Voice of the Expert.

Sydney Spears

Sydney Spears PhD, LCSW, LSCSW, TCTSY-Fis a certified Mindful Self-Compassion teacher, Center of Mindful Self-Compassion Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, and a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga facilitator and certified through the Center for Trauma and Embodiment. She is also licensed as a clinical social worker and works part-time at the University of Kansas as an adjunct instructor teaching coursework in diversity, anti-oppression, social justice, and trauma-sensitive practice.

For me, it’s a practice of, especially in therapy but with others as well, coming from my internal sense of self-compassion, mindfulness, presence, anti-oppressiveness as well as trauma sensitivity as my grounding and my intention for being with these various individuals from the neck down. Even though there is the cognitive piece, the foundation or the depth of it [belonging] is coming from the core, it is coming from inside out—from heart and soul.

My sense of intention and presence with others who are suffering and me being with my own humanity and my own suffering—that in my experience has led to a deeper sense of connection, belonging, more of a sense of, for me, this safer, braver container when it’s difficult. 

I honor so much when clients and students, especially survivors of trauma—I really honor how difficult it is for them to be present with me. And especially when this is the first time and they don’t really know who I am. They know a bit, but not really, and in therapy that takes a lot.

So I’m always holding that sense of honor and the courage that it takes for them to show up. I ask them, “You know, I was curious to know if you’re willing to share, what was it like for you coming here today? If you’re willing to share and if not, that’s totally fine.”

There’s absolutely no judgment, but they pretty much share, and they’ll say. “Yeah, it was hard. I almost thought about canceling.” 

And so, that’s why I’m saying that it’s really that embodied piece of presence that is also just honoring the humanity–my humanity and their humanity–and the difficulties that we all have in life. And honoring in particular, survivors of trauma and others, how difficult it is to take this step, this small step, to try to enter that potential world of healing. 

Just honoring that as a human being: “I’m a suffering human being. They are suffering human beings, but we also have some differences too. And so I’m honoring and holding the container for that and my awareness, my mindful awareness around that as well because it does shape our reality.”

Is SCIP something for you?

Our 32-session Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy (SCIP) Professional Development Program is created specifically for psychotherapists who see the importance of self-compassion for mental health & wellbeing and want to integrate self-compassion more deeply into their own way of practicing, and…

  • have a foundation in mindfulness- and acceptance-based treatment and would like to add another dimension – self-compassion – to their practice.
  • wish to use their personal mindfulness and compassion practice as a foundation for effective therapeutic relationships and interventions.
  • benefitted from the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program and would like to bring the principles and practices of MSC into how they treat clients.
  • are seeking a continuing education experience that is welcoming to all identities and intersections of identity.

Program Prerequisites

Admission is by application, and all applicants must:

Have attended the full Mindful Self-Compassion program (8 Week or 5-Day Intensive format, in-person or online prior to starting the program). In order to establish a firm foundation of immersion in self-compassion and personal practice, this is a firm requirement for entry into the Certification program.
I haven’t taken the course yet, how can I attend?

Be a licensed or supervised mental health professional with active liability insurance. Psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, are invited to apply, as are students enrolled in a graduate psychotherapy training program. Other professionals will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Participants are expected to commit themselves to daily meditation practice for the duration of the course. This is essential for the understanding of how meditation practice works and its application in psychotherapy and caregiving.

The online “live” program will meet weekly on Wednesdays, beginning October 19, 2022, with a break in the month of December. Attendance at 80% of the sessions is required to formally complete the course.

Cohort Three Important Dates*

Two-day opening retreat Saturday/Sunday, October 15-16, 2022 from 7:00 am – 12:00 pm Pacific Time
The program starts 
on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, at 8:00 am Pacific Time
The weekly live meetings, every Wednesday
from 8:00 – 11:30 am Pacific Time, until June 21, 2023
December Break 
December 1, 2022 – January 3, 2023
Two-day closing retreat 
Saturday/Sunday, June 24-25, 2023 from 7:00 am – 12:00 pm Pacific Time
*In addition to the above sessions, participants can expect to invest approximately five hours per week of reading, discussion board participation, and individual practice.

Download the Cohort 3 Course Outline with full calendar and objective details.


Frequently Asked Questions

SCIP will help you meet the challenges of the Pandemic and an Unknown Future!

Joining the SCIP training program will equip you with the tools needed to respond to these challenges and form an active community of support and change.

Don’t Skip SCIP!

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