Making Friends with Yourself: A Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens

Adolescence is a time of change and growth. It is the period of life reserved for rebellion and self-discovery, but as the demands in life increase for teens, this time is often fraught with confusion, anxiety or depression. For many teens these challenges lead to disconnection and isolation. This course, Making Friends with Yourself, is designed to facilitate awareness, self-kindness and an understanding of our common humanity in response to these growing challenges. Through developmentally appropriate activities and carefully crafted practices and meditations, teens have an opportunity to learn how to navigate the emotional ups and downs of life with greater ease. This course creates an opportunity for adolescents to construct a healthier world-view and gives rise to greater compassion and empathy toward self and others. In a preliminary research study, this program demonstrated a significant decrease in depression, anxiety, perceived stress and negative mood. This curriculum was adapted from the adult Mindful Self-Compassion created by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, and has been endorsed by Neff and Germer.

The overarching goal of Making Friends With Yourself is to help teens turn toward the emotional ups and downs of this life stage with greater ease, to offer them specific tools for recognizing and managing their struggles, and to help them learn how to meet these struggles with kindness and compassion. This understanding was clearly expressed by another teen in a statement she made after the compassionate friend meditation: “You know … I’m thinking that it’s ok if other kids don’t like me… because I like me!”

Key Features :Making Friends with Yourself: A Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens & Young Adults:

  • Each course is taught with two instructors; one is a Clinical Counsellor
  • This course is not therapy, but therapeutic in nature.
  • Participants focus on skill development & brain training; Not group therapy
  • Participants will learn to calm their minds using science based approach to self compassion and mindfulness
  • Fee includes a family orientation session and a two hour workshop in Mindful & Compassionate Parenting
  • Graduates of this course may re-enroll for a reduced rate upon completion of the course
  • Ages 11-19

The Process:

  1. Apply to MFY program
  2. Family and Teen interview to determine if MFY course is the best fit
  3. Teen Sessions 1H 45mins for 8 weeks
  4. Parents Night – 2.5 hours- 4 weeks into the program
  5. Half Day silent retreat 9am-12 Teens

A preliminary research study on the effectiveness of MFY 8 week teen program,  showed a decrease in depression, anxiety, perceived stress and negative mood.

For more information on the research on MFY that was developed by University of California San Diego Health and University of North Carolina Click Below:

Bluth, K., Gaylord, S. A., Campo, R. A., Mullarkey, M. C., & Hobbs, L. (2016). Making Friends With Yourself: A Mixed Methods Pilot Study of a Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Adolescents. Mindfulness7(2), 479–492. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-015-0476-6

How to Help Teens Become More Self-Compassionate by Dr, Karen Bluth ,