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We live in stressful times. We are called upon daily to meet increasing demands at work and at home, and to care for ourselves and others with little time and resources.

In our overstressed world, many professionals and caregivers are suffering from debilitating burnout. Many of the rest of us, working long hours and raising families, seem to be approaching burnout too. Sometimes we may feel that we’re so exhausted there is nothing left to give to others.

So how do we keep giving without burning out? Self-care and self-compassion are the answer. Compassion Cultivation Training and Mindful Self-Compassion can help you increase attention, empathy, and compassion towards yourself and others, enhance resilience and the capacity to cope with stress and day-to-day challenges. It can be transformative for health care professionals, therapists, social workers, caregivers, business or public service leaders or managers, lawyers, educators, and parents.

Health Care Providers

Nancy is a surgical nurse who is married with three children. When she started working 10 years ago, she loved her job. But lately she dreads going to work. She works long hours, including nights and weekends. She stays after her shift is over to update charts and complete the endless paperwork.

Her new supervisor makes her feel that she can’t do anything right. Her work leaves her feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and demoralized. She is chronically tired. She feels that she has nothing left over for her husband, her children, or herself. She has begun thinking about cutting her hours, changing jobs, or even changing careers. But if she does, how will they pay for the mortgage or their children’s college education?

How Can CCT and MSC Help Nancy?

The stress in the healthcare industry can negatively affect healthcare workers. Stress and pressure can lead to compassion fatigue, depression, decreased job satisfaction, conflicts in personal relationships, and psychological distress.

Healthcare workers are especially likely to suffer from burnout, which can result in deficits in patient care and an inability to practice compassionate care and attention. Compassion Cultivation Training and Mindful Self-Compassion provide caregivers with the valuable tools they need to practice mindfulness and connect with patients — and oneself — in a compassionate way.


Sally is a 50-year divorced clinical psychologist whose grown children have left home. She has a busy practice working with adults who have a range of interpersonal and work difficulties, parenting issues, trauma, grief, loss, and stage-of-life changes.

Lately, Sally has noticed that work is taking a heavy toll. She has begun to see her clients as energy drains and stressors. Sometimes she catches herself dehumanizing her clients. She feels increasingly cynical, irritable, callous, and detached. At work, she notices that she is having trouble listening attentively and empathetically. She used to love reading mysteries but she hasn’t picked up a book in weeks.

Her elderly mother has started to show signs of Alzheimer’s. Sally feels guilty that she is not more emotionally available to her mother. There is only so much energy to go around. Lately, Sally finds herself wondering whether she is offering quality care and whether her work makes a difference. She has begun to doubt her qualifications and sense of worth.

How Can CCT and MSC help Sally?

Burnout affects most counselors, psychotherapists, or mental health workers at some point in their careers. It can strike at any time. It stems in large part from the emotional overload of helping so many traumatized patients deal with the many challenges and crises in their lives. Working constantly with people who are in intense emotional pain takes a heavy toll on practitioners. Burnout results in suboptimal patient care and an inability to practice compassionate care and attention. It also can lead to compassion fatigue, increased depression, decreased job satisfaction, conflict in personal relationships, and psychological distress.

Compassion Cultivation Training and Mindful Self-Compassion provide caregivers with the valuable tools they need to practice mindfulness, and connect with clients — and oneself — in a compassionate way.


Karen is a school teacher and a single-parent of two teenagers. She teaches at a school where the children and parents are quite demanding. She deals with students daily who are disciplinary problems, and parents who feel that their children can do no wrong. Lately, she is constantly impatient, easily irritated by small problems, and never seems to get enough sleep.

Karen is fed up spending so many late nights grading papers, entering grades in the school database, and answering parents’ emails. She has stopped going to school meetings or joining the other teachers in the lunch room. She is worn out juggling the demands of work and raising her children. There is never any time left over for herself. Sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, and the failure to take her morning run are exacerbating her irritability. Her teenage son has started getting in trouble at school – picking fights and not handing in his homework. Karen feels that she needs to spend more time with him but how? She finds herself wondering why she became a teacher in the first place and how she can have better relationships with her children.

How Can CCT and MSC help Karen?

Teacher burnout is a serious problem in our nation’s schools. It is one of the causes of the high attrition rate among educators. Teacher burnout is characterized as physical and emotional exhaustion, isolation, and depression. It affects most educators at some point in their careers. It stems from conflicts with parents and administrators, difficult students who lack motivation or the ability to learn, low pay, and routinization.

Compassion Cultivation Training and Mindful Self-Compassion provide teachers with the valuable tools they need to practice mindfulness, and connect with students, parents, and themselves — in a compassionate way.

Compassion Cultivation Training provides teachers with the valuable tools they need to practice mindfulness, and connect with students, parents, and themselves — in a compassionate way.

