Mindful Self-Compassion and Emotional Awareness
The Group Program:
The Mindful Self-Compassion and Emotionality Program starts with a simple mindfulness technique for attending to one’s experience in a way that is at once relaxed (and stress free) yet engaged (and energetic). Different from a meditation practice, this program instead focuses on short “pauses” taken throughout the day to check in with yourself and better understand your thoughts and emotional experience from a place of neutral non-reactivity. Combined with self-compassion work, this creates a warm and stable foundation for exploring:
Emotions, their functions, and how to work with them in general
Tolerating distress by breaking it into pieces
Exploring one’s own emotional landscape through labelling, planning, and self-care
Holding goals and intentions lightly but preciously
Moving toward what we value rather than away from what we fear
Techniques for effectively creating new habits
Types of motivation - harnessing the good and ignoring the ineffective
With the foundation of mindfulness and self-compassion that this program creates, you can learn tactics and strategies for managing difficult (or joyful!) emotions before, during and after they arise.
This program is expected to run for 8 weeks on a weekly basis with sessions lasting approximately 1.5 hours. Sessions are 90 minutes long and typically start with a brief warmup activity and then an explanation and guided practice focusing on acceptance, compassion, gratitude, or motivation. This is typically followed by more concrete work on specific techniques or theory. We aim to send you home with concrete exercises each week that you can use to level up your awareness, self-warmth, and ability to manage your emotions. Cost for the program is $400 CAD (or current equivalent in USD).
Note: While Dr. Armstrong does understand French reasonably well, this is an English-language program, and it will be important for participants to feel comfortable speaking and listening in English.
Why are mindfulness and self-compassion important?
Often our negative emotions persist, because we are making them worse with our attempts to control or fix. When we let go and release our grip on emotions and thoughts, this allows them to process naturally and dissipate in their own time. Mindfulness is a way of deploying attention that is at once focused on the present moment and also relaxed and accepting.
Staying focused on the present moment keeps us out of negative thought loops about a difficult past or uncertain future. Maintaining a relaxed and accepting frame keeps our emotions from building on themselves so they can process naturally and smoothly. Self-compassion goes a step further and gives us a tool to actively soothe the parts of us that are hurting. Acting through attachment processes, self-compassion allows us to activate our own innate capacity to be soothed and cared for to heal and open ourselves emotionally.
Of note, this program is more psycho-educational than therapeutically intensive. There will be opportunities for individuals to share their experiences, but sharing deeply about personal topics is not required. In this way, it is more of a mindfulness and emotion regulation workshop than what is traditionally considered “group therapy”. That said, we do utilize partner and small group exercises to keep things interesting, so there will be a fair amount of interpersonal interaction. We actively encourage all participants to take each others’ feelings and confidentiality seriously and problems are very rare.
If you would like to know more about this program, please book a free 15 min call with Dr. Armstrong using the form below. He’s happy to chat with you about how the program might or might not meet your needs.