Mindful Self Compassion

An Empirically-Supported, 10-Week Program 

Guided by Kate Gallagher, Wednesdays starting January 2024

Marigold: 648 SW 2nd Street in Downtown Corvallis

Public: $450 | OSU/LBCC/K-12 Faculty & Staff: $400 | OSU/LBCC students: $350*


Register for MSC

MSC was developed by Dr. Chris Germer, leader in the integration of mindfulness and psychotherapy, and Dr. Kristin Neff, pioneering researcher in the field of self-compassion. MSC combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion, providing a powerful tool for emotional resilience. Through mindfulness, we turn toward and acknowledge difficult thoughts and feelings (such as inadequacy, sadness, anger, confusion) with openness and curiosity. Self-compassion involves responding to these difficult thoughts and feelings with kindness and understanding so that we may soothe and comfort ourselves when we’re hurting. Meditation experience is not necessary to participate in MSC. This program includes: guided meditation practices, didactic learning, group discussions, inquiry, gentle stretching and yoga, and a daily "homework,” link to audio recordings. 


  • Pre-Series Orientation: January 10 6:30-7:45pm
  • Classes: Wednesdays January 17 - March 13 | 6:30-8:30pm
  • Non-Residential Retreat: Sunday, February 25, 2023 | 10am-5pm


Research-Indicated Benefits

A randomized, controlled trial demonstrated that MSC significantly increased self-compassion, compassion for others, mindfulness, and life satisfaction, as well as decreased depression, anxiety and stress. Improvements were linked to how much a person practiced mindfulness and self-compassion in their daily lives. For the full-text article, please click here (PDF) Source: Kristen Neff/SelfCompassion.org

In MSC, You'll Learn
  • how to stop being so hard on yourself
  • how to handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • how to motivate yourself with encouragement rather than criticism
  • how to transform difficult relationships, both old and new
  • mindfulness and self-compassion practices for home and everyday life
  • the theory and research behind mindful self-compassion
  • how to become your own best teacher Source: Kristen Neff/SelfCompassion.org

10 Session Curriculum

The 9-week program includes an orientation that introduces participants to the secular practice of mindful self-compassion and describes the basic science behind mindfulness and compassion practices. Additionally, logistics and expectations are reviewed with time for Q&A. The 9 week program takes commitment and a measure of personal sovereignty, as this is not a group therapy context. 

Session One will cover: 

  • Welcome, practical details, guiding principles
  • Introduction to the MSC approach and zones of tolerance 
  • Intention-based inquiry: Why self-compassion? Why am I here? 
  • Inquiry: How Do I Treat a Good Friend? 
  • The Foundations of Mindful Self-Compassion/What is self-compassion?
  • The Self-Compassion Break (A brief, <5 minute practice that can be done formally or informally throughout the day).

Session Two will cover: 

  • The Self-Compassion Break (A brief, <5 minute practice that can be done formally or informally throughout the day).
  • Misgivings about and obstacles to self-compassion
  • Research on and physiology of both self-compassion and self-criticism
  • Introduction to Mindfulness
  • Soles of the Feet Practice

Session Three will cover: 

  • Soles of the Feet and Affectionate Breathing Practices
  • Introduction to Mindfulness (continued) / Applications to self-compassion
  • Meeting mind-wandering and mental resistance
  • Applying mindfulness and self-compassion in daily life

Session Four will cover: 

  • Loving-kindness and compassion
  • Awakening the heart: Loving others dearly; loving yourself dearly
  • Compassionate movement
  • Inquiry: What do I need? 
  • Finding/Writing Loving-kindness phrases

Session Five will cover: 

  • Practicing with loving-kindness phrases
  • Getting to know the self-critic; understanding and creating safety
  • Compassionate motivation: Making changes from a place of love
  • Writing a compassionate letter

Session Six will cover: 

  • Bi-directional compassion: Giving and receiving compassion
  • Reflecting on core values
  • Silver linings and the hidden value of suffering
  • Compassionate listening

The Retreat Day is an immersive experience to deepen your understanding of Mindful Self-Compassion and put into practice the skills that you have been learning, including cultivating a sense of presence, common humanity, and self-kindness. 

