about the course

Fall Mindful Self-Compassion Course

We aim to make the course accessible to all– “pay what you can” option available.  Please be in touch to inquire.

With Self-Compassion, we bring kindness, understanding and care to ourselves in moments of difficulty, just as we would do for a good friend.

This course is open to anyone who would like to learn the skills of self-compassion, regardless of meditation experience.  All are welcome!

This companion workbook is required for the course.  Register by September 15th and receive the workbook for free. 

Click here to learn more  including learning objectives.

October 8 through December 10, 2023
10am – 12:30pm EDT
Note: Half Day Retreat Sunday November 12 from 10 am – 2 pm



Class size is limited. 
We aim to make this course accessible to all–”pay what you can” option available. 
Please be in touch to inquire.


What To Expect

Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an empirically-supported 8-week course designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. It was developed by Christopher Germer, PhD, a leader in the integration of mindfulness and psychotherapy and Kristin Neff, PhD, a pioneering researcher in the field of self-compassion. We have adapted the 8-week curriculum to 10 weeks for zoom;  classes are 2 1/2 hours per week and the 7th week is a 4 hour retreat.

MSC combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to enhance our capacity for emotional wellbeing. Mindfulness is the first step – turning with loving awareness toward difficult experiences (thoughts, emotions, and sensations). Self-compassion comes next – bringing loving awareness to ourselves. Together, mindfulness and self-compassion comprise a state of warm, connected, presence during difficult moments in our lives.

Most of us feel compassion when a close friend is struggling. What would it be like to receive the same kindness and compassion that you give to others when you suffer, fail, or feel inadequate? All that is required is a simple U-turn – including yourself in the circle of your compassion.  Self-compassion is essentially a humble enterprise.

Self-compassion involves the capacity to soothe, comfort, and validate ourselves, as well as to protect, provide for and motivate ourselves, when things go wrong in our lives.  It is learned, in part, by connecting with our natural compassion for others. Learning how to be self-compassionate also helps us sustain and expand our compassion for others.

Numerous research studies show that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, coping with life challenges, lower levels of anxiety and depression, healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships. It is an inner strength that enables us to be more fully human—more fully ourselves.

And fortunately, self-compassion can be learned by anyone!

MSC is designed for members of the general public. Meditation experience is not necessary to participate in MSC.  All are welcome! The program is based on the values of equity, diversity and inclusiveness. Participants should also be aware that MSC is mindfulness-based compassion training.  Mindfulness and compassion go hand-in-hand, but our main purpose is compassion training.

Program activities include short talks, experiential exercises, meditation, group discussion, and home practices).  MSC is a journey – an adventure in self-discovery and self-kindness. Self-compassion has the paradoxical effect of both soothing our emotional distress as well as opening us to the pain that we may have been unconsciously holding inside, often for many years.  Therefore, challenging emotions are likely to surface during the program, including past trauma. MSC teachers are committed to helping participants feel safe and comfortable during the course. However, participants agree at the outset that they will take primary responsibility for their emotional wellbeing.

MSC is therapeutic, but it’s not therapy. The emphasis of the program is on building the resources of mindfulness and self-compassion.  MSC is not a substitute for medical or mental health care. In a randomized controlled study, improvements were linked to how much a person practiced in their daily lives.  MSC participants are asked to practice mindfulness and self-compassion at home for up to ½ hour per day, and teachers guide and support participants in that endeavor.

MSC has a number of learning learning objectives:

  • Describe the theory and research supporting mindful self-compassion
  • Develop and apply self-compassion practices to motivate themselves with encouragement rather than self-criticism
  • Assess and manage difficult situations and emotions with greater moment-to-moment acceptance
  • Develop and apply self-compassion practices to respond to feelings of failure or inadequacy with self-kindness
  • Transform difficult relationships, old and new, through self-validation
  • Utilize the art of savoring and self-appreciation to overcome negative attention bias
  • Apply core mindfulness and self-compassion practices into daily life
  • Demonstrate simple self-compassion practices to patients, students, or clients

The Mindful Self-Compassion program can benefit those who are new to mindfulness practices and also experienced meditators. No previous experience with mindfulness or meditation is required. Registration for the course is required, and participants are asked to provide background information when they register. This course fulfills a requirement for MSC Teacher Training. For more information on MSC and MSC Teacher Training, please see the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion.

Tracy Ochester

My journey into mindfulness and compassion cultivation was inspired by a desire to help therapy clients reduce suffering – I learned firsthand, through personal practice, their beneficial effects on wellbeing. Ashtanga yoga provided a doorway into greater embodiment, making the stillness practices more accessible to me. I believe that we’re best able to help alleviate the suffering of others when we attend to our own (as they are inseparable) and I take great joy in sharing the gifts of mindfulness and compassion with others.
I am a psychologist, Certified Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Teacher, a Trained Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) teacher, a co-teacher of MBSR, and a trained yoga teacher. It is my heart’s work to serve as coordinator for the Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness (MAM). I have also completed Stanford University’s Compassion Cultivation Training, Nonviolent Communication training, the Pachamama Game Changer Intensive for social and ecological justice, Joanna Macy’s The Work That Reconnects, Socially Engaged Buddhism Certification through the Upaya Institute, and trainings in Trauma Informed Yoga and Embodied Activism. In addition to teaching mindfulness classes, workshops, retreats and seminars through MAM, I co-teach Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging for the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion and “Dying into Life: A Yearlong Experiment in Renewal, Self-Compassion, and Courage” for the Community for Deepening Practice (CDP). I believe that mindfulness can be a pathway for learning the fundamental skills necessary for personal and collective wellbeing.

Nancy Lustgarten– I have been a licensed acupuncturist in Massachusetts since 2000. In October, 2008, I attended The School for The Work of Byron Katie. I then began the coaching branch of my practice, facilitating Inquiry, as well as integrating this work into my acupuncture practice. In 2015, I enrolled in a 2 1/2 year meditation program called The Three Doors. The teachings in this program are rooted in the Dzogchen tradition of Bon Buddhism, and emphasize the power of meditation for self-discovery, personal transformation, and benefitting others. After completion of this program, I began to lead guided mindfulness classes. Then in 2019, I discovered the Mindful Self-Compassion program, which was a perfect addition to my 3 Doors training. My personal practice was so enhanced by this new material that I went on to complete MSC Teacher Training in January 2020. It brings great fulfillment for me to share the MSC course with others, as my own life and “inner voice” has been softened by these practices.  I have been offering a weekly drop-in mindfulness and self-compassion guided practice since the start of the pandemic–Please contact me for more information and a zoom link.