Self-Compassion in Clinical Practice with Teens

-A certificate program for clinicians who work with teens and young adults-

Therapists who work with teens understand that adolescence is a particularly sensitive period of growth. It is a time of uncertainty that teens can struggle to navigate successfully. In addition, as many therapists know, sending a teen out into a world that does not always feel hospitable can be heartbreaking. In recent years, self-compassion has emerged as a powerful intervention that may serve as an antidote to suffering. Learning basic skills in self-care can help teens see themselves more clearly and negotiate life with greater success, thus improving their overall quality of life.

In recent years, there has been a significant interest in integrating self-compassion into clinical practice for psychotherapists who work with adolescents and their families. The intention of this project is to provide a quality training pathway that assures practical foundational training as well as personal and professional development in mindfulness and self-compassion. This pathway includes case observation, professional consultation and review of teacher competence in supervision.

Clinicians will participate in this immersive experience to explore themes, rationales and key concepts that form the foundation of mindfulness and self-compassion training and learn how to integrate these concepts and meditations into their therapeutic work with teens. This course provides a pathway for participants to earn certification in Self-Compassion in Clinical Practice with Teens (SCiCP).

Course Overview

This course is a journey—an adventure in self-discovery, self-kindness and self-regulation. Mindfulness and compassion have 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, difficult emotions may surface during the course as we grow in our capacity to embrace and heal them. The teachers are committed to providing an environment of respect that includes safety, support, privacy, individual responsibility, and a common commitment to developing compassion for oneself and others.

Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is a prerequisite for this course and provides the foundation for cultivating a personal practice. Participants will have an opportunity to practice meditations, engage in exercises, short didactic talks, group discussions, and home practices. The goal is to provide a foundational knowledge of mindfulness and self-compassion.

The first module (MFY) orients participants to the adaptation of MSC for teens. Experiencing the adaptations first hand will help to prepare participants of SCiCP for integrating the material into their psychotherapy practice.

The second module is a series of three webinars, each covering specific content relevant to adolescent development, the therapeutic relationship, clinical presentations, barriers to incorporating self-compassion in therapy and trauma sensitive self-compassion. These webinars are followed by live engagement sessions to support participants to consolidate their learning, have their questions answered and deepen their understanding of the topics.

The third module consists of guest presentations on topics such as neurodevelopment, the application of self-compassion to clients in different settings and presenting with different clinical needs, working with resistance and managing challenges. Participants will have the opportunity to connect live with guest presenters for Q & A sessions, following each topic.
The fourth module will consist of a 10 week practicum where participants will join a peer group supervision with one of the course presenters. During these ten weeks, participants will present case studies from their own clinical practice, demonstrate their skills and learning via teach backs and engage in reflective supervision of their work.

Pre-Requisites (Participant Guidelines)

The prerequisites for taking the SCiCP  are:

  • Attendees will be registered clinicians who specialize in working with teens, pre-teens and families in clinical practice.
  • Attendees will have completed the MSC 5-day intensive or 8-week course.

It is recommended, but not required, that participants read the following two books prior to commencing Module II (retreat):

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

Target Audience

This workshop is intended for psychotherapists who specialize in working with teens, pre-teens and families in clinical practice. This may include behavioral specialists who work in a residential treatment facility or a hospital setting.

Course Outlines

Module I: MFY 2-day Core Skills training*
Module II: SCiCP 2-day Online Retreat
Module III: Core Webinars and Q&A Discussions
Module IV: Topic Presentations from guest presenters
Module V: Practicum and live supervision

*Attendees who have completed MFY teacher training will not be required to participate in the 2-Day MFY core skills Module.

Course Description and Objectives for Each Module

This is a journey into the contemporary science of stress, trauma, resiliency, neuroscience, mindfulness and self-compassion. Integrating self-compassion into clinical practice with teens requires exposure to the foundational teachings of mindfulness and self-compassion and the cultivation of therapeutic presence through personal practice.

Prerequisite: Introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion (5-day intensive or 8-week)

  • indful Self-Compassion is the foundation for this SCiCP for Teens intensive. This program focuses on individual skill development through practice and development of a sustainable, personal practice that integrates self-compassion into the rhythms of daily living at work and home.

Module I: Mindful Self-Compassion-Teens (Trauma-informed) 2-day Core Skills

  • Exposure to an adapted, trauma-sensitive model of MSC-T 8-week curriculum for teens.
  • Create and sustain a greater capacity for meeting the suffering of teens through cultivation of mindfulness and compassion practices.
  • Preview on teaching self-compassion to teens in a clinical environment: behavioral issues, group management, adaptation of practices that may be activating for survivors of trauma.
  • Create a skillful way of observing mindful self-compassion and the sensitivity of bringing it to a range of teens in different contexts.

Module II: SCiCP 2-day Online Retreat

  • The intention of the retreat is to create an opportunity for clinicians to begin developing a community with a shared vision that supports mutual learning based on deep embodied experience of various practices. The participants will uncover a common bond based on interest in integrating self-compassion into clinical practice.
  • Begin creating a community that will support and help to sustain one another on this journey.
  • Embody an authentic ethos, grounded in the discipline of awareness, the practice of compassion.
  • Deepen personal practice.
  • Share experiences to emphasize and strengthen common humanity.

Module III: Core Webinars

Webinars will take the form of both pre-recorded and live sessions (90 min. each). The webinars will be followed by live engagement sessions (90 minutes each) with the presenter to provide an opportunity for questions and reflections.

Webinar topics:
1. Therapeutic presence and relationship; Role of inquiry
2. Integration of SC interventions into psychotherapy with teens
3. Trauma sensitive mindful self-compassion

Module IV: Topic Presentations from guest presenters

Throughout the training, participants will hear from guest presenters on how self-compassion relates to:

  • Neurodevelopment and neuroplasticity during adolescence
  • Creativity and a therapist’s toolkit.
  • Working with teens in different clinical contexts (eg. inpatient, residential, refugees, community health)
  • Management of challenging behaviors, treatment resistance and clinical presentations
  • Movement and body based therapies

Guest presentations will take the form of one and a half hour pre-recorded webinars where attendees will send questions to be answered in a follow-up live engagement session.

Module V: Practicum and live supervision

Following completion of the core webinars and guest topic presentations, participants will be allocated to a supervisor and peer group for ongoing live supervision, case discussions and peer support.

Assessment of competence

Completion of the course will be awarded upon successful assessment of competence via:

  • Case presentations
  • Demonstration of leading SC practices
  • Participation in live engagement sessions

Tentative Schedule

  • MSC – 5-day or 8-week program
  • MFY 2-day Core Skills
  • Retreat: 2-day
  • Webinars: Three 90-minute webinars, followed by three 90-minute engagement sessions over three weeks.
  • Topic Modules: Five 90-minute webinars, followed by five 90-minute Q/A sessions over 5- weeks.
  • Practicum: Four practicum/supervision small group sessions over 4-weeks.

Schedules for each program will be announced early December 2020.

Recommended Reading

  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness by Jon Kabat Zinn
  • Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
  • The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer

Registration Fees

Fees are variable for each training. Please see the listing for your preferred event (sidebar) for its specific pricing.

Partial Payments

Partial payments are acceptable; however a non-refundable minimum deposit of $300 USD is due upon registration.

Please be aware that the early-bird rate is available for all participants who register and pay their balance in full by the early-bird deadline (see registration information above). All early-bird rate participants who have a remaining balance on or after the early-bird deadline will have their fees automatically adjusted to the General Session Rate.

All remaining balances must be paid in full 30 days prior to the start of the training or your registration will be cancelled for non-payment and you will not be permitted to attend.

Online Application Form

During the registration process, you will be asked to complete an online Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy Application. On the application form, you’ll be asked to write a description of your mindfulness and self-compassion training history (if any) and personal practice, your clinical training/background, motivation and intention for the training and submit your CV/Resume and a letter of support from a mentor, colleague or supervisor, preferably their employer or partner agency.

Your application for this training will not be taken under consideration until the application form has been submitted. Should your qualifications not be accepted for admittance, a full refund will be granted.

Cancellation Policy

A refund (minus your $300 non-refundable and non-transferable 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, UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is responsible only for a full refund of the registration fee and not for transportation, hotel accommodations or any miscellaneous expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where will the training be held?

This course is delivered in an on-line format using the virtual platform. Registration and login details will be sent via email one week prior to the course commencing.

What do I do if I’m having technical difficulties?

You can access technical support by contacting Please ensure you have a reliable internet connection and digital device with a camera and microphone.

How do I access the 5 day intensive or 8 week MSC course?

A 5 day intensive will be offered by … in order to meet the prerequisite requirements for this program. You can enroll via this link…

I can’t log in at the scheduled time, will it be recorded for me to view later?

Some components of the course are pre-recorded and will be available for you to watch for up to 30 days, at your convenience. It is a requirement of the course that you are online to participate in the live components. Please ensure that you carefully read the course schedule and convert it to your time zone. (check on who owns videos)
What if I have to miss a supervision session? Can I make it up?

It is permissible to miss 20% of the course live sessions and still meet the course requirements.

I have already completed the MSC and MFY training, do I need to do it again?

No, if you have already completed these two components you do not need to repeat them or do the 2-day MFY Module. The first module of your course will be the retreat.


It is the policy of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine to ensure balance, independence, objectivity and scientific rigor. All persons involved in the selection, development and presentation of content are required to disclose any real or apparent conflicts of interest. All conflicts of interest will be resolved prior to an educational activity being delivered to learners through one of the following mechanisms: 1) altering the financial relationship with the commercial interest, 2) altering the individual’s control over CFM content about the products or services of the commercial interest, and/or 3) validating the activity content through independent peer review. All persons are also required to disclose any discussions of off label/unapproved uses of drugs or devices. Persons who refuse or fail to disclose will be disqualified from participating in the CFM activity.