us to emotional distress that we may have been unconsciously holding inside, often for many years. Therefore, some difficult emotions are likely to surface during the program as we grow in our capacity to embrace and heal them. The teachers are committed to providing an environment of safety, support, privacy, individual responsibility, and a common commitment to developing compassion for oneself and others.
It is recommended, but not required, that participants read the following two books before the training retreat:
- The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer
- Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
Cultural and Linguistic Competency Statement
This activity is in compliance with California Assembly Bill 1195 which requires continuing medical education activities with patient care components to include curriculum in the subjects of cultural and linguistic competency. Cultural competency is defined as a set of integrated attitudes, knowledge, and skills that enables health care professionals or organizations to care effectively for patients from diverse cultures, groups, and communities. Linguistic competency is defined as the ability of a physician or surgeon to provide patients who do not speak English or who have limited ability to speak English, direct communication in the patient’s primary language. Cultural and linguistic competency was incorporated into the planning of this activity. Additional resources can be found on the UC San Diego 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 learners through one of the following mechanisms: 1) altering the financial relationship with the commercial interest, 2) altering the individual’s control over CME 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 CME activity.
Days One & Two – Friday & Saturday
9:00-12:30, 2:30-5:30, 7:30-8:30
Day Three – Sunday
- 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
- The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert
- Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy by Christopher Germer and Ronald Siegel
- Mindfulness in Psychotherapy by Christopher Germer, Ronald Siegel and Paul Fulton
- The Mindfulness Solution by Ronald Siegel
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Workshop fees are variable. Please check the listing of your specific workshop of interest (right sidebar) for fee and registration information.
Continuing Education Credit Fees
|Continuing education credits for participation in this program are available for an additional fee|
|Psychologists, Psychotherapists (LCSW, MFT, LPC)||$50|
Partial payments are acceptable; however a non-refundable and non-transferable minimum deposit 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. All early-bird rate participants who have a remaining balance after that date 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.
A refund (minus your non-refundable and non-transferable deposit) will be made for cancellations submitted in writing on or before a date 30 days prior to the start of the training. No refunds will be allowed after this 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.