Helping Teens Thrive

-Integrating Mindfulness & Self Compassion in Work with Teens-

Therapists, educators and other professionals who work with teens understand that adolescence is a particularly sensitive and robust period of growth. It is a time of uncertainty that many teens struggle to navigate successfully. In addition, as many professionals 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, the classroom for educators and even into the pediatricians office and sports specialists, who work with teens. 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 a two-part foundational course in mindfulness and self-compassion with additional advanced seminars in professional consultation and review of teacher competence in supervision.

Participants 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 work with teens. This course provides a pathway for participants to earn certification in Self-Compassion with Teens.

Course Overview

This introductory course is a journey—an adventure in self-discovery, self-kindness and self-regulation. Mindfulness and self-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 training as we grow in our capacity to turn toward and embrace 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.

Exposure to both mindfulness and self-Compassion are a prerequisite for this training and provide 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.

  1. The first workshop orients participants to the foundational teachings of mindfulness and self-compassion and supports the development of a personal practice. Experiencing conceptual teachings first hand will help to prepare participants for integrating the material into their individual disciplines with teens.
  2. In Workshop II, participants will be taught the specifics of Teaching Self-Compassion to Teens. This will include exposure to conceptual teachings, meditations and exercises that have been adapted specifically for teens. Course materials will include a 9-week curriculum that can be delivered in a group format or form the basis of individual work with teens. In addition to the above content, the workshop will provide training specific to areas such as: creating a safe container; working with resistance; assessing trauma/ mental health risks in adolescence; and inquiry as a method for helping teens cultivate self-awareness. The training in Workshop II will be delivered as a four-day intensive.
  3. Subsequent advanced workshops will be oriented toward specific disciplines and occupational settings, such as self-compassion in psychotherapy, education and higher education, medicine, sports and peak performance, juvenile justice and a final workshop on the application of self-compassion in parenting. Each workshop will include a series of three webinars including guest presenters and are designed to cover specific content relevant to engaging with teens in specific settings, along with adolescent development and barriers to incorporating 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.
  4. After completion of Workshop II, participants will be invited to engage in ten hours of consultation and supervision. During these sessions, 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.

Core Workshops

Workshop I: An Introduction to the Foundations of Mindfulness & Self Compassion, and the cultivation of personal practice {3 day training - pre-recorded and live sessions} {18 hours}

Workshop II: Foundations of Teaching Self-Compassion to Teens [4 day training - pre-recorded & live session] {24 hours}

Advanced Workshops

Workshop III: Advanced Application of Self-Compassion in Therapy with Teens [Clinical Settings] [2-day training - pre-recorded & live session]

Workshop IV: Advanced Application of Self-Compassion in Education [High School] [2-day training - pre-recorded & live session]

Workshop V: Advanced Application of Self-Compassion in Education [Higher Education] [2-day training - pre-recorded & live session]

Workshop VI: Advanced Application of Self-Compassion in Sports & Peak Performance [2-day training - pre-recorded & live session]

Workshop VII: Advanced Application of Self-Compassion in Juvenile Justice [2-day training - pre-recorded & live session]

Workshop VIII: Advanced Application of Self-Compassion in Parenting [2-day training - pre-recorded & live session]

*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 our work with teens requires exposure to the foundational teachings of mindfulness and self-compassion and the cultivation of therapeutic presence through personal practice.

Workshop I: An Introduction to the Foundations of Mindfulness & Self Compassion and the Cultivation of Personal Practice

Mindfulness and Self-Compassion are the foundation for this training intensive. The program focuses on individual skill development through conceptual teachings, personal practice and integration of practice into the rhythms of daily living at work and at home.

Objectives for Workshop I:

  • Participants will develop a personal practice that will foster emotional regulation, interoceptive body awareness, embodiment, empathy and psychological safety.
  • Participants will utilize the Three Affect Regulation Systems Model in relation to themselves and teens they work with.
  • Participants will be better able to integrate core mindfulness and self-compassion practices into daily life.
  • Participants will be better able to relate to difficult emotions with greater moment to moment acceptance and meet difficult emotions with kindness and compassion.
  • Participants will demonstrate an ability to motivate themselves with encouragement rather than self-criticism.
  • Participants are able to explain their conceptual knowledge of mindfulness and self-compassion.

Workshop II: Foundations of Teaching Self-Compassion to Teens

There is a significant demonstrated interest among professionals around the globe in the topic and practice of integrating both mindfulness and self-compassion into various disciplines. As the evidence for mindfulness and self-compassion as viable interventions for youth and families grows, so does the interest in professional training. UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is a leader in the field and is uniquely positioned to be THE training and certifying body for these professionals.

The aim of this project is to establish and disseminate a sound and respected program of training and certification that assures: quality foundational training and personal experience in self-compassion practice; formal professional training; and professional consultation that includes case observation and review. Such a program would conclude with formal awarding of a Certificate in Teaching Mindfulness and Self-Compassion to Teens, with the possibility of advanced study and practice for those who are interested.

A further aim of this project is to begin with an offering in English but to quickly move to multilingual adaptations of the program to accommodate a wide range of international therapists.

Objectives for Workshop II:

  • Participants will use the skills learnt through their personal practice to create psychological safety for teens.
  • Participants will demonstrate how to work with teens' resistance and motivate themselves with kindness.
  • Participants will be able to discuss why self-compassion is more stable than self-esteem.
  • Participants will be able to identify backdraft and/or trauma in teens.
  • Participants will be able to utilize the skills learnt to teach teens self regulation, self awareness and self compassion.
  • Participants will design an appropriate, brief intervention based on the teachings of mindfulness and self-compassion for teens they work with.

Pre-Requisites (Participant Guidelines) for Workshop II

  • Attendees will have prior experience in working with pre-teens, teens and families through one of the following fields:
  1. Psychology/Counseling/Psychotherapy/Family Therapy 
  2. Teaching/Education
  3. Medicine/Nursing/Psychiatry/Pediatrics
  4. Juvenile Justice/Rehabilitation
  5. Sports Coaching/Mentoring
  • Attendees will have completed either an 8-week or 5-day MSC course OR the 3-day foundation course in Mindfulness & Self-Compassion (Workshop I).

Workshops III-VIII: Advanced Application in various setting, including guest presentations

This series of workshops is intended to delve deeper into the specifics of integrating MSC with teens in various professions and occupational settings. Participants will learn from guest presenters who are experts in their fields and have the opportunity to explore case examples and questions specific to their work with teens. These workshops will take the form of three self-paced webinars, followed by a live engagement and Q&A session.

Consultation and Supervision

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

Target Audience

These workshops are designed for any professional who regularly engages with teens, pre-teens and families through their line of work. This may include therapists, mental health clinicians, teachers, in-patient and out-patient medical and nursing staff, behavioral specialists, coaches, mentors and those involved in the juvenile justice system.

Assessment of competence

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

  • Completion of the core workshops (Workshops I and II)
  • Participation in live engagement sessions and mentoring
  • Demonstration of leading SC practices
  • Case discussions

Participant Guidelines 

It is recommended, but not required, that participants read the following three books prior to commencing Workshop II:

  • Teaching Self-Compassion to Teens by Lorraine Hobbs & Niina Tamura
  • Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
  • The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer

Recommended Reading

  • Teaching Self-Compassion to Teens: Lorraine Hobbs, Niina Tamura
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness: Jon Kabat Zinn
  • Self-Compassion: Kristen Neff
  • The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Chris Germer
  • Fierce Self-Compassion: Kristin Neff

Registration Fees and Partial Payments

Partial payments are acceptable; however a non-refundable minimum deposit of $100 USD is due upon registration for each workshop.

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. 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 application form. 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, and your motivation and intention for the training.

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 $100 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 a virtual platform. Registration and login details will be sent via email within one week prior to the course commencing. The pre-recorded videos will be made available via a Learning Lab.

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?

You can check our schedule and register online.

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 4-day MFY Module.


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.