Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice
Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training
Kristin Neff, Steve Hickman, Judith Soulsby, and Vanessa Hope
NB - This will be Kristin Neff's last European Teacher Training for the foreseeable future, so the last chance for any prospective teachers to train with her in Europe
“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 warm-hearted, 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.
Before you apply
Please note that YOU MUST HAVE COMPLETED AN MSC COURSE BEFORE APPLYING for Teacher Training, and PLEASE READ THE WHOLE OF THE INFORMATION BELOW BEFORE MAKING YOUR APPLICATION
Also please read the ‘Mountaineer’s Guide’, which you will find by going to the following link:
Self-Reflection on the Journey of Becoming a Teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion – the ‘Mountaineer’s Guide’ is at the beginning. If this link doesn’t open for you, you can also access the Guide as follows:
Click at the bottom on 'Register online'
Then under 'Required application form' near the bottom, click on
Please read this and carefully consider whether this is the right time for you to train to teach Mindful Self-Compassion.
Information about MSC Teacher Training
The MSC program has been in development by Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff since 2009, and teacher training started in the USA and Europe in 2014. An MSC training manual is scheduled for publication in 2017 (Guilford Press). We are very fortunate indeed to have Kristin Neff with us again in July 2016, as this is probably the last time she will be training in Europe for a while.
The Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice (CMRP), Bangor University, is offering teacher training in the UK in collaboration with the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (www.CenterForMSC.org). In the USA, training is being coordinated by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of California, San Diego (http://cme.ucsd.edu/mindfulness), and in continental Europe, through Arbor Seminars in Freiburg, Germany (http://www.arbor-seminare.de).
Where consent it given by the participant, CMRP will share the participant’s name and email address with the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, for the purposes of follow-up and further training opportunities being offered.
MSC Teacher Training is an intensive, 6-day, residential program facilitated by a team of senior MSC Teacher Trainers. The training is built around the eight weekly sessions of MSC with each half day of training 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 during the training with the essential materials to teach MSC courses.
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
This 6-day intensive is intended for those who wish to teach the MSC program. It will also be of interest to those who would like to integrate mindfulness and self-compassion in their ongoing professional activities (e.g, psychotherapy, coaching, nursing, teaching, etc.), and to individuals who have a professional interest in the field (e.g., researchers, administrators, etc.).
The prerequisites for taking the MSC Teacher Training are:
- 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** We strongly recommend that the silent, teacher-led meditation retreat be completed more than two months prior to your attendance at the Teacher Training.
- Previous participation in a five-day or eight-week Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Training*
- Experience teaching meditation (such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction courses) in groups, 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 program.
- 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
* CMRP runs 5-day MSC courses in North Wales – see ‘Specialist residential’ courses on http://www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/calendar.php.en
** For 5-day Mindfulness & Self-Compassion retreats run by CMRP recommended for this Teacher Training, see ‘Specialist residential’ courses on http://www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/calendar.php.en. In 2016 there are two such retreats in North Wales, on 17-22 April and 15-20 June.
For recommended 5-day Mindfulness retreats run by the Mindfulness Network CIC see https://mindfulness-network.org/retreats.php; for those run by Gaia House in Devon, see http://gaiahouse.co.uk/retreats/group-retreat-programme/
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 as a teacher trainee. To receive MSC Trained Teacher status, graduates of the Teacher Training are additionally expected to receive consultation while teaching at least one 8-week MSC program, either by co-facilitating with a certified MSC teacher or through 11 sessions of 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 will offer certification in conjunction with the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, starting in mid-2016.
For more information about Certification, see http://mbpti.org/msc-teacher-qualification-and-certification/. If you have further questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 for MSC Teacher Training
Our ability to teach others depends largely on discovering the power of self-compassion in our own lives and on 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 for the MSC Teacher Training
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 being offered by the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University, UK.
Please complete all sections of the online application form (on the CMRP website Course Calendar, under the MSC Teacher Training title where you found this Course Description). The form will then be passed to the trainers for review.
Click here to go direct to the online application form. The link to the form is: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/regform.php?id=531
You will need to pay the training fee (or at least the first instalment of the fee) before your application can be assessed. Should your experience or qualifications not be accepted for admittance, a full refund will be granted.
The inclusive course fee for this event is £1477. This fee can be paid in total, or by instalments. The fee covers the training itself, with all training materials, and also includes accommodation, meals and refreshments for the full duration of the training, from dinner on Sunday 17th July to morning refreshments on Saturday 23rd July. (If you wish to have additional meals or accommodation before or after the end of the training, you will need to book those directly with Gregynog Hall, our chosen venue for this Teacher Training.)
Compassionate Action Scholarship Funds
Recognizing the societal importance of self-compassion training and the financial realities that many prospective teachers may face, CMRP is offering up to 6 scholarships to attend this Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training. A scholarship reduces the fee by £320, giving a total inclusive fee of £1157. These scholarships are only available to potential participants with special circumstances, who require financial assistance in order to attend. Applicants for the scholarships are asked to register for the training and to submit an additional essay as well as a CV. The decision as to who will be awarded the scholarships will be made at the end of February; we will hold your place until then, and you will know at the beginning of March whether you have been successful in your application. If you do not receive a scholarship, your initial instalment or instalments can be refunded if you decide not to attend the Teacher Training.
If you wish to apply for a scholarship, at the same time as submitting your application form, please send to email@example.com a full CV, and a one-page essay addressing the following questions:
- Why do you wish to attend this training?
- What are the specific financial or other barriers to your attending? (Please give full details of your financial circumstances, etc.)
- How do you imagine implementing or integrating MSC into your life and work following the Teacher Training?
The MSC Teacher Training is being held in Gregynog Hall, near Newtown, in Powy, mid-Wales – see www.gregynog.org. Initially built 800 years ago, the mansion has been extended and improved over the centuries, and stands in extensive gardens and woodlands, accessible for walks and recreation. In the 20th century, Gregynog was given to the University of Wales as a conference centre, and still houses the Gregynog Press, creating fine hand-printed books.
The work-rooms are historic, but with modern services. Most of the bedrooms are single and have shared facilities. There are a few en-suite rooms, which will be prioritised for those with medical needs: please include information on your application form if you require an en-suite room, and say if you would be willing to share it. There will also be a few shared rooms that are not en-suite – please indicate on your application form if you would like to share a room (and with whom, if you know). If you particularly need to have a single room, please indicate why this is so in case we need to allocate shared rooms.
We will limit the number of trainees on this Teacher Training to a maximum of 56. CMRP are dealing with the accommodation booking and are allocating rooms, so please ensure you include on your application form full details of any extra requirements you have, such as mobility issues, and dietary restrictions (information on special diets will be sent to Gregynog before the training).
Please note that all rooms will be charged at the same flat-rate fee, whether single or shared, and whether with shared facilities or en-suite.
Administrative queries can be directed to CMRP via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01248 382498.
If you have queries about the content of the MSC Teacher Training program, please contact Judith Soulsby on email@example.com
All CMRP Alumni are welcome to join our alumni association. Please visit http://www.friendsofbangor.org/ for further information.