MSC is offered in various different formats, settings and time frames. No prior mindfulness or self-compassion experience is required – however courses are often attended to develop this life-enhancing resource for those who’ve already completed an 8-week mindfulness course.

MSC is a skill that can be learnt by anyone. For most of us being kind and supportive to ourselves does not come naturally. We know it is a good idea in principle but the ‘how’ of it can be a bit of a mystery. Many of us hold old messages about kindness to ourselves being selfish, self-indulgent, weak or letting ourselves off the hook too easily. Exploring these beliefs, the role of the inner critic, how to work with difficult emotions like anger and shame, and finding motivation through kindness rather than fear are all themes explored in the MSC course.

group in field MSC
silent retreat sunny group

Mindful self-compassion training offers simple, practical ways to learn how to be as supportive to yourself when you are struggling as you would be to someone you really care about. See more about the different training and retreat options below:

The 8 Week Programme

The 8 Week Mindful Self-Compassion Programme teaches core principles and skills that enable us to respond to difficult situations and emotions, with the same compassion that we would extend to others we care about. Sessions are generally of 2.30hrs to 3 hrs each, with an additional 4-hour retreat afternoon included. Each session includes meditations, group discussion, and experiential exercises to explore the following themes:
  • Bringing mindfulness and self-compassion into daily life;
  • Handling difficult situations and emotions with greater ease;
  • Motivating ourselves with kindness rather than self-criticism;
  • Growing and sustaining compassion for others to improve relationships;
  • Practicing the art of savouring and self-appreciation;
  • Exploring the role of self-compassion in caregiver fatigue;
  • Developing an understanding of the science around how self-compassion works.
You are given lots of support and resources to help you begin to integrate this new way of relating to yourself, and others, in to your life including in particular guided meditations to practice in between sessions. This course also meets the requirements for attending Teacher Training.

The 5 Day Intensives

The 5 Day Residential Intensive format is an intensive training retreat version of the 8-week program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. It includes all the same content of the 8 week course plus a retreat afternoon, silent time and space to nourish yourself and relax in the comfort of a retreat setting, away from busy life distractions. The MSC Intensive is a great way to learn all the remarkable tools and valuable skills to live a self-compassionate life, especially if your schedule makes it difficult to commit to the 8 week training. Only Certified Teachers share the 5 day programme. This course also meets the requirements for attending Teacher Training.

The 2 Day MSC Core Skills

2 Day Core Skills Training offers an opportunity for people to immerse themselves in some of the key practices and exercises of the full 8-week program in an intensive format. At the completion of this training participants will be able to identify the three key components of self-compassion, describe key research that supports the benefits of self-compassion, practice techniques to increase self-compassion in everyday life and use self-compassion to alleviate caregiver burnout.

Introductory Taster Sessions

These sessions are taught in person or online, usually from 1 to 2hrs long, and give an overview of:

  • the benefits of MSC training;
  • the theories and research that supports this programme;
  • an experiential taste of the MSC practices;
  • some explanation of how to integrate MSC skills into your daily life.

A great way to meet some teachers and get a felt sense of this approach.


Retreats are generally residential, and the emphasis is looking after ourselves, nourishing our self-compassion both through our practice and through time for relaxation. Varying in length from one day to 7 they are designed by the teachers themselves rather than following a set programme. However, all MSC retreats will include familiar guided meditations, and extended periods of silence so you can deeply explore and learn as much as possible from your own experience. On longer retreats first evenings are usually an orientation session followed by days during which you alternate the sitting or lying and movement practices that you will have learned on your mindful self-compassion course to enhance and deepen mindfulness, loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. There’s often also considerable amount of practice time outside in nature. In the evenings the teachers may offer talks and you may also have one individual interview with a teacher where you can discuss your practice, and how you are finding the retreat.

To attend an MSC Retreat it is required you have completed an MSC course either over eight weeks or in an intensive (usually five-day) format.