With guidance, participants are led through a variety of the core practices: affectionate breathing, soles of the feet, loving-kindness, and giving and receiving compassion. The day-long retreat will also include gentle yoga/compassionate movement, walking meditation, mindful eating, poetry, and more. This day offers participants the opportunity to see their lives closely and freshly, through the lens of practice and the qualities that come along with it, including kindness, curiosity and interest, self-sovereignty, and choice. Without the usual demands and distractions, possibilities, insights, and new perceptions may arise.

The retreat session is Sunday, February 25th from 10am-5pm. 

Session Seven will cover: 

  • Evolving self-compassion through the stages of acceptance
  • Strategies for meeting difficult emotions
  • Soften, soothe, and allow practice
  • Shame and self-compassion

Session Eight will cover: 

  • Seeing ourselves through eyes of love: compassionate friend practice
  • Challenging relationships
  • The pain of disconnection: Meeting unmet needs
  • The pain of connection: Loving without losing yourself
  • Forgiveness
  • Caregiving fatigue

Session Nine will cover: 

  • Cultivating happiness, savoring & gratitude
  • Self-appreciation
  • Recalling and sharing term-long insights
  • Visioning a future sustained and nourished by love
Who can benefit from MSC?

MSC can be learned by anyone. It’s the practice of repeatedly evoking good will toward ourselves especially when we’re suffering—cultivating the same desire that all living beings have to live happily and free from suffering.

Most of us feel compassion when a close friend is struggling. What would it be like to receive the same caring attention whenever you needed it most? All that’s required is a shift in the direction of our attention—recognizing that as a human being, you, too, are a worthy recipient of compassion.

The main prerequisites include: making the time/space for weekly sessions and some amount of regular, or daily, home practice (20 min) and feeling ready to explore the topics in a group setting especially if you're managing serious, long-term or acute trauma, active addiction or recovery, or a recent, significant loss. MSC does not replace or serve the purpose of 1:1 or group therapy.

Accessibility & Accommodations

Please contact us at ContemplativeStudies@oregonstate.edu or leave a voicemail at 541-737-4785 if you have questions about the series or to request ability-related accommodations. The program registration link will bring you to a credit/debit card payment portal on TouchNet. If you'd prefer to reserve your spot via check or cash payment instead, let us know.

*Current OSU undergraduate students in need of financial support to attend may apply for an 80% scholarship (4 available). The cost for the student, in this case, is $70 and the scholarship covers $260. Click here to apply. Graduate students and community members in need of financial support can connect by emailing ContemplativeStudies@oregonstate.edu to inquire about available support funds.

Last Notes

This program is limited to 18 participants.

Registration fees are refundable until January 12, 2023. 




About Kate Gallagher

Kate met contemplative practices through postural yoga as a sophomore in college. It took a few years to develop an interest in the quieter, more still practices of meditation -- and the importance and value of embodiment work remains a vital piece of her practice and teaching. Kate's pursuit of yoga teacher trainings across the U.S. in 2009 unexpectedly landed her in the good care of teachers in the Geluk and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. It is in these styles of study and practice, and in the rich lineage of Indian yoga, that she has since found a personal, contemplative home - although, she maintains a great love for contemplative and mystical perspectives from many traditions.

Kate earned a Master's degree at OSU in Applied Religious Ethics, completed and taught several advanced yoga teacher programs, trained in the secular, empirically-supported curriculum of mindful self-compassion (MSC) and in 2018, had the immense privilege to spend a year in a solitary, largely silent meditation retreat centered on shamatha (calm abiding) and vipassana (inquiry/insight). Kate works as OSU's Contemplative Studies Initiative coordinator, teach courses in REL and PSY, and stewards Marigold.