William James College Continuing Education Programs

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Formerly the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP)

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Self-Compassion in Clinical Practice - 2017

Jun 02, 2017 09:00am -
Jun 02, 2017 04:30pm

Event Description

Master Series in Clinical Practice

Co-sponsors: The Continuing Education Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Major Teaching Hospital of Harvard Medical School; Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; and William James College.

The Master Series affords the chance to spend a complete day with leaders in our field to consider the unique perspective each speaker brings to the challenging dilemmas in both theory and practice. We hope that you will consider joining us for the entire series at a reduced tuition or choose the programs most relevant to your own practice.

Christopher Germer, PhD, instructor

Self-compassion is a simple, yet remarkably elusive, state of mind. It entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism. Self-compassion also means holding our difficulties in mindful awareness. It’s an antidote to relentless striving to “improve” or “fix” ourselves, which often exacerbates emotional difficulties. Clinicians often wonder how they can help their patients feel less vulnerable between sessions - how to make therapy “rub off”. The art of self-compassion is a portable, therapeutic relationship (self-to-self) that can be taught to clients. Therapists can also practice self-compassion themselves, to deepen therapeutic presence, to enjoy clinical work more thoroughly, and for an overall sense of well-being. Self-compassion is a key element of mindfulness when we contact suffering.  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. Research has shown that self-compassion enhances emotional wellbeing, reduces anxiety and depression, helps to maintain healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and is related to better personal relationships. A recent meta-analysis of the research demonstrated that self-compassion is an important explanatory variable for understanding mental health and emotional resilience (MacBeth & Gumley, 2012). Despite impressive scientific evidence for the connection between self-compassion and emotional wellbeing, explicit training in the skill of self-compassion is relatively rare.  The instructor of this program (Germer) co-developed an 8-week training program in self-compassion modeled on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1990).  A randomized, controlled trial of the self-compassion program showed that self-compassion training increases mindfulness, self-compassion, life satisfaction, and compassion for others and decreases anxiety and depression (Neff & Germer, in press).  Key principles and practices of this self-compassion training program will be taught to participants on this course.


Specific learning objectives:

  • Describe the theory and research supporting mindful self-compassion

  • Motivate themselves with encouragement rather than self-criticism

  • Respond to feelings of failure or inadequacy with self-kindness

  • Describe how to transform difficult relationships, old and new, through self-validation

  • Integrate core mindfulness and self-compassion exercises into daily life

Program Code: MS94

6 CE/CME Credits

Location: William James College, Newton

Christopher K. Germer, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in the Boston area, specializing in mindfulness- and compassion-oriented psychotherapy. He is a Lecturer on Psychiatry, Part-Time, at Harvard Medical School and a founding faculty member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy and the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, Cambridge Health Alliance. With Kristin Neff, PhD, Dr. Germer developed the empirically-supported, 8-week, Mindful Self-Compassion program. He conducts workshops and lectures internationally on mindfulness and self-compassion, is co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy, and author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion.

Event Type:Continuing Education Program
Category:Master Series (Clinical)
Early registration ends on Aug 09, 2016.
Regular registration starts on Aug 10, 2016 and ends on May 22, 2017.
Late registration starts on May 23, 2017.



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One Wells Avenue | Newton, MA 02459 | 617-244-1682 | 617-327-6777
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