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Presence and Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy: A Foundational Approach for Therapists & Clients

May 11, 2018 @ 9:00 am - May 12, 2018 @ 4:30 pm

Join leaders in the field for a 2-day workshop on self-compassion and therapeutic presence. This first-of-its-kind workshop will show clinicians how to cultivate a combination of presence and self-compassion in their own lives and teach it to clients.

Therapeutic presence (TP) lies at the heart of a positive treatment alliance. When practicing therapeutic presence, clinicians use their whole self—physically, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually—to be receptively attuned and deeply engaged with the client, moment-by-moment. TP provides a neurophysiological sense of safety in clients that allows them to be seen, heard, understood, and “feel felt.”

Self-compassion (MSC) involves the capacity to comfort and soothe ourselves, and to motivate ourselves with encouragement, when we struggle, fail, or feel inadequate. It is a key resource that enables clinicians to be fully present and attuned with clients. Burgeoning research shows that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, lower levels of anxiety and depression, coping with life challenges, healthy habits like diet and exercise, and more satisfying relationships.

TP and MSC are trans-theoretical mechanisms of change in psychotherapy and the emotional heart of mindfulness when we meet suffering. Together, therapeutic presence and self-compassion are a powerful resource for clinicians to maintain emotional balance in the midst of challenging clinical work, to enjoy their work and their clients more fully, and to prevent caregiver fatigue.

Since presence and self-compassion need to be directly experienced to be understood, this workshop will be largely experiential, including meditation, musical rhythm, imagery, and creative exercises. It will also contain short lectures, class exercises, videos, poetry, and group discussion. Participants will receive instructions to a wide variety of practices that can be practiced at home, and also taught to clients, students, and trainees.


  • Discover the research evidence for the benefits of presence, compassion, and self-compassion in psychotherapy and in life.
  • Be able to practice presence and self-compassion techniques during therapy and in life to sustain emotional connection in challenging therapeutic interactions.
  • Experience how self-compassion alleviates self-criticism and shame.
  • Help clients and patients cultivate mindful presence and self-compassion skills.

Select this link to download the registration form and the flyer

Dr. Christopher Germer, Ph.D., C. Psych., is a clinical psychologist and lecturer on psychiatry (part-time) at Harvard Medical School. He is a co-developer of the Mindful Self- Compassion (MSC) program, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, and coeditor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy. Dr. Germer is a founding faculty member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy as well as the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School. http://chrisgermer.com

Dr. Shari Geller, Ph.D., C.Psych., is an author, teacher, and clinical psychologist. She is the founder of the Therapeutic Rhythm and Mindfulness Program. Her publications include her recent book: A Practical Guide for Cultivating Therapeutic Presence and Therapeutic Presence: A Mindful Approach to Effective Therapy co-authored with Leslie Greenberg. Dr. Geller serves on the teaching faculty in Health Psychology at York University. She is the co-director of the Centre for MindBody Health (CMBH), in Toronto, Canada. http://www.sharigeller.ca

This workshop is open to all healthcare professionals and educators, including students. Meditation experience is not required to participate in this program.

Early Bird Special: $450 plus HST until March 11th, 2018

Regular Fee: $495 plus HST refreshments included


OR: Mail completed registration form to: Dr. Shari Geller, 250 Eglinton Avenue W. Ste. 200, Toronto, ON M4R 1A7 with cheque payable to: Centre for MindBody Health

OR: Email completed form and e-transfer to: Camilla@sharigeller.ca Please use “presence” as the security answer.

Your registration will not be processed without payment. You will receive an email confirmation of your registration once your payment is processed.

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May 11, 2018 @ 9:00 am
May 12, 2018 @ 4:30 pm


20 Grosvenor St.
Toronto, Ontario M4Y2V5 Canada
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