Teacher Training in Mindful Self-Compassion

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.

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.

Live Online Teacher Training, LOTT
The MSC program has been in development since 2009, and a MSC training manual was published in Swedish 2020 (Natur och Kultur). Centre for Mindfulness Sweden is an officially-designated host for Teacher Training in Sweden since 2016.

CMSC is Pleased to Announce a New Format for Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training

To date, teacher training in Mindful Self-Compassion has been offered as a 6-day residential intensive with groups from 30 to 60 trainees, typically with one teacher trainer per 14 trainees. This is a model that has worked well over the years and CMSC expects it to be the “gold standard” for MSC teacher training for the foreseeable future.

However, there are a number of factors that make an online Teacher Training potentially useful as an alternative to in-person training.  A few of the features of this online, cohort-based model are:

  • Eliminating barriers for people in isolated geographical regions
  • Enabling people with physical challenges and disabilities to participate much more easily
  • Reducing financial barriers by cutting the total cost of attendance (including travel) at an in-person teacher training by more than half in many cases. People also would not need to miss a week of work or close a private practice for a week.
  • Providing a more intimate, personalized experience with significantly more contact between trainees and trainers over a 12-week period rather than 6 days. This format also provides a much smaller cohort of trainees with more opportunity to develop supportive relationships with peers.
  • Allowing trainees to experience the full MSC program as participants for a second time in the demonstration program, which does not happen in current teacher training. In addition, many teacher trainees have taken MSC as a 5-day Intensive, and so experiencing an 8-week MSC course would be extremely valuable.
  • Providing a week between sessions of teaching or teachbacks for preparation, review of reading material, and personal MSC practice
  • Providing an opportunity for the cohort members to connect between sessions through the online platform of the MSC Teacher Café with a private space dedicated to the cohort for mutual support, encouragement and camaraderie.

Please Note: This teacher training is primarily intended to train people to teach the in-person 8-week MSC course, as teaching MSC online is a much more complex endeavor. However, due to the ongoing global crisis, we realize that opportunities for teaching in-person are very limited at this time. As such, CMSC has put provisions in place to enable new teachers to teach MSC online. CMSC now offers a supplementary 4-hour training to be completed after the Teacher Training Practicum, to prepare teachers to teach in this format.

This Live Online Teacher Training (LOTT) includes the following elements:

  1. A cohort of 24 trainees who have met all the usual pre-requisites for MSC Teacher Training (see below). NOTE: No exceptions to these requirements will be made.
  2. Registrants will complete a Teacher Training application during the registration process that will also include an item or two addressing online learning and the registrants concerns or desires about this format of training.
  3. Upon acceptance into the training, all participants are required to purchase the Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program (in Swedish Att lära ut mindful self-compassion: En guide för dig som leder 8-veckorsprogrammet) book and to read Part 1 of that book prior to the start of the training.
  4. Trainees must attend and participate in ALL scheduled sessions to successfully complete the program. Trainees who miss more than one session of the MSC course or the teacher training component may not be allowed to complete the training

Participation Requirements
The standard pre-requisites 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
  • Previous participation in an 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) course or 5-day Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive. (Live Online MSC does not typically counted as a substitute for an in-person course).*
  • Attendance in at least one 5-day silent, teacher-led, mindfulness-based meditation retreat. Some MSC silent retreats are listed here, however the retreat does not need to be MSC-based in order to meet the requirement.*
  • Experience teaching meditation in groups
  • *Due to the pandemic, we are now permitting Live Online MSC and other online versions of the standard 8-week course, to count as a valid pre-requisites. Certain online silent retreats, run by well-established retreat centers and reputable teachers may also count toward the silent retreat pre-requisite, subject to the discretion of the Center for MSC. 

 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 and give you time to embody the practices of MSC. However, you may register for teacher training at any time after you complete the MSC course.
  • Other mindfulness-based training programs do not count as a substitute for the standard MSC course pre-requisite.
  • You do not have to be a mental health clinician to take the MSC Teacher Training

Becoming an MSC Teacher – the Teacher Training Pathway

  • Step 1 – 6-Day Residential Teacher Training or 12-Week Online Cohort-Based MSC Teacher Training
  • Step 2 – Teacher Training Practicum (TTP)
  • Step 3 – Teach first MSC course with Zoom Consultation
  • Step 4 – Apply for Trained Teacher status
  • Step 5 – Certification– trained MSC teachers are eligible to START the pathway towards certification after teaching at least 3 MSC courses. This step is optional, and most teachers don’t become certified.

