NEW: Sept 2017 Course for health care professionals (and general public)

Offered through:                                                                                                                                       McMaster University Health Sciences, McMaster Family Health Team – Program for Faculty Development; Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton Family Health Team, St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Tuesdays Sept 26 – Nov 21, 2017 (6:00pm to 8:30pm)
At McMaster Innovation Park
Note: Retreat for course participants on Sat Oct 28, 2017 (9:00 am to 1:00 pm) at Melrose United Church

Registration , Cancellation policy and Fees:
Through McMaster Program for Faculty Development.
Click this link for the Registration form and additional information.


Increasingly, health-care institutions are coming under pressure to do more with less, to provide quality care with less resources and to improve the experience of patients and their families.  As a result, many health-care workers find themselves grappling with increased levels of stress, burnout, compassion/empathy fatigue and conflict within their teams and colleagues.

There is a way to create workplaces that both support physician/staff/learner; one that creates resilience and enables compassionate care not only for patients but for fellow co-workers as well.

Mindful 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. Increased self-compassion improves compassion for others.

  • 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

Multiple studies have shown that 30-60% of physicians and other health care providers are experiencing significant levels of professional and personal distress, including burnout, emotional exhaustion, and low self-accomplishment. Burnout has been linked to many adverse outcomes including poor quality of care, increased errors and decreased ability to demonstrate empathy.

How can the individuals who choose this “helping” profession thrive in the face of personal and work stresses? As we meet suffering in clinical practice, can we practice building resilience rather than cynicism and exhaustion? Who of us has not left themselves out in the process of caring for others? Who does not have an inner critic that barks at us periodically? Who has difficulty navigating stress or conflict in interpersonal relationships?

Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an empirically-supported, (evidenced based) 9-week, training program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. Based on the ground-breaking research of Kristin Neff and the clinical expertise 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.

This mindfulness course is an experiential curriculum for all health care providers. The program uses didactic teaching, experiential work including group, large and small, interpersonal work as well as individual work.

We will meet for 2 1/2 hours each Tuesday and will have a half day retreat after session 5. To receive the most benefit from the program, participants are advised to attend every session along with the retreat and to develop a mindfulness practice each day during the program.

Overall Goals

  • Promote resilience, health and well-being within the self and the health care environment
  • Engage self-compassion and self-kindness verses the inner critic
  • Develop self and other observational tools thus improving one’s relationship with self and others
  • Learn to manage suffering and difficult emotions
  • Learn to develop compassion and set boundaries without burnout, apathy, numbness and exhaustion
  • Learn self-care strategies to prevent burnout
  • Develop the capacity for an open heart
  • Develop mindfulness verses over-identification

Faculty/Teachers/Facilitators:
Barbara Smith, MFA, GIT, MS. Psych, CRPO
Registered Psychotherapist in private practice and mental health counsellor with the Hamilton Family Health Team.  Barbara has been involved in contemplative studies for over 4 decades and has extensive training and experience in Mindfulness. She has trained in MBSR, DRAM (Discovering Resilience Through Applied Mindfulness), Mindful
Communication at the University of Rochester, NY, is a trained MSC (Mindful Self-Compassion) teacher and studied with Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer. She presently teaches Mindful Self-Compassion and Mindful Communication courses in Hamilton. Barbara is part of the executive of Mindfulness Hamilton, has studied with Michael Stone and the application of mindfulness in clinical practice and has studied with Pema Chodron andThich Nhat Hanh. She has extensive professional experience as a group leader.
Mary Linda Burgess, MSW, RSW
Mental Health Group Facilitator with Hamilton Family Health Team, has 20 years of experience as a Mental Health Counsellor with Hamilton Family Health Team; is a Trained Teacher in Mindful Self-Compassion with the Centre of Mindful Self-Compassion; has completed Mindful Eating course with Jan Chosen-Bays; completed training with Sunnybrook Hospital and U of Toronto in leading mindfulness based group programs; has attended MBSR training with Jon Kabat Zinn and Saki Santorelli; has attended mindfulness based programs with such esteemed teachers as Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hahn, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Saltzberg, Tara Brach, Norm Feldman and Molly Swan and others. Mary Linda has extensive experience in group facilitation; currently teaches Mindful Self-Compassion courses in Hamilton.