8-Week Mindful Self-Compassion Classes

Mindful Self-Compassion is an empirically-supported, 8-week training program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion so you can practice it in everyday life.

Spring 2018 Registration Is Open!

Advanced registration is required.


Times and Dates:
February 26 - April 16: 7pm - 9:30pm
Retreat - Saturday, March 31: 9am - 1pm

Teacher: Lea Seigen Shinraku

Location: Cultural Integration Fellowship
2650 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94118
(enter on Third Avenue)

Fee: $450 for 8-week class, including half-day retreat

A limited number of partial scholarships are available; please inquire.

For a $50 additional fee, 19 hours of Continuing Education credit will be available for those who complete the entire course. No partial or per class credit will be offered. To qualify for the 19 hours of credit, you must attend at least 6 of the 8 classes and the retreat, or all 8 classes if you miss the retreat. You must arrive within 15 minutes of the beginning of each class for your attendance to be counted, and stay until the end. Participants will be required to sign in and out of every class. See below for more information.

About Mindful Self-Compassion

Based on the groundbreaking research of Kristin Neff and the clinical expertise of Christopher Germer, Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult moments in their lives with kindness, care and understanding.

The three key components of self-compassion are self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and balanced, mindful awareness.

  • Kindness opens us to suffering, so we can give ourselves what we need in each moment.
  • Common humanity opens us to interconnectedness, so we know we're not alone.
  • Mindfulness opens us to the present, so we can accept our experience with more ease.

Together, these components comprise a state of warm-hearted, connected presence.

Self-compassion can be learned by anyone, even those who didn’t receive enough affection in childhood or who feel uncomfortable when they are good to themselves. It’s a courageous attitude that stands up to harm, including the harm that we unwittingly inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-isolation, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically ourselves.

A rapidly expanding body of research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional well-being, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships.

After participating in this course, you’ll be equipped to:

  • Practice self-compassion in daily life
  • Understand the empirically-supported benefits of self-compassion
  • Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
  • Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • Transform challenging relationships, old and new
  • Manage caregiver fatigue
  • Practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation

What to Expect

Program activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. MSC is a workshop rather than a retreat. The goal is for participants to directly experience self-compassion and learn practices that evoke self-compassion in daily life.

MSC is primarily a compassion training program rather than mindfulness training like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), although mindfulness is the foundation of self-compassion. MSC is also not psychotherapy insofar as the emphasis of MSC is on building emotional resources rather than addressing old wounds.  Positive change occurs naturally as we develop the capacity to be with ourselves in a kinder, more compassionate way.

It is said that “love reveals everything unlike itself.” While some difficult emotions may arise when practicing self-compassion, I am committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for this process to unfold, and to making the journey interesting and enjoyable for everyone.

MSC includes 8 weekly sessions of 2.5 hours each, in addition to a 4-hour retreat.  Prior to registering, participants should plan to attend every session and practice mindfulness and self-compassion at least 30 minutes per day throughout the program.


No previous experience with mindfulness or meditation is required to attend MSC. To insure safety, participants are asked to provide background information when they register for the program.

I recommend that participants read one or both of the following books before or during the program:

  • Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Kristin Neff
  • The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, by Christopher Germer

Also, this program fulfills one of the prerequisites for becoming an MSC teacher. For more information on MSC and MSC Teacher Training, please visit www.CenterForMSC.org.

Course Objectives for Participating Health Care Professionals

Based on the content of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe three components of mindful self-compassion (mindfulness, common humanity, self-kindness);
  • Identify three resistances to practicing mindful self-compassion and three benefits to practicing mindful self-compassion;
  • Describe the difference between compassion fatigue and empathy fatigue;
  • Describe how soothing touch can be incorporated into mindful self-compassion meditations;
  • Use and teach loving kindness with self-compassion meditation;
  • Demonstrate how to shift inner self-talk from self-criticism to self-compassion;
  • Identify three situations where the compassionate friend meditation could be useful;
  • Describe how soften-soothe-allow meditation could be used to work with shame;
  • Be able to use a touchstone as a skillful reminder to practice the mindfulness element of mindful self-compassion;
  • Demonstrate how sharing worries and concerns in a letter to a friend can effectively evoke self-compassion;
  • Be able to teach a partner how to use a self-compassion break;
  • Be able to use mindfulness of body sensations, such as Soles of the Feet or a Sense and Savor Walk, to evoke experiences of self-compassion;
  • Generate their own personal loving kindness phrases to practice self-compassion.

CEs for psychologists are provided by The Spiritual Competency Resource Center, which is co-sponsoring this program. Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for the program and its content. SCRC is a California Board of Registered Nursing Provider (BRN Provider CEP11909). California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for license renewal by LCSWs and MFTs for programs from CE-approved sponsors of the American Psychological Association. For questions about CE, visit www.spiritualcompetency.com or contact David Lukoff, PhD at david.lukoff@gmail.com or (707) 763-3576.