Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program

Train in Self-Compassion

Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an empirically-supported, 8-week training program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. Based on the groundbreaking research of Kristin Neff and the clinical expertise of Christopher Germer, MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult moments in their lives with kindness, care and understanding.

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.

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.

Rapidly expanding research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships.

Fortunately, self-compassion can be learned by anyone.

Dr. Kristin Neff, co-creator of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) course,
describes three core elements of self-compassion

In the MSC course, you’ll explore how to:

  • Practice self-compassion in daily life
  • Understand the empirically-supported benefits of self-compassion
  • Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
  • Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • Transform challenging relationships, old and new
  • Manage caregiver fatigue
  • Practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation
  • Teach simple self-compassion skills to others

content adapted from https://centerformsc.org/train-msc/

Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.
– Brené Brown

What To Expect
Program activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. MSC is a workshop rather than a retreat. The goal is for participants to directly experience self-compassion and learn practices that evoke self-compassion in daily life.

MSC includes 8 weekly sessions of 2 3/4 hours each, in addition to a 4-hour retreat. 

Prior to registering, participants should plan to try to attend every session and practice mindfulness and self-compassion at least 30 minutes per day throughout the program. Home practice can include informal “on-the-go” practices in the midst of daily life and/or dedicated time for formal meditations and exercises.

No previous experience with mindfulness or meditation is required to attend MSC. Because practicing self-compassion can bring painful emotions and experiences to the surface, participants are asked to provide background information when they register for the program to ensure / plan for safety.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? — Mary Oliver

Heather Shaughnessy-Cato, MSC Teacher-in-Training
Teaching Assistant – to be announced

Forms and additional information:

Recommended Resources for MSC Course

The following book is highly recommended as a companion to the MSC course:

  • The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer

Additional recommended books, before or during the course, are:

  • Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Kristin Neff
  • The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, by Christopher Germer

Additional resources:

This program fulfills one of the prerequisites for becoming an MSC teacher. For more information on MSC and MSC Teacher Training, please visit http://www.centerformsc.org

Meet our facilitator

Photo by Morgan Sessions on Unsplash

Facilitator and Teacher: Heather Shaughnessy-Cato

Healing the heart is my favorite topic to explore, study and teach. I am excited to provide offerings in the community that provide tools, practices and methodologies to tackle life’s many challenges with more wisdom and ease.

After working in non-profit and higher education development roles for 13 years, I completed a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, with professional training experience as a counselor / therapist in a hospital health setting and a college counseling center.  In this work, I integrated mindfulness and self-compassion regularly into my work with individuals and groups. I also had the honor of teaching yoga, mindfulness, self-compassion and meditation in university and college settings and in communities.   

I am inspired by the clients and students with whom I have worked — by the creative ways in which they applied wisdom teachings to get unstuck, to grow in their ability to love themselves, and to face heartbreaking realities with courage and resilience.

As I continue to engage deeply in my own self-compassion practice, I have an appreciation for the many challenges that present themselves along our path to transformation and change.  I tend to approach teaching with some humility, humor and an invitation to be honest about, explore, and learn from all of my experiences. For me, there are riches to be discovered in these experiences, and our work is to see what we might uncover and how we might use what we learn to help ourselves evolve (with courage, compassion and kindness!).

I have found immense healing, insight and wisdom in my own life through these embodied practices.  I am delighted to also be positioned to also teach these practices. I hope to have the opportunity to work with you, and to see what we might discover!

About me:

Co-founder and Partner, Fieldbrook Advising
Designing Your Life – Certified Facilitator
Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher-in-Training
Yoga teacher, 200-hour vinyasa yoga teaching certification
Part-time stay at home parent


  • M.A., Clinical Mental Health Counseling, UNC Charlotte
  • B.A. in Psychology and B.A. in Sociology from the State University of New York at Geneseo


  • 13 years experience in development and fundraising for non-profits and in higher-education
  • 9 years as a mind-body teacher (yoga, mindfulness, self-compassion)
  • 3 years as a therapist, under supervision while working toward licensure

Professional trainings and workshops

  • Community for Deepening Practice (self-compassion) – 8 month, weekly online program (currently underway)
  • Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training
  • Designing Your Life Facilitator Training
  • Mindful Self-Compassion Core Skills (2-day)
  • Mindful Self-Compassion 5-Day Intensive
  • 5-Day Tools for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
  • Trauma-Informed Yoga Training
  • Children’s Trauma-Informed Yoga Training
  • Vipassana 10-day silent meditation course
  • Designing Your Life for Women workshop
  • 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva with Pema Chodron
  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

‘i love myself.’









Nayyirah Waheed