Mindful Self-Compassion: 5-Day Residential Intensive

Registration is now closed.

Dates: Sunday, August 23 - Friday, August 28, 2015

Location: Providence Renewal Centre, Edmonton AB 

Registration Deadline: August 19, 2015

For someone to develop genuine compassion towards others,
first he or she must have a basis upon which to cultivate compassion,
and that basis is the ability to connect to one’s own feelings and to care for one’s own welfare…
Caring for others requires caring for oneself.

– Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama 

Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an intensive training retreat version of an empirically-supported 8-week program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. Based on groundbreaking research by Kristin Neff and integrated with the clinical perspective of Christopher Germer, MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult emotions with kindness and understanding.

The three key components of self-compassion are self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and balanced, mindful awareness. Kindness opens our hearts to suffering, so we can give ourselves what we need. Common humanity opens us to others, so that we know we aren’t alone. Mindfulness opens us to the present moment, so we can accept our experience with greater ease. Together they comprise a state of warm, connected, presence during difficult moments in our lives.

Self-compassion can be learned by anyone, even those who didn’t receive enough affection in childhood or who feel uncomfortable when they are good to themselves. It’s a courageous attitude that stands up to harm, including the harm that we inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-denial, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, forgive ourselves, motivate ourselves with kindness, care for others, and be fully human.

Rapidly expanding research clearly demonstrates that self-compassion is related to emotional wellbeing, lower anxiety and depression, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships.

*Please note that this is the first step towards teacher certification in Mindful Self-Compassion. The next teacher training program is October 24-30, 2015 at Whidbey Institute, outside Seattle. For more information see http://mbpti.org/msc-mindful-self-compassion-teacher-training.


At the completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • describe the theory and research supporting mindful self-compassion
  • motivate themselves with encouragement rather than self-criticism
  • relate to difficult emotions with greater moment-to-moment acceptance
  • respond to feelings of failure or inadequacy with self-kindness
  • begin to transform difficult relationships, old and new, through self-validation
  • practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation
  • integrate core mindfulness and self-compassion exercises into daily life
  • teach simple self-compassion practices to patients, students, or clients


Steven Hickman, PsyD is a clinical psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor in the UC San Diego Departments of Psychiatry and Family & Preventive Medicine. He is also the founder and director of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. Dr. Hickman has been teaching mindfulness, in the form of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and more recently, Mindful Self-Compassion for twelve years and has co-led a number of MBCT teacher trainings as well.


Michelle Becker, M.A., LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in San Diego, CA utilizing mindfulness and compassion based psychotherapy with individuals, couples, families and groups. She is Director of Compassion Programs at the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness where she also teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindful Self-Compassion. She is a teacher trainer for Mindful Self-Compassion and co-founder, along with Dr.’s Germer, Neff and Hickman, of the Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training. She is also co-founder of the San Diego Center For Well Being and co-developer of the Mindful Living for Couples program. Michelle enjoys helping individuals, couples, families and groups to find a meaningful and satisfying way of life.


Target Audience

This program is designed for members of the general public, as well as for professionals who wish to integrate self-compassion into their work. Participating in a MSC program satisfies a prerequisite for becoming a MSC program teacher, and teacher training will begin at the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness in 2014. Meditation experience is not necessary to participate in this 5-day MSC program for professionals. All are welcome!


Program activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices.  The goal is to provide a safe and supportive environment for exploring how we typically respond when difficult emotions arise and to provide tools for becoming a warm and supportive companion to ourselves. The emphasis of the program is on enhancing emotional resources and personal capacities. For more information on self-compassion, please see www.Self-Compassion.org and www.MindfulSelfCompassion.org

Participant Guidelines

The MSC program is a journey—an adventure in self-discovery and self-kindness. Compassion has the paradoxical effect of both soothing and comforting as well as opening us to emotional distress that we may have been unconsciously holding inside, often for many years. Therefore, some difficult emotions are likely to surface during the program as we grow in our capacity to embrace and heal them. The teachers are committed to providing an environment of safety, support, privacy, individual responsibility, and a common commitment to developing compassion for oneself and others.