High-Tech Executives

Ravi is a CEO in a Silicon Valley hi-tech start up. His life is fast-paced and stressful. He is a workaholic and a perfectionist. He spends a lot of time traveling. Lately, he has been feeling overwhelmed at work. The anxiety has begun to interfere with his ability to be productive and is causing problems in his personal life. Negative thoughts are creeping in more and more. He is short-tempered with his staff. He and his wife snap at each other constantly. He rarely gets home before the kids are in bed.

Projects have begun to pile up. Familiar tasks require more time and effort. He has been experiencing headaches, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. The feelings of tension, worry, and edginess are leading to a loss of enjoyment that extends to all areas of his life. He has no time to socialize with friends. He has begun feeling increasingly isolated and disconnected. His job is taking a serious toll on his health, performance, psychological well-being, and relationships. The chronic stress is preventing him from feeling productive or feeling good about his life. He has been having thoughts of getting a divorce and changing careers.

How Can CCT and MSC Help Ravi?

Stress, anxiety and depression are the greatest health care costs to businesses. Burnout in the corporate world results in a decreased sense of efficacy and detachment. Compassion is a powerful antidote. Compassion Cultivation Training and Mindful Self-Compassion provide a new way for business leaders to work, collaborate, and innovate with a greater sense of connection, openness, and balance in their lives. CCT and MSC can help business leaders enhance their ability to handle stressful work situations, improve time management skills, make more meaningful connections with clients, decease job overwhelm, and increase job satisfaction.


Gabriela is an attorney at a small legal nonprofit agency that serves victims of domestic violence. She was the first in her family to graduate from college and attend law school. She dreamed of becoming a public interest lawyer to help her community. She soon discovered how difficult her dream job would be.

Her caseload is high – so many survivors need her services. She is consumed with worries – whether her legal advice is correct, whether her clients will follow her advice, and whether she will be able to prevent physical harm to her clients and their children.

She finds herself working longer and longer hours to keep up with the flood of cases. She checks her phone and email constantly on nights and weekends. She rarely takes time for herself. She has no social life. When she does see family or friends, all she can talk about is the stress of her work.

She notices that a couple glasses of wine help her feel better in the evening, but her drinking has increased lately – so does her insomnia. She wakes in the middle of the night and ruminates about violent details from a client’s restraining order application. One day after a particularly stressful court hearing, she finds herself crying uncontrollably in her car, thinking “I just can’t do this anymore!”

How Can CCT and MSC Help Gabriela?

The high level of stress in the legal profession can negatively affect lawyers who work in any legal specialty. Constant pressure and tight deadlines can lead to compassion fatigue, depression, decreased job satisfaction, conflicts in personal relationships, and psychological distress.

Lawyers are especially likely to suffer from burnout.  Burnout can result in deficits in serving clients, an inability to focus attention, and difficulty in practicing compassion.  The courses in Compassion Cultivation Training and Mindful Self-Compassion can provide legal professionals with the valuable tools that they need to practice compassion for themselves and to connect with others (friends, family, and clients) in a more compassionate way.


Christy is the mother of three children – a 21-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son from her first marriage and a two-year-old son from her second marriage. She feels frazzled from morning until night, trying to hold down a high-powered job while managing a house, paying bills, looking after children, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and taking care of the dog.

Most days, she feels inadequate as a parent. She is estranged from her oldest daughter who told Christy that she wanted to “take a break from their toxic relationship,” and hasn’t called Christy in over a year. Her teenage son spends his time after school in his room, playing loud music and video games. He is rude and disrespectful. Their relationship is marked by frequent fights about homework, curfew, and driving.

This morning, her toddler had a temper tantrum when she took him grocery shopping and refused to buy him a candy bar. She felt so embarrassed at the cold stares of everyone in the grocery store while she tried to calm him down. When they returned to the car, he refused to let her buckle him into his car seat, throwing himself backward like a stiff board. She completely lost her temper and yelled at him that he was “a bad boy!” By the time she got home, she was filled with self-loathing. She tells herself that if she were a better mom, her children would measure up. She wonders how she can ever cope with her stress and anxiety.

How Can CCT and MSC Help Christy?

The stress of raising children can negatively affect parents’ self-esteem. Parents are especially likely to suffer burnout from juggling the high demands of work and childrearing. MSC and CCT can help parents, like Christy, learn how to approach parenting with mindfulness and self-compassion.

Mindful parenting does not mean being a “perfect parent.” It means accepting our shortcomings, realizing that we are only human and have legitimate needs. It means better regulating our emotions (noticing them and letting them pass without acting on them); becoming less critical and reminding ourselves that we don’t need to blame ourselves for what is happening; learning to pause before fueling our emotions with anger; avoiding impulsive reactions; trying to see conflicts through our children’s eyes; listening empathetically to children’s views and becoming more responsive to children’s needs, thoughts, and feelings.

Self-compassion is essential to fill up our tanks. Applying the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion, we learn how to notice and respond to our own needs without feeling guilty. The more grounded we feel, the better we will be able to deal with our challenges and connect with children, partners, and others in a compassionate way.