September 30 – November 18
Mondays, 6:00 – 8:30 pm

Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute [Get Directions]
Room 120, Sheryl-Mar South
521 South Greensboro Street

Carrboro, NC 27510
Register Now

“This class was a game changer for me. It gave me a greater appreciation of how my own thinking shapes so much of my life. I am so much more aware of being open, compassionate to myself and others and of the journey we are all on in this life.” – MSC 8-week participant

Mindful Self-Compassion is an empirically-supported 8-week course designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. It was developed by Christopher Germer, Ph.D., a leader in the integration of mindfulness and psychotherapy and Kristin Neff, Ph.D., a pioneering researcher in the field of self-compassion.

MSC combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to enhance our capacity for emotional wellbeing.

Kristin Neff and Chris Germer, co-developers of MSC.

Mindfulness is the first step—turning with loving awareness toward difficult experiences (thoughts, emotions, and sensations). Self-compassion comes next—bringing loving awareness to ourselves. Together, mindfulness and self-compassion comprise a state of warm, connected, presence during difficult moments in our lives.

Most of us feel compassion when a close friend is struggling. What would it be like to receive the same kindness and compassion that you give to others when you suffer, fail, or feel inadequate? All that’s required is a simple U-turn—including yourself in the circle of your compassion. Self-compassion is essentially a humble enterprise.

“The class is a positive, empowering experience that gave me the tools to transform my life for the better. I have always struggled with perfectionism and an incessant inner critic, and this has long interfered with my ability to live my life to its fullest.” – MSC 8-week participant

Self-compassion involves the capacity to soothe, comfort, and validate ourselves, as well as to protect, provide for and motivate ourselves, when things go wrong in our lives.  It is learned, in part, by connecting with our natural compassion for others. Learning how to be self-compassionate also helps us sustain and expand our compassion for others.

“This class was very impactful and has really started some healing in my life. ” – MSC intensive 8-week participant

Numerous research studies show that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, coping with life challenges, lower levels of anxiety and depression, healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships. It is an inner strength that enables us to be more fully human—more fully ourselves.

Fortunately, self-compassion can be learned by anyone.

For a more information, visit:

In MSC you’ll learn to:

  • Practice mindfulness and self-compassion in daily life
  • Understand the science of self-compassion
  • Use self-compassion to live in accord with your values
  • Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
  • Work with challenging relationships
  • Manage caregiver fatigue
  • Practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation
  • Teach simple self-compassion skills to others

MSC is designed for members of the general public. Meditation experience is not necessary to participate in MSC. All are welcome! The program is based on the values of equity, diversity and inclusiveness.

Program activities include short talks, experiential exercises, meditation, group discussion, and home practices). MSC is taught in a variety of formats (e.g., face-to-face, online, full or partial trainings) to meet the needs of individuals in differing circumstances.

MSC is a journey—an adventure in self-discovery and self-kindness. Self-compassion has the paradoxical effect of both soothing our emotional distress as well as opening us to the pain that we may have been unconsciously holding inside, often for many years.  Therefore, challenging emotions are likely to surface during the program, including past trauma. MSC teachers are committed to helping participants feel safe and comfortable during the course. However, participants agree at the outset that they will take primary responsibility for their emotional wellbeing.

MSC is therapeutic, but it’s not therapy. The emphasis of the program is on building the resources of mindfulness and self-compassion.  MSC is not a substitute for medical or mental health care.

Participants should also be aware that MSC is mindfulness-based compassion training. Mindfulness and compassion go hand-in-hand, but our main purpose is compassion training.

In a randomized, controlled study, MSC significantly increased self-compassion, compassion for others, mindfulness, and life satisfaction, as well as decreased depression, anxiety and stress. Read the full-text article. Improvements were linked to how much a person practiced in their daily lives. MSC participants are asked to practice mindfulness and self-compassion at home for up to ½ hour per day, and teachers guide and support participants in that endeavor.

