“Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive
yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward
ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.”
As human beings, it is inevitable to make mistakes or feel a sense of inadequacy. When we are going through difficult times, we may notice we tend to be more critical of ourselves versus how we would treat other people in similar situations.
Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program is an empirically-supported, 8-week training program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. Based on the ground-breaking research of Kristin Neff and the clinical expertise of Christopher Germer, MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult moments in their lives with kindness, 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 our essential inter-relatedness, 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 warm-hearted, connected presence.
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 unwittingly inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-isolation, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically ourselves. MSC is primarily a compassion training program rather than mindfulness training, although mindfulness is the foundation of self-compassion.
Rapidly expanding research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships.
Course Format: MSC consists of 8 weekly sessions of 2.5 to 2.75 hours each. In addition, there is a Day of Retreat held usually between the fifth and the sixth session on a weekend. An Orientation session will be held before the course. Prospective participants should also make it a point to attend the Orientation Session to explore if the course fits their needs before they make a commitment to attend. In addition to attending the sessions, participants should also plan to practice mindfulness and self-compassion at least 30 minutes per day throughout the program. Participants will be provided with course materials such as audio-guided mindfulness practices and handouts (included in the course fee).
Program activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. MSC is also not psychotherapy insofar as the emphasis of MSC is on building emotional resources rather than addressing old wounds. Beneficial change occurs naturally as we develop the capacity to be with ourselves in a kinder, more compassionate way.
What can I learn from this program?
By the end of this course, participants will be able to:
Practice self-compassion in daily life
Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
Manage caregiver fatigue (including all those in the helping professions such as social workers, counsellors, nurses, psychologists, etc.)
Transform challenging relationships, old and new
Practice the art of savouring and self-appreciation