Teaching MSC
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
Our ability to teach others depends largely on discovering the power of self-compassion in our own lives and 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 help 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.

Needs Assessment
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 offered by the Center for Mindfulness Sweden and Center for MSC.

Length of training: 12 weeks
How many: 24 participants
Where: Online
Dates and pricing: Look at the Registration tab
Last day for application: ?
Teachers/co-teachers: ?? from Center for MSC, US and Camilla Sköld

Teacher: ??

Co-teacher: Camilla Sköld, PhD is a registered physiotherapist with a basic training in cognitive relational psychotherapy who is an international certified teacher trainer in Mindfulness based Stress Reduction, MBSR. She has been teaching the MSC program in Stockholm since 2014. She is the founder of Center for Mindfulness Sweden and she initiated the first academic course in Mindfulness-based approach at the medical university, Karolinska Institutet, KI in 2007. She gained her undergraduate and doctoral at KI in Stockholm. Her doctoral degree is in neuroscience.

Training Sessions Include:

  1. Two initial introductory 3-hour sessions in the first week.
  2. Nine-week, 3 hours per session MSC course (led by two Certified MSC teachers who are not the Teacher Trainers), with a one-week break in Week Eight of LOTT.
  3. Weekly “teachback” (practice teaching) sessions of 1.75 hours in groups of 12 held between each session of the online MSC program (each session led by one trainer as a sub-cohort with a mid-course re-assignment to new sub-cohorts). There are two Teachback sessions (in Week Six and Seven) that are 3 hours long.
  4. A final 3-hour wrap-up session to address next steps, nuts and bolts of teaching MSC and CMSC policies, procedures and ethical guidelines.
  5. All trainees who successfully complete the online teacher training (just like those who complete the traditional in-person training) will then be eligible to join a Teacher Training Practicum as the next step in their process toward becoming a Trained Teacher of MSC.

MSC Trained Teacher Status:

This online training is the first step in a three-step process towards becoming a fully trained MSC teacher authorized to teach the 8-week MSC course. For more information about the MSC teacher training pathway, including pre-requisites and stages of training, please view this page on Becoming an MSC Teacher.

Online learning is not for everybody. Some people thrive in an online environment and others don’t.  Everybody is different. Please ask yourself, honestly, if you feel you can be as present and embodied in the online environment as you might be when you are physically present with someone. In this teacher training, we will be providing multiple opportunities for trainees to interact with one another, even more than in the regular teacher training, but some people might have a deeper and more comfortable learning experience when they are with others in person. Kindly reflect on your own learning needs before applying for this training.

All books are available on Bokus, Adlibris or Amazon. When registered to this training you will receive a discount code, which give you 25% off for the books in Swedish at Natur & Kultur.

  • On Becoming a MSC Teacher: A Mountaineer’s Guide to Building the Resource of Mindful Self-Compassion
by Christine Braehler, Steven D. Hickman, and Christopher Germer
  • Mindful Self-Compassion: Så bygger du inre styrka och hållbarhet med självmedkänsla. Kristin Neff och Christopher Germer, Natur & Kultur 2019 or in English The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A proven way to accept yourself, build inner strength and thrive. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, Guilford Publications 2018.
  • Att lära ut mindful self-compassion: En guide för dig som leder 8-veckorsprogrammet. Christopher Germer och Kristin Neff, Natur & Kultur 2020 or in English Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Professionals by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer
Mindful Self-Compassion av Kristin Neff och Christopher Germers MSC for Professionals in Swedish FINAL

  • Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
  • The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions by Christopher Germer
  • Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing by David Treleaven
  • Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy by Christopher Germer and Ronald Siegel
  • Mindfulness and Psychotherapy – Second Edition by Christopher Germer, Ronald Siegel and Paul Fulton
  • The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert
  • The Mindfulness Solution by Ronald Siegel
  • Self-Compassion: Step by Step. CD set by Kristin Neff