What is compassion?
Compassion teaches you to face up to difficult and stressful experiences with a desire to ease them, so as to make them easier to deal with. In the words of Jack Kornfield: 'Life is hard. How can we be anything other than kind?' Compassion is a human quality that everyone possesses, but which often, for all kinds of reasons, fails to fully develop.
This training will help you strengthen the qualities of the heart, teaching you to:
- adopt a milder and kinder attitude towards yourself, especially when you really need it
- gain insight into elements from Western and Buddhist psychology that relate to the practice of compassion
- develop helpful skills in dealing with discomfort, pain, or stress
- practical exercises to do in your day-to-day life
Different modules, same content
In the Netherlands, there are two types of compassion training that are widely given, i.e. Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). Both programmes are made up of nine sessions and depart from an existing foundation of mindfulness. These programmes use the same sources, and you will see many of the same exercises in both. And yet, there are some differences. MBCL, for example, draws more on participants’ ability to imagine situations, while MSC makes greater use of the group dialogue method. But these differences are minor compared to what these programs have in common: development of a kind attitude towards yourself through exercises and group dialogue.
Program with a scientific foundation
Like mindfulness training, compassion training is rapidly becoming an evidence-based approach. A leading scientist called Kristin Neff has published an extensive bibliography on the efficacy of self-compassion training. Fellow developers Christopher Germer and Paul Gilbert have also published works on self-compassion.
Who it is for
You are interested in building on your mindfulness practice with the practice of compassion as one of the qualities of the heart. To develop self-compassion, you need a foundation of mindfulness. Therefore, you have taken mindfulness training first. (Only in exceptional cases - such when you have an unusually strong inner critic - it may be advisable to do compassion training first. If you think this could be the case for you, ask your trainer for advice.)