Making Friends with Yourself Teacher Training

Making Friends with Yourself: A Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens & Young Adults Teacher Training

Making Friends with Yourself (MFY) is a Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens & Young Adults developed by Karen Bluth and Lorraine Hobbs.  The program is endorsed by Kristin Neff and Chris Germer, whose Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program Karen and Lorraine skilfully adapted to create a new program suitable for young people.

“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, Ph.D.

“This is a brilliant adaptation of the MSC program for adolescents, providing a wide variety self-compassion skills using developmentally appropriate language and activities.  Imagine if all teens learned self-compassion early on – so much unnecessary suffering would be prevented!  Thank goodness this program is now available.”  – Kristin Neff, PhD

There has been considerable interest in this program from Australian professionals wishing to bring mindful self-compassion practices to teenagers and young adults.   The Contemplary is delighted to offer the first MFY teacher training course in Australia.  We recognise the importance of self-compassion as an essential skill and disposition for young people who frequently face significant challenges to their sense of self-worth and wellbeing.  We are pleased to be supporting Karen and Lorraine in making this training available in Australia.  We hope that people working with teenagers and young adults in clinical, educational and community settings, will take this opportunity to enhance their ability to provide mindful self-compassion training to this age group.  The efficacy of the MFY program is underpinned by an evidence base and you can read about some of the research supporting this program here.

“It made me less insecure and able to be myself more and kind of open up to others at school.”

“I wish I had learned that I could be kind to myself a long time ago… it has made my life easier, and I am happier.” 

Becoming a MFY teacher

Welcome to the journey of becoming an MFY teacher! This journey requires a big heart and a passion for the wellbeing of teens. The process involves two steps:

Step 1:

The MFY Teacher Training is an intensive, 7-day program facilitated by Karen Bluth, PhD, one of the co-founders of the program, who will be joined by an experienced co-facilitator (to be named later). 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

Target Audience

This 7-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.

“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):

“I, too, was one of the fortunate ones to be participate in the first teacher training of Making Friends with Yourself (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 demonstrate an exquisite example of development of curriculum for a new population… It is an exciting and hopeful time for MFY.” Michelle Bobowick, teacher training participant, San Diego (April 2016):

Step 2: Group Consultation Sessions (Zoom 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. 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

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.

For those who are interested in pursuing MFY teacher certification:

Step 3:
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 videorecord 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.