Compassion: Mindfulness based Compassionate Living: International Online course with Frits Koster
September 19, 2023 @ 6:30 pm - December 5, 2023 @ 9:00 pm BST
What is Compassion?
Compassion is the capacity to be sensitive to the suffering of ourselves and others and the willingness to relieve and prevent it (Paul Gilbert, 2014). It is a capacity inherent in all of us but for many reasons does not always come to flourish. Fortunately, it can be trained, developed, and deepened through practice. Compassion is characterised by kindness and receptivity as well as courage and responsibility. Many believe compassion should be directed towards others rather than ourselves but self-compassion is not selfish. Research increasingly shows that self-compassion is – like mindfulness – key to mental health and goes hand in hand with greater openness and empathy towards others.
What is Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL)?
MBCL is a mindfulness-based programme that supports the development and training of compassion (including self-compassion) to enhance physical, emotional, and relational health and well-being. It is grounded in science and integrates the work of Paul Gilbert (Compassion-Focused Therapy) and Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer (Mindful Self-Compassion) as well as elements of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Positive Psychology. The MBCL programme is suitable as an advanced course after having followed mindfulness training (MBSR, MBCT, or equivalent). It is similarly structured and consists of eight weekly sessions of 2.5 hours, offering explicit exercises to nurture compassion for oneself and others. The training can be particularly supportive for people suffering from shame and self-criticism, social isolation, depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic pain, or illness. It was originally developed in a mental health setting but the scope of its application extends much further. It can be helpful to anyone – a care-seeker or caregiver – wishing to deepen mindfulness with ‘heartfulness’.
What does the online MBCL programme offer?
In this online course, participants will experience key features of the eight sessions of the MBCL curriculum, including the main themes and major exercises.
Themes include: the evolutionary perspective and multi-layered brain; the three basic emotion regulation systems and the value of training our soothing system; expanding the stress theory with the psychological equivalents of fight, flight, freeze and their antidotes self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness of suffering; tend and befriend; cultivating a compassionate mind and an inner helper rather than an inner bully; overidentifying and disidentifying; Four Friends for Life: loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.
Exercises include: soothing breathing rhythm, compassionate imagery (safe place, compassionate companion, embodying compassion); dealing compassionately with resistance, desire, and unhelpful patterns; loving kindness towards ourselves and others; compassionate breathing; a compassionate body scan; walking and moving with kindness; compassionate letter writing; practicing sympathetic joy, gratitude, forgiveness, and equanimity; informal practices in daily life.
During the online course, relevant scientific insights underpinning compassion training will be interwoven into the teaching.
Participants are expected to be familiar with basic mindfulness practice, preferably by having followed an eight-week mindfulness training (MBSR, MBCT, or equivalent). The online programme is not suitable for participants without mindfulness meditation experience.
Participants can be mindfulness teachers, psychologists, psychotherapists, doctors, social workers, counselors, and coaches and are expected to have a professional interest in the applications of (self-) compassion.
Participants are expected to be responsible for themselves and willing to deepen their self-inquiry by engaging in experiential exercises, sharing experiences, and engaging in mindful dialogue with the teacher and each other; all in an unforced way.
The programme will be in the English language.
Participants will have experienced the main exercises of the MBCL programme as a first step to understanding their meaning for their personal and professional lives.
Participants will have a basic understanding of the content, the main themes, and the scientific background of the MBCL programme.
Participants will have a basis to further cultivate and deepen (self-) compassion practice for personal and professional benefit and continue with MBCL Teacher Training seminars if they wish to.
8 x Tuesdays as follows:
19th and 26th September 2023
10th, 17th and 24th October 2023
7th and 21st November 2023
5th December 2023
18.30 to 20.45 UK time. Please arrive online a few minutes before 18.30.
All times are UK. If you are attending from a different time zone, please check equivalent timings in your time zone.
Please note, UK time will change from BST (British Summer Time)to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)on 29th October 2023.