How does
MSC work?


Each week we practice self-compassion meditation and experiential exercises, engage in group discussion and home practices, all presented in a logical progression, designed to develop self-compassion in a supportive atmosphere.

Week 1: Discovering Mindful Self-Compassion

The first class includes an introduction to the course content, instructor, and participants. This session establishes the conceptual foundation for self- compassion. Discussion focuses on the meaning of self-compassion, and the link between self-compassion and well-being (scientifically and experientially). Students learn two new practices: Soothing and Supportive Touch as well as Self-Compassion Break.

Week 2: Practicing Mindfulness

This class helps bring mindful awareness to present-moment experience and enhances that awareness by combining breath meditation with savoring and appreciation. Discussion focuses on understanding the ways that resistance causes suffering, helps understand backdraft, and explores further the meaning of mindfulness and self-compassion. New practices include: Affectionate Breathing, Soles of the Feet, Mindfulness in Daily Life, and Compassion in Daily Life.

Week 3: Practicing Loving-Kindness

This session helps bring loving-kindness to each of us, after previous discovery of bringing loving awareness to moment-to-moment experience. In this session, participants explore the difference between loving-kindness and compassion by evoking a felt sense of loving-kindness and compassion, and discover the value of phrases in loving-kindness meditation. New practices include: Loving-Kindness for a Loved One, and Finding Loving-Kindness Phrases.

Week 4: Discovering Your Compassionate Voice

This class teaches the practice of loving-kindness in formal meditation. It also helps participants assess their progress in self-acceptance by identifying stages on the path to self-compassion, including disillusionment. Finally, it focuses on motivating with encouragement rather than criticism. New practices include: Loving-Kindness for Ourselves, and Compassionate Letter to Myself.

Week 5: Living Deeply

In this session, participants enhance self-compassion meditation to cultivate compassion for self and others. Discussion focuses on deepening the capacity for self-compassion by the discovery of core values and reorientation of those values in daily life. It explores the search for hidden meaning in life’s difficulties. Finally, it helps enhance the ability to listen compassionately. New practices include: Giving and Receiving Compassion, Living with a Vow, and Compassionate Listening.

Week 6: Meeting Difficult Emotions

This class helps strengthen previously learned skills in challenging situations. It guides the application of mindfulness and self-compassion to difficult emotions (a common source of suffering). Participants also explore the meaning of shame and the use of self-compassion serves as an antidote to shame. New practices include: Being with Difficult Emotions (Labeling Emotions, Mindfulness of Emotion in the Body, Soften-Soothe-Allow) and Being with Shame.

Week 7: Exploring Challenging Emotions

This session applies resources of mindfulness and self-compassion to the challenging context of personal relationships that lie at the source of joy and suffering in everyday life. Participants learn to meet unmet needs in relationships with self-compassion and the application of self-compassion and equanimity to manage caregiving fatigue. New Practices include: Compassionate Friend, Self-Compassion Break in Relationships, and Compassion with Equanimity.

Week 8: Embracing Your Life

In this session, participants explore how to continue the cultivation of self-compassion in everyday life. It turns attention to the potential of mindfulness and self-compassion to transform negative into positive experiences. It teaches the practice of gratitude and self-appreciation to correct the human negativity bias. Finally, it helps participants reflect on key insights and practices from the program that they might like to remember.