Highly recommended while participating in the MSC course:

It is also recommended, but not required, that participants read the following two books to get the most out of the training:


Past Events

 

August 11-14
1:00 – 5:00 pm

Instructors: Macy Ratliff and Karen Bluth

Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute [Get Directions]
Room 120, Sheryl-Mar South
521 South Greensboro Street

Carrboro, NC 27510

“At long last, a self-compassion training for teens! This delightful, innovative program captures the essence of self-compassion for an age group that needs it the most.  Wholeheartedly recommended!” Christopher Germer, Ph.D.

Making Friends With Yourself (MFY) is an empirically-supported 8-week program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion in teens. MFY teaches core principles and practices that enable teens to respond to the challenges of these critical years with kindness and self-compassion.

Adolescence is a time of change and growth. It is the period of life reserved for rebellion and self-discovery, but as the demands in life increase for teens, this time is often fraught with confusion, anxiety or depression. For many teens these challenges lead to disconnection and isolation.

In this 8-week long course which meets weekly for 1.75 hours, teens engage in developmentally appropriate activities and carefully crafted practices and meditations, which provide them with the opportunity to learn how to navigate the emotional ups and downs of life with greater ease.   Backed by research, findings indicate increases in emotional well-being and greater resilience after taking the course.

“So like stressful situations and stuff happens… I’m able to handle it more easily and more quickly, and able to, I don’t know, to calm myself down and put it into perspective.” – Teen participant

Following in the footsteps of the adult MSC program, MFY is rooted in the three key components of self-compassion: self-kindness, common humanity and mindful, balanced awareness. These elements serve to open the hearts of teens to their own suffering, so they can learn to give themselves what they truly need, recognize that they are not alone in their suffering, and encourage an open-minded acceptance of the struggle they are facing.

“It’s cool to see after we took [the class] how much life in general has improved, like not necessarily the situations, but the ways I can handled it. This is so important, so I’m going to take it again and then maybe make it even better.” – Teen participant

This curriculum was adapted from the adult Mindful Self-Compassion created by Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, and has been endorsed by the founders.

Hear what other teens have to say about this program which was sponsored by The Benji Project in Port Townsend, Washington:

Articles about the program:


Listen to Karen Bluth give a talk about the research on Making Friends with Yourself at the Mindfulness in Education Network conference.

 

FAQs for teens only:

  1. What is this program about?

It’s about learning ways to not be so hard on yourself, and still be motivated and get things done.

 

  1. What actually happens in the class?

We talk about what mindfulness and self-compassion are, we watch short videos, play a few games, learn how to do a music meditation, do a little bit of mindful art at the beginning of each class, and learn ways to de-stress in the moment when we start feeling overwhelmed.

 

  1. Do I have to participate in everything?

No. You never have to participate in anything that you don’t want to.

 

  1. Am I going to have to talk about my feelings? What if I don’t want to?

You never have to talk about anything that you’re not comfortable discussing. FIRST AND FOREMOST, this program is about being kind to yourself. So, if it doesn’t feel like you’re doing something kind for yourself, you don’t have to do it.

 

  1. I think you’re just saying that. I think once I get there, you’re going to find ways to make me participate.

Nope! We’re serious. This isn’t school 😊.

 

  1. How do you know that this program will help me not stress as much?

Through a number of research studies, we know that when teens are kinder to themselves, they have less depression, anxiety, and stress. So in this program, we “build” the self-compassion muscle. Just like lifting weights builds arm muscles, learning self-compassion builds resilience de-stress muscles.

 

  1. My parent/therapist/coach/teacher thinks I should take this class but I don’t trust them. They’re an adult and they think they know me but they don’t really. Why should I take it?

Well, certainly don’t take it to make them happy! Take it to make you happy, because lots of teens have talked about how it has really helped them, and they don’t feel as stressed as they used to. Watch the Benji Project video to see what teens say about the program!

 

  1. Who teaches this class?

Karen Bluth (one of the developers of the program), Laura Prochnow Phillips, and Macy Ratliff teach it. You will get 2 of the 3 of us as instructors in your class. Read about us here.

 

  1. I have a ton of questions about this program that aren’t listed here. Why aren’t they?

We’re just building this website. Fill out our Contact Us form or send questions to me, Karen Bluth, at bluth@med.unc.edu and I will answer them directly to you and maybe post them here (because other teens may have similar questions). If you don’t want me to post your question, just let me know.