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.

Fall 2019 Course ~ Course is Full!

Advanced registration is required.


Times and Dates:
September 9 - November 11: 6:30pm - 9pm (no class on September 30 and October 21)
Retreat - Sunday, October 20: 9am - 1pm

Teacher: Lea Seigen Shinraku

Location: Conference Center at San Francisco Zen Center
308 Page St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Fee: $550 for 8-week class, including half-day retreat

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

This course is appropriate for health care professionals as well as the general public. Health care professionals will be able to incorporate the tools and practices offered in this program in ways beneficial to clients or patients.

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 to 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

At the end of the course, participants will be better able to:

  • Describe the three components of mindful self-compassion (mindfulness, common humanity, self-kindness).

  • Apply mindfulness and mindful self-compassion practices clinically in an outpatient psychotherapy setting.

  • Explain what psychological problems might be exacerbated by mindfulness practice and for what conditions mindfulness practice might be contraindicated.

  • Apply basic mindfulness skills to stay present to self and others.

  • Apply learned mindful self-compassion skills as a response to the everyday needs and demands of one’s personal and professional life.

  • Discuss the difference between empathy and compassion, and explain the difference between compassion fatigue and empathy fatigue/burnout.

  • Utilize self-compassion meditation for oneself in the context of personal and professional relationships.

  • Describe three sources of resistance to the cultivation of self-compassion

  • Describe three benefits to practicing mindful self-compassion.

  • List three ways to recognize resistance to compassion for others.

  • Apply basic mindfulness skills to stay present to self and others

  • List current research studies on the effects and effectiveness of self-compassion cultivation practice.

  • Describe how to transform difficult emotions using mindfulness and self-compassion practices.

  • Utilize mindful self-compassion practices to meet unmet relational needs in one’s personal and professional life.

CE credit is awarded for instructional time only and does not include extended silent sitting or walking meditation, meals, etc. 

CE credits for psychologists are provided by the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) which is co-sponsoring this program. The 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 this program and its content. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association. LCSWs, MFTs, and other mental health professionals from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board as to whether or not they accept programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association. SCRC is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California. For questions about receiving your Certificate of Attendance, contact Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT at info@sfcenterforselfcompassion.com. For questions about CE, visit www.spiritualcompetency.com or contact David Lukoff, PhD at CE@spiritualcompetency.com.