Self-Compassion for Healthcare
This course is drawn from the evidence-based Mindful Self-Compassion program developed by the psychologists Kristin Neff at UT Austin and Chris Germer at Harvard Medical School. There are over 3000 peer-reviewed publications exploring the role of self-compassion in well-being, and research shows that self-compassion skills can be of particular benefit to healthcare professionals, allowing them to experience greater satisfaction in their caregiving roles, less stress, and more emotional resilience. Please note that everything in this class can easily be adapted to helping patients going through tough times, too.
Of course, no training can fix a broken healthcare system and associated problems like the workload and the pandemic. But it really is possible to change how you are affected by those realities. This is because we are all caring and compassionate people, but for some reason many of us do not include ourselves in that circle of care—we tend to be unnecessarily harsh with ourselves. And that has consequences. We can’t be all we want to be for those around us, and we don’t even have our own backs when things get difficult. There is something fundamentally empowering when you re-learn how to deeply appreciate and care for yourself, and it isn’t hard to do.
This course consists of 6 weekly 1-hour sessions, although I’m happy to stay longer to discuss issues that come up. Each session focuses on specific self-care practices for different situations. There will be discussions in both small groups and with the entire group, along with teachings on various topics and several experiential exercises and practices each session. Here is a breakdown of each session:
Session 1: Exploring what self-compassion is and seeing how it does or does not show up for us, and then looking at ways to cultivate both mindfulness and self-compassion.
Session 2: Seeing why self-compassion is hard to come by in our culture, and then exploring more mindfulness and compassion practices that can be used both as formal practices and also in the midst of difficulties.
Session 3: Investigating caregiver fatigue and burnout, and how self-compassion can remind us to offer care to ourselves as we attend to the needs of others.
Session 4: Looking at ways to work with the inner critic and to find our inner compassionate voice.
Session 5: Using self-compassion to work with difficult emotions.
Session 6: Exploring the importance of our core values for resilience and fulfillment, and how self-compassion can help us live more in alignment with those values. We will also look at the resources available to maintain a self-compassion practice.
If you just want to get a taste of how self-compassion works, you are welcome to just do the first class—it provides a nice experiential foundation. You are also welcome to attend the other sessions as you are able; I’ll be sending out handouts on what we cover in each class. This class is very informal, so if you register you’ll get all this whether you can attend or not.
Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash