"...the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side."
Next MSC Course Begins in May 2023
Immersion in the 8 week Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) course in Perth, offers the possibility for you to experience some of the evidence based benefits of MSC, as shown in research, through the Centre of Mindful Self-Compassion in the US. This course was created by Dr Kristen Neff and Dr Chris Germer and it is their full program that you will experience with me.
There are three main themes we investigate in Mindful Self-Compassion:
Mindfulness: cultivation of the capacity to be aware of and open to the unfolding of experience, both pleasant and unpleasant, in any moment. Throughout the course we begin to hold gently, kindly and compassionately whatever we are experiencing. Bringing tender care to ourselves.
Common Humanity: this aspect allows for a real felt sense of not being alone in our struggles. Overtime it is possible to acknowledge and believe that we are not alone in whatever it is that is troubling us. A term I like is "just like me". Not matter what I am experiencing there are other humans in this world, "just like me".
Self-Kindness: this is tricky, because we are so often not on our own sides. Instead our inner voices can be incredibly harsh and unwelcoming. In fact, if we spoke to others the way we so often speak to ourselves we'd likely drive people away. Beginning to befriend ourselves, being kind and compassionate to ourselves in the face of everyday challenges, is a key component of living with compassion. When we are kind to ourselves, taking a much friendlier stance towards ourselves, the benefits ripple out to all those around us.
I often tell people that Mindful Self-Compassion, this invitation to take time everyday to nurture and nourish ourselves is not "self-fish" but rather its a "self-less" act. For the very reason that the time we spend nurturing and nourishing our own hearts and minds benefits everyone else.
If you are ready to begin to make friends with yourself in a safe and nurturing environment, then joining the MSC 8-week course may be just what you're looking for.
About The Mindful Self-Compassion Course
Who Can Participate?
Anyone open to cultivating and integrating Mindful Self-Compassion.
Although not absolutely essential, I find that those who have an already established mindfulness practice, through attending a program like the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course, or Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, find that they gain more from MSC, as they have already established a felt experience of and the benefits from living mindfully.
In saying that, if you have never practiced mindfulness before, you are still very welcome to join us, as MSC is taught in such a way that there are no prerequisites.
What to Expect
The MSC course is a group based program, where compassion, common humanity and kindness, along with the qualities of non-judgement, trust, patience, respect, generosity, equity, and inclusion are infused into the teaching and group dynamic.
MSC extends across 8 weeks with 8 x 3 hour weekly classes and a 5 hour retreat session on a weekend.
In each class you'll experience MSC meditation practices and reflections, engage in paired and group discussions, in a way that feels right for you, and learn some of the theory around the concepts being introduced.
Between each session you'll be invited to take what you learn from the session into your everyday life by incorporating MSC activities and meditations into your daily routine. You'll be supported to do this with a course book and access to audio recorded meditation practices.
Weekly Session Topics
Session 1: Discovering Mindful Self-Compassion - in this session we take time to get to know each other and become oriented to the MSC course. We explore what self-compassion is and isn't and explore the links between self-compassion and wellbeing.
Session 2: Practicing Mindfulness - in this session we step into learning the art of mindfulness, that is cultivating present moment, non-judgmental awareness of experience. We experience a breath meditation, imbued with savouring and appreciation, and we explore how resistance so often causes suffering.
Session 3: Practicing Loving-Kindness - in this session we unpack the differences between loving-kindness and compassion and begin to evoke, as best as we can, a felt sense of loving-kindness and compassion. This is a step towards bringing loving, compassionate awareness to ourselves.
Session 4: Discovering Your Compassionate Voice - in this session we continue with generating loving-kindness and begin to first notice our inner harsh critical voices. From there we begin to cultivate a more kind and compassionate inner voice to motivate ourselves towards the positive change we want to make in our lives. This is certainly not wishy washy or soft, I've engaged professional AFL players and coaches in the cultivation of an "inner compassionate coach" with great benefit to their wellbeing and performance.
Session 5: Living Deeply - in this session you will engage in reflections and activities to support you in discovering your core values and how to reorient to these in your daily life. You'll also learn how to use the breath to cultivate compassion and self-compassion for yourself and others and engage in compassionate listening and speaking activities.
Session R: Retreat Day - this whole day retreat allows you to step away from the busyness and chaos of everyday life and spend a whole day nourishing and nurturing yourself. You get to engage wholeheartedly in many of the practices you have already become familiar with throughout the course, have time to mindfully savour time in the tranquil gardens and practice some gentle, refreshing guided mindful movement.
Session 6: Meeting Difficult Emotions - in session 6 its time to begin bringing mindfulness and self-compassion to difficult situations. You will get to do this in the safety of the group as we open up to self-compassion as an antidote to shame and embarrassment. There will be time to enjoy a sense and savour walk, opening to all of the beauty and good around you as you walk, and a compassionate body-scan.
Session 7: Exploring Challenging Relationships - here we begin to explore self-compassion and relationships. We explore self-compassion and equanimity as resources to ease and prevent caregiving fatigue. We go beyond compassion for ourselves and begin to see more clearly how the self-compassion we have been cultivating towards ourselves ripples out to others in our lives and the benefits this brings to our relationships.
Session 8: Embracing Your Life - in our final class together, you're invited to deliberately practice savouring, gratefulness and self-appreciation as ways to shift away from the negativity bias (we are all naturally wired with a strong negativity bias) and instead intentionally generate and experience the good all around you, in every moment, even the tough moments. An opening to Grateful Living. You 'be guided in reflections on all that has unfolded across the 8-week MSC course and I'll encourage you to make a positive intention to bring Mindful Self-Compassion into your everyday life, as you move beyond the course.
"People with higher levels of self-compassion exhibit lower levels of maladaptive self-evaluative processes (shame, fear of failure, anxiety) and higher levels of adaptive self-evaluative processes like self-belief and pride."
Kaufman et al 2018