Course Information

Mindful Self-Compassion: Five-day residential training – CANCELLED

When: 13 Jul 2020 – 18 Jul 2020
Where: Othona, West Dorset
Tutor: Ali Lambie

Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an intensive training in an empirically-supported course designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. The course can be taught weekly or in a residential format as it is here.  It is based on ground-breaking research by Kristin Neff, integrated with the clinical perspective of Christopher Germer.  MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult moments in their lives with kindness, care and understanding.

The three key components of self-compassion are self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and balanced, mindful awareness. Kindness opens our hearts to suffering, so we can give ourselves what we need.  Common humanity opens us to our essential inter-relatedness, so that we know we aren’t alone. Mindfulness opens us to the present moment, so we can accept our experience with greater ease.  Together they comprise a state of warm, connected, presence.

Self-compassion can be learned by anyone, even those who didn’t receive enough affection in childhood or who feel uncomfortable when they are good to themselves. It’s a courageous attitude that stands up to harm, including the harm that we unwittingly inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-isolation, or self-absorption.  Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically ourselves.

Rapidly expanding research clearly demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships.  And it’s easier than you think.

After participating in this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Practice self-compassion in daily life
  • Understand the empirically-supported benefits of self-compassion
  • Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
  • Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • Transform challenging relationships, old and new
  • Manage caregiver fatigue
  • Practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation

 What to expect

Course activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. MSC is a workshop rather than a retreat. The goal is for participants to directly experience self-compassion and learn practices that evoke self-compassion in daily life.

MSC is a compassion-training course rather than mindfulness training like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), although mindfulness skills are taught as a foundation for self-compassion.  MSC is also different from therapy insofar as the emphasis of MSC is on building emotional resources rather than addressing old wounds.  Nonetheless, psychological healing may occur as we develop the capacity to be with our difficulties, and with ourselves, in a loving, compassionate way.

MSC is a journey that entails a variety of challenges. This is particularly true in the residential format of this training, as going through the whole course at once is a much more intense experience. Compassion has the effect of soothing and comforting us as it paradoxically opens us to emotional discomfort. While some difficult emotions may arise when practicing self-compassion, MSC teachers are committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for this process to unfold, and to make the journey interesting and enjoyable for everyone.  If you have any concerns about taking this course, please feel free to contact one of the instructors – Ali Lambie at – and she will respond as soon as possible.

The course is over 6 days, and there will be some free time each day to enjoy the beautiful grounds.

How will this retreat help to deepen self-compassion?

The emphasis of the retreat will be on looking after ourselves, and on nourishing our compassion both through our practice, and through time for relaxation. We will be spending plenty of practice time outside.  You can also take advantage of free time after lunch to walk in the gardens.

Who is the retreat for?

The course is suitable for those who have taken an 8-week mindfulness course or equivalent mindfulness training and who would like to explore Mindful Self Compassion.

Requirements to attend:

Prior attendance on a course of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is required (if you have not trained in MBSR or MBCT, but have other mindfulness training and a regular mindfulness practice, please apply and detail this in your application).  

It is recommended that participants read one or both of following books before the course:

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, by Christopher Germer

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Kristin Neff

This course does not constitute a training to teach MSC, though it does fulfill one of the prerequisites for entering training to become an MSC teacher.  For more information on MSC and MSC Teacher Training, please visit  

About the teacher:

Ali Lambie

Caroline Hoffman


Please arrive from 3.30pm on 13th July and the retreat finishes at 12.30 on 18th July followed by lunch at the venue.


Othona West Dorset is a beautiful seaside retreat centre in rural Dorset

Accommodation is simple; most of the rooms are shared and all rooms have shared bathrooms.

(Please note that, as well as offering a venue for this retreat, Othona is home to a small ecumenical Christian community).

What to bring/wear:

Please bring equipment to support your practice (e.g., mat, cushion, blanket). Some equipment will be available at the venue.

All participants will need to purchase and bring the following MSC workbook:


Our full rates have no hidden extras and include deposit, teaching, room and board. 

Full rate for shared accommodation: £850 including the £100 deposit

Please note: The majority of our venues have shared bathrooms. Please contact us if you have any specific needs that we need to be aware of.

The Application Process:

Our application and payment process involves the following steps:

  1. We receive your application form and assess it to ensure that this retreat is suitable for you. We endeavour to make assessments within a week, but if the retreat leader is on annual leave or on retreat, then this can take a little bit longer.
  2. Upon offering you a place, we will then invoice you either for the non-refundable deposit or for the full amount, depending which option you choose when you complete your application.
  3. Your place is fully confirmed once we receive your deposit or full retreat payment.
  4. If you have paid a deposit, four months before the retreat date you will be invoiced for the balance which must be paid within 30 days.
  5. We will email you the joining instructions in advance of the course.

Payment and Cancellation Policy:

Please read our Terms and Conditions carefully for information regarding payments and cancellations.

For more information:

Please email us at

Ready to apply?

Click here to apply now for this course.