Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC)

Below you can learn more about the MSC Programme developed by Germer & Neff.

What is MSC?

  • MSC is an evidence-based 8-week training programme for the general population.
  • MSC specifically aims to cultivate self-compassion.
  • MSC is a mindfulness-based compassion training.
  • MSC teaches participants the core principles and practices to begin to treat themselves with kindness during moments of suffering.

Who developed MSC?

MSC was first developed in 2010 by two pioneering psychologists, Christopher Germer, PhD, and Kristin Neff, PhD. Kristin Neff was the first to conduct ground-breaking research into self-compassion in 2003. Christopher Germer has been integrating mindfulness into psychotherapy since 1980s.

What happens during MSC?

MSC is a mindfulness-based training programme in compassion.

MSC consists of 8 sessions lasting approximately 3 hours each, taking place at weekly intervals, as well as a single 4-hour retreat. Before signing up for the course, participants should intend to attend every session and to practise at least 30 minutes each day for the duration of the course.

Groups usually consist of 8 to 25 participants led by one or two trained or certified MSC teachers. Please consult our international teacher directory to find an fully qualified MSC teacher in your area .

Only certified MSC teachers may also offer the training in a 5-day intensive format. The groups at 5-day intensive programmes may be larger.

During the course participants are invited to try out various formal and informal practices which aim to facilitate a direct experience of self-compassion and which can be easily integrated into daily life. The course will consist of short teachings, guided meditations, reflection exercises, small and large group sharing and suggestions for home practice.

What is MSC not?

MSC is not a retreat because sharing of experiences is an important part of the learning process.

MSC is not psychotherapy insofar as the group training aims to train emotional resources rather than addressing old wounds. Participants are asked to take personal responsibility for how they apply these resources to their difficulties.

Who is MSC suited for?

As a non-clinical training programme, MSC was developed for psychologically stable adults. Research has shown that self-compassion enhances emotional and physical resilience and has the potential to be an effective preventative measure.

MSC trains us in giving unconditional love to ourselves when we need it the most. Whilst we usually experience this as positive and energizing, we may also experience some distressing emotions in the process. The saying “Love reveals anything unlike itself” summarizes this aspect of emotional healing. For example, we may experience normal grief, which we did not have time to process previously.

Although previous experience with meditation or mindfulness is not required, participants need to feel comfortable when exploring their inner experience of sensations and emotions with closed eyes. The course is not suitable for individuals who are easily flooded by their inner experience.

The course is unsuitable for individuals who are currently acutely psychologically unwell or under emotional duress as the format is emotionally demanding and requires a high degree of self-reflection and personal responsibility for one’s welfare.

Is MSC for me?

MSC teachers are committed to providing a safe and supportive learning environment. To ensure the safety of all participants, MSC teachers assess the suitability of all interested individuals by asking to provide background information on physical and psychological health on registering. Teachers may conduct a brief interview during which suitability is determined. Please contact the organizer of the specific course you would like to register for about their specific screening procedure.

Individuals for whom the MSC course would be inappropriate due to acute psychological difficulties may develop self-compassion during individual psychotherapy. Therapist and patient can jointly determine the pace of learning and accommodate individual needs of the patient, which cannot be done in an MSC course.

MSC TRAININGS

with Dr. Christine Brähler and colleagues: