The Why of MFY

Adolescence is a time of change and growth. It is the period of life reserved for rebellion and self-discovery, but as the demands in life increase for teens, this time is often fraught with confusion, anxiety or depression. For many teens these challenges lead to disconnection and isolation.

To support teens in coping more effectively with the ongoing challenges of their day-to-day life, Karen Bluth, Ph.D., and Lorraine Hobbs, M.A., co-created Making Friends With Yourself (MFY), an empirically-supported, 8-week program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion in teens. It was adapted from the original Mindful Self-Compassion program for adults and is endorsed by Kristin Neff and Chris Germer.

MFY teaches core principles and practices that enable teens to respond to the challenges of these critical years with kindness and self-compassion.

At long last, a self-compassion training for teens! This delightful, innovative program captures the essence of self-compassion for an age group that needs it the most. Wholeheartedly recommended! Christopher Germer, co-founder of the MSC-program

Becoming an MFY teacher

Welcome to the journey of becoming an MFY-teacher! This journey requires a big heart and a passion for the well-being of teens.

The 6-day MFY Teacher Training establishes a basic level of training and proficiency sufficient to begin offering the program to the general public. To receive MFY Trained Teacher status, graduates of the Teacher Training are also expected to receive consultation while teaching at least one 8-week MSC program through online group consultation offered through the Center for MSC. All Trained Teachers are eligible to be listed on the Center for MSC website in a Directory of Trained MFY Teachers.

The process involves two, and eventually three, steps.

Step 1: The MFY Teacher Training

This is an intensive, 6-day program facilitated by MFY teacher trainers, including the creators of the program, Karen Bluth, Ph.D. and Lorraine Hobbs, MA. The training is built around the eight weekly classes and includes opportunities to practice teaching in small groups, with the close consultation of the teacher trainers. The training also includes how to advise parents in supporting their teens throughout the program. After the training, participants will be provided with access to the essential materials to teach MFY through the PowerSchool Learning website.

Training Objectives

At the completion of the MFY Teacher Training, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the core themes and practices presented in each of the eight sessions of MFY
  • Understand the rationale for the modifications made from the adult MSC program
  • Describe different ways of involving parents so that they can appropriately engage and support their teens in their practice
  • Identify obstacles for teens to learning mindful self-compassion practice and strategies for overcoming these obstacles
  • Deepen one’s understanding of key elements in teaching mindfulness and self-compassion practice to teens

Words cannot express the gratitude I feel as I begin to settle into this new, wide world of self-compassion for teens. Lorraine Hobbs and Karen Bluth wove together their two worlds to create a program that is fun, informative, engaging and transformative. Celedra Gildea, teacher training participant, San Diego (April 2016)

For Whom

6-day intensive is intended for those who wish to teach the MFY program in an educational, clinical, or community setting.

Participant Requirements

The prerequisites for taking the MFY Teacher Training are:

  • Established daily mindfulness and self-compassion practice,
  • Completion of a 5-day or 8-week MSC course,
  • Experience working with teens in an educational or clinical setting, preferably in groups.

Upon completion of the 7-day MFY Teacher Training, participants receive a Certificate of Attendance stating that he or she has attended the MFY TT in its entirety and can begin to teach MFY as a Teacher Trainee.

Step 2: Group Consultation Sessions

Graduates of the Teacher Training (i.e. Teacher Trainees), are required to register for 10 group consultation sessions (i.e., Zoom sessions, which are 1 hour in length if more than 3 are registered, and 30 minutes in length if 1-3 students are registered) while teaching their first 8-week MFY program. (Note: These sessions have an additional total cost of $400 for ten sessions). This provides trainees with the essential support needed to teach MFY and maintain the integrity of the program. Upon completion of the required Zoom sessions, “trainees” receive the designation of “Trained Teacher” and can be listed on the Center for MSC website in a directory of Trained Teachers.

Teaching MFY

It was an absolute gift to see the beautiful sequencing of this material, as well as the heartfelt incorporation of so many of the key components of MSC. Karen and Lorraine’s work on this program demonstrates an exquisite example of the development of curriculum for a new population… Michelle Bobowick, teacher training participant, San Diego (April 2016)

The MFY program is led by two instructors. This model enables one instructor to monitor the emotional needs of individual participants while the other is teaching. We know that self-compassion can activate strong emotions and that teens’ emotions can be unpredictable. It is important for teachers to be able to hold a safe container and support the group. We therefore recommend that one of the teachers, or an assistant to the MFY teacher (in the instance that a second MFY teacher is not available), be a licensed mental health clinician.

How to Approach the Training

Our ability to teach others depends largely on discovering the power of self-compassion in our own lives and embodying the practice. Self-compassion thrives in an environment of safety, support, privacy, individual responsibility, and a common commitment to presence and compassion. The teacher trainers are dedicated to creating such a learning atmosphere for all workshop participants and their future students. As many of you know, teens require authenticity and transparency; a strong practice of our own enables us to support the journey of these young minds and hearts with depth and wisdom.

Step 3: MFY teacher certification

After teaching at least 4 MFY courses, MFY trained teachers can pursue certification. To do this, he or she would register with UCSD, and then request a mentoring arrangement with a teacher trainer. The MFY teacher will video record their teaching and discuss it in a minimum of 14 mentoring sessions with the teacher trainer. Mentoring sessions will be held on the Zoom platform.

Starting dates

List of startdates for training Teacher Training Making Friends with Yourself