“The privilege of the lifetime is being who you are”

Joseph Campbell

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.

Mindful Self-Compassion is a practice that offers us the opportunity to reply with kindness and understanding to our everyday challenges instead of criticizing ourselves; to respond instead of react; and to acknowledge the fact that we are not alone in our difficulties.

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 unwittingly inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-isolation, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically ourselves.

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. And it’s easier than you think.

After participating in this workshop, you’ll be able 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

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 is primarily a compassion training program rather than mindfulness training like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), although mindfulness is the foundation of self-compassion.  MSC is also not psychotherapy insofar as the emphasis of MSC is on building emotional resources rather than addressing old wounds.  Positive change occurs naturally as we develop the capacity to be with ourselves in a kinder, more compassionate way.

It is said that “love reveals everything unlike itself.” While some difficult emotions may arise when practicing self-compassion, MSC teachers are committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for this process to unfold, and to making the journey interesting and enjoyable for everyone.

MSC includes 8 weekly sessions of 3 hours each, in addition to a 4-hour retreat.  In order to benefit the most from the program it is highly recommendable that participants plan to attend every session and practice mindfulness and self-compassion at least 30 minutes per day throughout the program.


No previous experience with mindfulness or meditation is required to attend MSC. To insure safety, participants are asked to provide background information when they register for the program.


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


Prof. Dr. Susan Bögels is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, specialized in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for children and their families, and mindfulness trainer. She works as professor in developmental psychopatholoy at the University of Amsterdam and is the director of the academic treatment clinic for parents and children UvA minds and the academic training center UvA minds You in Amsterdam. Her main research themes are the intergenerational transmission of psychopathology and mindfulness for parents and children.

Dr Maja Wrzesien has a PhD in clinical psychology, and she is a researcher in the field of emotion regulation, mindfulness and compassion at the University of Amsterdam. She is a certified mindfulness trainer affiliated with UvA Minds You, an academic clinic center, and is teacher in training of mindfulness self-compassion, and mindfulness self-compassion for teens programs. For more information about her work please visit www.majawrzesien.com


(trainings only take place with sufficient sign-ups)

Numbers of sessions: 8 (24 hours) + voluntary 4 hours mini silent retreat 
Dates: 17/05, 24/05,  31/05, 7/06, 14/06, 21/06, 28/06,  5/07,  30/06 (silent day 2-6pm)
Time: 9.30 -  12.30

Number of participants: Between 6-20

Costs: €500, including Workbook

For more information please contact:

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Date: 17/05, 24/05, 31/05, 7/06, 14/06, 21/06, 28/06, 5/07, 30/06 (silent day 2-6pm)
Day: Thursday
Time: 9.30 - 12.30

Trainers: prof. dr. Susan Bögels & Maja Wrzesien
Costs: €500,- including workbook