It is recommended, but not required, that participants read the following two books before the training retreat:

  • Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristin Neff
  • The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer

Needs Assessment

Over the past few years, mindfulness has become mainstream in the general population and is being increasingly integrated into professional practice (e.g.,mental health, medical care, education, business, law). As the demand grows, the demand for quality professional training in these practices and techniques is growing each year.  Self-compassion is a “trending health term” (Reader’s Digest, 2012) and an area of burgeoning research that is following in the wake of mindfulness.  However, misunderstandings about self-compassion abound, such as conceptual confusion with self-esteem, self-indulgence, and existing notions of self-care.  Despite impressive scientific evidence for the connection between self-compassion and emotional wellbeing, explicit training in the skill of self-compassion is relatively rare. This course at the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is the first empirically-supported self-compassion training offered in the United States for professionals and the general public.

Accommodation Package Information

For those staying at Providence Renewal Centre, please select one of the following options from the list below. Please note that there are a limited number of single and double rooms available. (Full meal package includes 3 meals and twice daily snacks):

  • Double occupancy:
    Shared room, en-suite bath ($200) + Full Meal Package ($245) + Registration ($895) = $1340 ($1240 with early bird discount)
  • Single occupancy: 
    Own room, shared bath ($225) + Full Meal Package ($245) + Registration ($895) = $1365 ($1265 with early bird discount)
  • Single occupancy (en-suite bath): SOLD OUT

For those commuting daily to Providence Renewal Centre, we invite you to participate in a full retreat experience by sharing meals with the rest of the group. To facilitate community and promote a retreat environment, commuters are asked to choose one of two options for meal packages, and are strongly encouraged to participate in the Full Meal Package* (3 meals per day plus snacks).

  • *Full Meal Package with 3 Meals & Snacks ($245) + Registration ($895) = $1140 ($1040 with early bird discount)
  • Two Meal Package with Lunch, Supper, & Snacks ($200) + Registration ($895) = $1095 ($995 with early bird discount)

Please note: All prices are in Canadian funds and include GST. To purchase Continuing Education credits, please click here.

If you prefer to register by mail, please complete the registration form, which includes instructions for registration, and include a Canadian money order. 

Cancellation Policy: 

A refund (minus a $300 non-refundable deposit) will be made for cancellations submitted in writing 30 days prior to the training. No refunds will be allowed after that date. In the unlikely event that the course is cancelled, The Mindfulness Institute.ca is responsible only for a full refund of the registration fee and not for transportation, outside hotel accommodation, or any miscellaneous expenses. 

Student Scholarships

Two student scholarships are available with proof of full-time student status (i.e. copy of unofficial transcripts or official letter from your school) and a short essay (250-500 words) on why you want to take this course.

To be considered for the scholarship, you must also register above and submit the full payment (this ensures your spot in the course). If you are awarded the scholarship, your registration fee will be reduced to $250, plus the cost of your commuter or accommodation package. (You will be reimbursed $545 if you registered by the early bird deadline of June 23, 2015, or $645 if you registered after June 23.)

The scholarship application can be sent to joyce@mindfulnessinstitute.ca with the subject line MSC Student Scholarship. Please confirm in your email that you have registered for the course.

Deadline for scholarship application: July 15, 2015. You will be notified by August 1, 2015.


Providence Renewal Centre
3005 - 119 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Tentative Schedule 

Day One
Registration: 1:00-5:00pm
Dinner: 5:30-6:30pm
First Session: 7:00-8:30pm

Days Two-Five
Morning Session: 9:00 am-12:00pm
Afternoon Session: 2:30-5:00pm

Day Six
Morning Session: 9:00-11:30am
Lunch: noon
Farewells: 1:00pm