Mindful Self-Compassion

With Dr. Heidi Walk

Fall 2019

Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an empirically-supported 8-week 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 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 interrelatedness, 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 provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit out shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically ourselves.

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. And it’s easier than you think.

After participating in this workshop, you’ll be able to:

  • Practice self-compassion in daily life
  • Understand the empirically-supported benefits of self-compassion
  • Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
  • Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • Transform challenging relationships, old and new
  • Manage caregiver fatigue
  • Practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation

What to Expect

Program activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. MSC is a workshop rather than a retreat. The goal is for participants to directly experience self-compassion and learn practices that evoke self-compassion in daily life.

MSC is primarily a compassion training program, rather than mindfulness training, although mindfulness is the foundation of self-compassion. 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.

Compassion is a positive, energizing emotion. However, it is said that “love reveals everything unlike itself.” While learning self-compassion, some difficult emotions may arise. MSC teachers are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for this process to unfold, and to making the journey enjoyable for everyone.

MSC includes 8 weekly sessions of 2 ¾ hours each, in addition to a 4-hour retreat. Prior to registering, participants should plan to attend every session and practice mindfulness and self-compassion and least 30 minutes per day throughout the program.

Prerequisites

Participants must have completed both Dr. Heidi Walk’s Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Conscious Living Group (CLG) programs in order to be considered for registration.

The following book is highly recommended as a companion to the MSC program:

  • The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer

Additional recommended books, before or during the course, are:

  • Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
  • The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer