1st Edition

Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program A Guide for Professionals

By Christopher Germer, Kristin Neff Copyright 2019

    This is the authoritative guide to conducting the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program, which provides powerful tools for coping with life challenges and enhancing emotional well-being. MSC codevelopers Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff review relevant theory and research and describe the program's unique pedagogy. Readers are taken step by step through facilitating each of the eight sessions and the accompanying full-day retreat. Detailed vignettes illustrate not only how to teach the course's didactic and experiential content, but also how to engage with participants, manage group processes, and overcome common obstacles. The final section of the book describes how to integrate self-compassion into psychotherapy. Purchasers get access to a companion website with downloadable audio recordings of the guided meditations. Note: This book is not intended to replace formal training for teaching the MSC program.

    See also two related resources for MSC participants and general readers, The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook, by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, and The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, by Christopher Germer.

    I. Self-Compassion: Theory, Research, and Training
    1. An Introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion
    2. What Is Self-Compassion?
    3. The Science of Self-Compassion
    4. Teaching Self-Compassion
    II. On Teaching Mindful Self-Compassion
    5. Understanding the Curriculum
    6. Teaching Topics and Guiding Practices
    7. Being a Compassionate Teacher
    8. Facilitating Group Process
    9. Engaging in Inquiry
    III. Session by Session
    10. Session 1: Discovering Mindful Self-Compassion
    11. Session 2: Practicing Mindfulness
    12. Session 3: Practicing Loving-Kindness
    13. Session 4: Discovering Your Compassionate Voice
    14. Session 5: Living Deeply
    15. Session R: Retreat
    16. Session 6: Meeting Difficult Emotions
    17. Session 7: Exploring Challenging Relationships
    18. Session 8: Embracing Your Life
    IV. Integrating Self-Compassion into Psychotherapy
    19. Mindful Self-Compassion and Psychotherapy
    20. Special Issues in Therapy
    A. Ethical Guidelines
    B. Companion Reading
    C. Resources


    Christopher Germer, PhD, has a private practice in mindfulness- and compassion-based psychotherapy in Arlington, Massachusetts, and is a part-time Lecturer on Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance. He is a founding faculty member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy and of the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion. His books include The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook and The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion (for the general public) and Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program, Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy, and Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, Second Edition (for professionals). Dr. Germer lectures and leads workshops internationally. His website is https://chrisgermer.com.

    Kristin Neff, PhD, is Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture at The University of Texas at Austin and a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research. Her books include The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook and Self-Compassion (for the general public) and Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program (for professionals). She is also author of an audio program, Self-Compassion: Step by Step, and has published numerous academic articles. She lectures and offers workshops worldwide. Together with Christopher Germer, Dr. Neff hosts an 8-hour online course, "The Power of Self-Compassion." Her website is https://self-compassion.org.

    "Wise and heartfelt, visionary and thorough, this guide is a rich and practical treasure. The work of Germer and Neff is an invaluable gift for our times.”--Jack Kornfield, PhD, author of A Path with Heart

    “This outstanding, inspiring book comprehensively draws together the impressive body of work on the MSC program. The book is deeply personal--the authors share their motivations and process as they embarked on this work--and also offers a big vision for the potential of the practice of self-compassion across cultures, ages, and contexts. The authors ground the writing in a clear overview of the current research evidence. At the heart of the book is crystal-clear guidance on the content and process of MSC. It is an invaluable guide and companion for MSC teachers as well as other professionals who are integrating self-compassion practices in their work."--Rebecca Crane, PhD, Director, Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University, United Kingdom

    "Our world is crying out for compassion. But compassionate action presupposes self-compassion--an attitude we urgently need to learn, an attitude that can indeed be taught. In this pioneering work, Germer and Neff describe how to teach self-compassion step by step. Professionals who want to introduce self-compassion to their clients to enhance their psychological resilience and emotional well-being will find this book a rich resource."--Brother David Steindl-Rast, cofounder, www.gratefulness.org

    "Over the past decade, Germer and Neff have spearheaded a revolution that has spread rapidly around the globe. MSC teaches us to extend compassion to ourselves--instead of simply mindfully witnessing--which can create parallel ripples in how we treat one another. This book describes the tools and techniques that Germer and Neff have developed to teach MSC. I urge you to learn about this approach and join Germer and Neff in helping people change how they relate to themselves."--Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance

    “The innovative approach to self-compassion training pioneered by Neff and Germer is internationally recognized for helping people learn to be kinder to themselves. MSC has set countless people free from the tyranny of hostile self-criticism; consequently, there has been a growing need to understand how to teach the program. Based on years of experience and research, this clearly written, step-by-step book outlines the central features and focus of MSC. It is full of insightful and practical guidance, and will be a source of wisdom for all interested in how to help people bring more compassion to themselves and others."--Paul Gilbert, PhD, FBPsS, OBE, Centre for Compassion Research and Training, University of Derby, United Kingdom

    "Years of refinement have gone into making MSC the preeminent self-compassion training program, and now its creators have given us a great gift--a text that helps the professional develop an MSC program from the ground up. The book brings us up to speed on the theory and science of self-compassion, guides us through the nuances of teaching it, and presents a detailed session-by-session outline. This well-written resource is essential reading for any helping professional interested in teaching self-compassion."--Russell L. Kolts, PhD, Department of Psychology, Eastern Washington University