Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC™)

MSC is an empirically-supported 8-week course designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. MSC is also available in a 5-day intensive format. It was developed by Chris Germer and Kristin Neff.

An Interview with Kristin Neff and Chris Germer about Mindful Self-Compassion – HAPPINEZ International magazine, Issue 18, December 2019

Please click on the image for an interview with Chris and Kristin about the Mindful Self-Compassion program, from HAPPINEZ International magazine, Issue 18, December 2019

In this video taken during the Compassion in Connection Conference in October, 2018, Chris shares the core principles of the Mindful Self-Compassion program, which he co-developed with Kristin Neff.

Mindful Self-Compassion (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 experience (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 caring attention from yourself when you needed it most? All that’s required is a shift in attention—recognizing that as a human being, you, too, are a worthy recipient of compassion.

Self-compassion involves the capacity to comfort and soothe ourselves, and to motivate ourselves with encouragement, when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. Self-compassion is learned in part by connecting with our innate compassion for others, and self-compassion also helps to grow and sustain our compassion for others.

Burgeoning research shows 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—to acknowledge our shortcomings, learn from them, and make necessary changes with an attitude of kindness and self-respect.

Fortunately, self-compassion can be learned by anyone.

In MSC you’ll learn to:

  • Practice mindfulness and self-compassion in daily life
  • Understand the science of self-compassion
  • Use self-compassion to live in accord with your values
  • Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
  • Work with challenging relationships
  • Manage caregiver fatigue
  • Practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation
  • Teach simple self-compassion skills to others

This program is designed for members of the general public. Meditation experience is not necessary to participate in MSC. All are welcome!

Program activities include discussion of topics, experiential exercises, meditation, small group interaction, and home practices.  MSC is an opportunity to explore how we typically respond when difficulties arise in our lives and to learn tools for becoming a warm and supportive companion to ourselves.

The MSC program 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, some difficult emotions are likely to surface during the program as we grow in our capacity to embrace and heal them. MSC teachers are committed to providing an environment of safety, support, privacy, individual responsibility, and a common commitment to developing compassion for oneself and others.

MSC is therapeutic, but it’s not therapy. The emphasis of the program is on enhancing emotional resources to meet emotional challenges, old and new. MSC is also not primarily a type of mindfulness training; MSC is mindfulness-based compassion training in which the quality of warmth is emphasized more than awareness itself.

MSC participants are asked to practice mindfulness and self-compassion at home for up to ½ hour per day during the course. In a randomized, controlled study, MSC significantly increased self-compassion, compassion for others, mindfulness, and life satisfaction, as well as decreased depression, anxiety and stress. Improvements were linked to how much a person practiced in their daily lives. For the full-text article.

It is recommended, but not required, that participants read the following book while participating in MSC:

Prior to attending a course, the following two books may also be helpful:

MSC is offered in a variety of formats, both online and in person, across the globe. We also offer MSC Teacher Training. View MSC course offerings below to find a course that aligns with your needs, location, and schedule.

MSC 8-Week Course (In person)
MSC is offered once a week for eight week and includes a half-day silent retreat.
Find a course in your area.

Live Online MSC
This 8-week MSC course contains the same content and has the same learning objectives as the in-person course, however we offer it online to increase access to those who live in areas where an in-person MSC is not offered.
Learn more about LOMSC.

2-Day Core Skills Workshop
This workshop is an in-depth opportunity for people to immerse themselves in some of the key practices and exercises of the full 8-week program in an intensive 2-day format.
Find a Workshop.

MSC Intensive Course
This format usually consists of an introductory evening, four full days of training, and a final morning of training and closing. Concentrated practice allows you to immerse yourself more deeply in MSC and experience its transformative potential.
Find an Intensive.

MSC Teacher Training
This 6-day, residential program is facilitated by a team of senior MSC teachers. Half of the training is a condensed, experiential review of the MSC program, integrating short talks, meditation, group exercises, discussion, and periods of silence. The other half of the program focuses on how to teach the core themes and skills of each session in simulated, guided, small groups. Participants will be provided with the essential materials to teach the 8-week form of MSC.
Find a Teacher Training.

Online Practice Groups:
There are a variety of online practice opportunities online, including:

This touching song was written and composed by Karen Kuflik, a practitioner of Mindful Self-Compassion. It speaks directly to the power of self-compassion and self-forgiveness to heal hidden parts of ourselves.

The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion provides information about MSC, an 8-week program designed to cultivate self-compassion skills for daily life. Founded in 2012 by Chris Germer and Kristin Neff, the center is a place where people can learn about self-compassion, find out where to train in MSC, continue to practice MSC skills, and explore how to teach MSC to others. Please go to the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion for further details.