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Self-Empathy: Living from a centered and kind place in yourself (Online)

Internal conflict and criticism leaves you feeling depleted and confused.  You need a new way through.  You have likely given a lot to others and are ready to give some gifts to yourself.  It's difficult to know what you really need and how you thrive, especially when a lot of social conditioning exhorts you to maintain an external focus.

In facing difficult situations or even your own high standards, you can sometimes have a whole inner committee of thoughts pulling you different directions.  Trying to make sense of it can be tiring work.  You need a break from internal processing that goes in circles and self-analysis that leaves you feeling disconnected.

In this series you will get the space and support to make sense of your internal world with a simple and direct framework that also enables you to meet yourself with compassion.  You will learn to identify your feelings and needs clearly and take action from grounded self-understanding.  In the framework of Nonviolent Communication this is called self-empathy.

Self-empathy is a subtle skill that teaches compassionate witnessing of your experience. Learning self-empathy isn't about affirmations or trying to talk yourself out of your feelings. It's about catching the habits of mind and body that contribute to inner conflict and confusion, and finding your way to your heart's longing.

As you learn the skill of self-empathy it gets easier to translate self-critical thoughts and judgments of others into feelings and needs and the actions to meet needs.  Over time, you find that you don't take things so personally and have more confidence in meeting difficult situations.

Class Series Overview

For each class we will begin with five minutes of guided meditation.   I will present a particular concept and skill.  There will be an opportunity for questions or requests.  Then you will practice the skill in a short structured exercise in either pairs or a small group.  I will visit these groups just as I would do in an in person course. 

You will receive  a detailed handout as a part of the class.

Topic Overview:

Introduction & Thriving

We will begin by naming and defining the foundational elements that make self-empathy practice accessible.  These elements are:

  • Mindfulness:  This means having a “you” that can step back from your experience and notice what’s happening with gentleness and lovingness.

  • Understanding your experience: From the realm of Hakomi you learn about the flow and nature of inner experience regarding healing, managing reactivity, and thriving in your life.

  • Skills from Compassionate Communication:

    • Learn and practice an inner dialogue structure.

    • Learn to name feelings, and needs, and make specific requests. 

Giving and Receiving Empathy for Reactive "Selves"

You will engage in a particular approach to reactivity.  I will guide you in an experiential exercise to help reveal your subtle patterns of reactivity.  You will practice meeting your experience with mindfulness and then translating reactivity into feelings, needs, and requests.

WIth the help of a couple of volunteers from our group,  I will model self-empathy and also help you see how to go into relationship with a particular reactive self.  

Empathy for Shame, Guilt, Anger, and Depression/Shut Down

We will practice an empathic relationship to shame, guilt, anger, and depression,  as well as learn about the complexity behind each of these four reactive feelings.  Shame and Guilt are important alarm feelings and we will spend the class studying and practicing with them.  Each one indicates that a certain kind of thinking is happening for you.  

Specifically, with shame, you are having some version of a thought that you are a bad person.  

With guilt you are having some version of a thought that you should or shouldn't have behaved in a particular way.   

In addition to indicating of a certain type of thinking, anger also typically occurs at particular stages in healing and grief work.  We will talk about how anger fits into these as well as how it manifests as a reactive state.

We will also study the dimensions of experience (thought, behavior, body, energy, etc.) that promote depression/shut down.  You will have an opportunity to practice meeting these reactive states with self-empathy.  Shame, guilt, anger, and depression, only arise in relationship to a cherished need or value, so it's essential to be able to turn towards these feelings and connect with the life giving energy underneath.

Facing Others' Reactivity

We will now turn our attention toward external situations that trigger reactivity and how to stay connected to yourself in those difficult situations.  We will start by naming common triggers.  In addition to the self-empathy skills you have been practicing, I will demonstrate some ways that make it easier to access those skills when someone is in front of you and you feel pressure to respond.

Appreciation/Celebration and Responding to the Inner Committee

An important part of creating a consistent compassionate inner dialogue is the practice of noticing when needs are met.  This means giving as much reflection and attention to yourself when you are thriving as when you are struggling.  You will practice three different formats for appreciating and celebrating yourself.

At the end of the class, we will do a closing circle and talk about next steps in your practice.

Do you need to know more before deciding whether to join us or not?  Please give me a call or send me an email with any questions you have.  I am happy to talk with you.  503-544-7583,


Eight consecutive Fridays days, 2:30-4:30pm Pacific Standard Time, January 26th - March 16, 2018
Video Conferencing
$250.00   Register Online
Online courses can be attended live or via receiving the recordings & materials.   An eight week course is offered once every quarter.  Class size is limited to 14 live participants.  Please indicate your preference on registration in the "hopes for the course" section.

Video Conferencing Sessions are conducted using Zoom (you can download the app for free or simply click the meeting invite and it will download for you). 

Zoom minimum speed requirements are:  600kbps/1.2Mbps (up/down) for HQ video. For gallery view: 1.5Mbps/1.5Mbps (up/down).  You can find free sites on the internet that will measure your speeds.  It is recommended that you don't use your internet provider for this measurement.  Router settings may impact speeds and can often be adjusted to increase speed.

For more technical information about zoom, you can go here: