Mindful Self-Compassion for Teens (MSC-T)

The teenage years are a time of intense growth and change. The time demands of homework and sports/activities increase, and the desire to “fit in” and receive social approval takes an emotional toll on teens.  Without the right resources, teens can end up confused, isolated, anxious, stressed or depressed. With the right resources, your teen can emerge from this period a stronger, kinder, more authentic version of themselves.

Mindful Self-Compassion for Teens (MSC-T) is an empirically-supported, 8-week course designed by teen self-compassion experts Karen Bluth, PhD and Lorraine Hobbs, M.A.  It is an adaptation of the adult Mindful Self-Compassion program, and it is endorsed by MSC co-developers Chris Germer, Ph.D. and Kristin Neff, Ph.D. This course is taught by Jamie Lynn Tatera, an experienced MSC-T teacher and teacher trainer.

In this course, you and your teen will learn to:

  • be kind to yourself when you are struggling
  • reduce stress and anxiety
  • handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • strengthen resiliency and positivity
  • increase capacity to advance toward goals
  • feel less alone in struggles
  • become the best version of yourself

In this 8-week live-online course teens are invited to participate in activities, practices and meditations designed to help them learn how to navigate the emotional ups and downs of life with greater ease. Backed by research, findings indicate increases in teens’ emotional well-being and greater resilience after taking the course.

What actually happens in the class?

 Class sessions usually begin with mindful art. Teens will then engage in a series of mindfulness and self-compassion mini-lessons and practices, including short videos. We learn mindfulness and self-compassion strategies that can be used in the moment to de-stress and come back to center.

How is teen interaction structured during the class?

There will be multiple opportunities for teens to share their thoughts with one another both through group chat (when offered live-online) as well as whole group sharing. Teens are invited to share their experiences with class activities, but sharing is always optional.

What if my teen doesn’t want to come?

This is normal! Many teens start the program with a variety of challenging feelings about the course including boredom and anxiety. If this happens for your teen, you might…

  • Acknowledge that these feelings are understandable.
  • Remind them they don’t ever have to share anything that they don’t want to.
  • Offer your teen encouragement through favorite activities or mini-celebrations after completing sessions. 

What if my teen gets distracted or has trouble sitting still/with online programs?

This is normal! Many teens have this difficulty. If this happens for your teen, you might…

  • Acknowledge that distraction and trouble learning online is understandable
  • Bring paper and pencil, a pet, or fidget objects to each session. Teens can doodle or fidget throughout. They are still benefiting.
  • Remind yourself that it is OK if your teen seems disengaged at times, and consider you are “planting seeds” that may bloom at unexpected moments in the future

Do I have to talk about my feelings in front of other people?

No. When reflection questions are asked, you can share with the group out loud, in the chat (if it’s a live-online class), or in your own mind. Whole group sharing is always optional. This program is about being kind to yourself, so you don’t have to participate in any way that doesn’t feel like kindness. 

Are we just going to talk about feelings and self-compassion the whole time?

Absolutely not. This class includes informal art, a music meditation, mindful movement exercises, guided visualizations, short videos, several games, an exercise to learn how to motivate yourself with self-compassion rather than self-criticism, a mindful eating exercise, and more.

How do you know that this program will help me be less stressed or less depressed?  

Scientists have done research studies that show that when teens are kinder to themselves, they have less depression, anxiety, and stress. This class will help you build your mindfulness and self-kindness “muscles.”

What if I don’t want to take this class?

You’re not the only teen that would rather hang out with friends or just relax instead of taking a self-compassion class. Teens who take this class say that it helps them to be happier and less stressed, which can help you enjoy your life even more. 

Upcoming Opportunities

Parent-Teen Mindful Self-Compassion for Teens Workshop

Tuesday, June 4, 2024 from 6:00 -6:45 pm CT / 4-4:45 pm PT / 7:00-7:45pm ET Convert to your time zone.

Live-online Mindful Self-Compassion for Teens workshop taught by Jamie Lynn Tatera to parent-teen pairs (or just caregiver or teen if both are unavailable).

Cost: Free for those contemplating MSC for Teens class or Parent-Teen online Making Friends with Yourself training

Related Testimonials

“Your class was a lovely time for my daughter and I to learn about self-compassion. I am grateful that we get to have these skills while she navigates adolescence.” –Katy, Parent-Teen MSC-T Participant

“I took this class with my son, but I see how it is benefiting our whole family. When my son and I practice being more compassionate to ourselves, we model these behaviors and can recommend them to the rest of our family.  I think we will continue to use these techniques for years to come!” – Laura H., Parent

“The self-compassion class was good because it helped me to be more kind and calm toward myself.” -Amanda N., age 13, Parent-Teen MSC-T participant

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