Mindful Self-Compassion 8-Week Course


“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” ~ Carl Rogers


Spring 2019 Registration is Open!

Course Logistics

Dates: Monday evenings, 7:30pm-9, February 25-April 22 (no class on April 1);
Retreat: Saturday, March 30, 9am-1pm
Location: Conference Center at SF Zen Center, 308 Page St., SF, CA 94102
Fee: $550 for 8-week class, including half-day retreat
A limited number of partial scholarships are available; please inquire.

This course is appropriate for health care professionals as well as the general public. Health care professionals will be able to incorporate the tools and practices offered in this program in ways beneficial to clients or patients.

Advanced registration is required: To register or for more information, please call 415.255.2509, email leaseigenshinrakumft@gmail.com, or contact me here.

Course Description

Mindful Self-Compassion 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.

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 in a given moment.
  • Common humanity opens us to our essential interrelatedness, 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, these components comprise a state of warm-hearted, connected presence.

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.

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

After participating in this course, you’ll be equipped 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, I am 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 2.5 hours each, in addition to a 4-hour retreat.  Prior to registering, participants should 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.

I recommend that participants read one or both of the following books before or during the program:

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

Also, this program fulfills one of the prerequisites for becoming an MSC teacher. For more information on MSC and MSC Teacher Training, please visit www.CenterForMSC.org.

For a $50 additional fee, 19 hours of Continuing Education credit will be available for those who complete the entire course. No partial or per class credit will be offered. To qualify for the 19 hours of credit, you must attend at least 6 of the 8 classes and the retreat, or all 8 classes if you miss the retreat. You must arrive within 15 minutes of the beginning of each class for your attendance to be counted, and stay until the end. Participants will be required to sign in and out of every class. See below for more information.

Course Objectives for Participating Health Care Professionals
At the end of the course, participants will be better able to:

  • Describe the three components of mindful self-compassion (mindfulness, common humanity, self-kindness)
  • Clinically apply mindfulness and mindful self-compassion practices in an outpatient psychotherapy setting
  • Distinguish what psychological problems might be exacerbated by mindfulness practice and for what conditions mindfulness practice might be contraindicated
  • Apply basic mindfulness skills to stay present to self and others
  • Apply learned mindful self-compassion skills as a response to the everyday needs and demands of one’s personal and professional life
  • Differentiate between empathy and compassion and understand the difference between compassion fatigue and empathy fatigue/burnout
  • Utilize self-compassion meditation for oneself in the context of personal and professional relationships
  • Describe three sources of resistance to the cultivation of self-compassion
  • Describe three benefits to practicing mindful self-compassion
  • Identify three ways to recognize resistance to compassion for others
  • Cite current research studies on the effects and effectiveness of self-compassion cultivation practice
  • Describe how to transform difficult emotions using mindfulness and self-compassion practices
  • Utilize mindful self-compassion practices to meet unmet relational needs in one’s personal and professional life

CEs for psychologists are provided by The Spiritual Competency Resource Center, which is co-sponsoring this program. Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content. SCRC is a California Board of Registered Nursing Provider (BRN Provider CEP11909). California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for license renewal by LCSWs and MFTs for programs from CE-approved sponsors of the American Psychological Association. For questions about CE, visit www.spiritualcompetency.com or contact David Lukoff, PhD at david.lukoff@gmail.com or (707) 763-3576.

Monthly Self-Compassion Circle

self-compassion circle

Once a month, I offer a meditation group focused on self-compassion. The format for the Self-Compassion Circle consists of a talk on self-compassion, followed by a period of meditation, and then questions and discussion. The Circle is a safe and dynamic space where people who are interested in self-compassion can find support, guidance and community; a place to gather and practice together. There is a suggested donation of $15, and all are welcome. 

The group meets at the Cultural Integration Fellowship, 2650 Fulton Street (entrance on Third Avenue) in San Francisco. Meetings generally are held on the last Monday of the month, from 6:30-8pm, unless otherwise noted. There is no meeting in December. You can also connect with the group on Meetup.

2019 dates:

Monday, January 28, 2019
Sunday, February 24, 2019
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Monday, April 29, 2019
Monday, May 20, 2019
Monday, June 24, 2019
Monday, July 29, 2019
Monday, August 26, 2019
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Monday, October 21, 2019
Monday, November 25, 2019
(no meeting in December)




Love Yourself, No Matter What is a nourishing afternoon workshop perfect for anyone interested in awakening and cultivating deeper self-compassion. I offer instruction, guided meditation, and I share the Love Yourself, No Matter What process, which I developed. There is also time for questions and discussion.


Love Yourself Whole is a day focused on resolving inner conflict and finding a greater sense of wholeness and self-acceptance. I offer practices and exercises in a retreat-like space, guiding attendees in cultivating curiosity and friendliness toward specific aspects of themselves that are challenging.

What people are saying …

“Attending Lea Seigen Shinraku’s ‘Love Yourself, No Matter What’ workshop gave me brand-new tools to tame my inner critic.  Using psychological principles, spiritual wisdom, collage, storytelling, and pair and group work, Lea helped me replace self-pummeling with self-appreciating. What a gift!” ~ Janet T.

“I was most impacted by your presence, kindness and strength in the dharma talk and the workshop. Your individual dharma and expression of that was truly life-changing.” ~ Melissa P.

“I learned that self-compassion is a vital part of being a whole person. Your empathy, compassion, openness and clear desire to help us was very helpful. That’s really what was most helpful to me; seeing that someone, not knowing me specifically, wanted to help me learn to help, love and respect myself.” ~ Greg K.

“The workshop helped me listen to myself and recognize my needs better, on a daily basis. For instance, I nourish myself when I need it, in whatever form I recognize my body/mind is communicating the need.” ~ Gina L.

“I came to Lea’s workshop looking to find a connection between self-compassion and the creative art studio process, particularly the inner critic and being ‘stuck’ and unable to follow through with studio work. The workshop helped me see that drawing, painting – any creative studio art – can be reclaimed and embodied as a practice of self-compassion. The crippling effects of trying to be creative for motivations connected with self-esteem can be clearly untangled and released. I look forward to future workshops.” ~ Scott S.


From Yelp:

“I participated in Lea’s half-day self-compassion workshop and I highly recommend it to anyone.  She held a space where I felt like I wasn’t alone is struggling with self-judgement and perfectionism, and she offered fresh ways to work with those experiences.  I’ve come back to many of the practices she taught us in the months since.  The feeling in the workshop was grounded, safe, yet there was also a lightness.” ~ Sarah W.

“Lea radiates warmth and wisdom! She generously embodies her message of self-compassion so that you can’t help but feel lighter and more at peace. I recently attended her workshop, ‘Love Yourself No Matter What’ and was touched by her humor, humility, frankness and capacity to teach us how to be loving in a way that was accessible, simple and very profound. I left feeling happy, interconnected & inspired. I highly recommend working with Lea and/or attending her workshops!” ~ Alexis L.

“Lea has a peaceful presence that helps calm the system and I love that she practices what she preaches regarding self-compassion. I attended her ‘Love Yourself No Matter What’ workshop recently and really appreciated her creation of such a serene space and her generosity of information around the subject matter. I particularly benefited from the guided meditation and left feeling very grounded. Thanks Lea!” ~ S.A.

If you would like more information on these offerings, please call 415.255.2509 or email leaseigenshinrakumft@gmail.comOr contact me here.