COMPASSION CULTIVATION TRAINING©
Compassion Cultivation Training© (CCT) is an eight-week program designed to develop the qualities of compassion, empathy, and kindness for oneself and for others.
CCT integrates traditional contemplative practices with contemporary psychology and scientific research on compassion. The CCT protocol was developed at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University by a team of contemplative scholars, clinical psychologists, and researchers.
Compassion is a process that unfolds in response to suffering. It begins with the recognition of suffering, which gives rise to thoughts and feelings of empathy and concern. This, in turn, motivates action to relieve that suffering.
Humans have a natural capacity for compassion. However, everyday stress, social pressures and life experiences can make it difficult to fully express this capacity. Each of us can choose to nurture and grow the compassionate instinct, like a plant that is carefully cultivated from a seed. This process requires patience, steady care, helpful tools, and a supportive environment.
The process of cultivating compassion involves training our own minds, developing specific skills in how we relate to others and ourselves, and intentionally choosing compassionate thoughts and actions.
In CCT, the training process includes:
- Daily meditation practices to develop loving kindness, empathy, and compassion.
- A two-hour weekly class that includes teaching, discussion, and in-class exercises.
- Practical applications to explore and develop compassionate thoughts and actions in real life.
Why Cultivate Compassion?
Cultivating compassion goes beyond feeling more empathy and concern for others. It develops the strength to be with suffering, the courage to take compassionate action, and the resilience to prevent compassion fatigue. These qualities support a wide range of goals, from improving personal relationships to making a positive difference in the world. Compassion cultivation can also support one’s own health, happiness, and well-being. Preliminary research suggests that CCT and similar programs can increase self-compassion and self-care, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and enhance connection with others.
Who Can Benefit from Compassion Cultivation Training?
CCT is designed to support anyone who wants to cultivate compassion for themselves and for others. This includes parents, caregivers, educators, healthcare professionals, therapists, executives, public servants, and people in a wide range of professions and life contexts.
If you are interested in learning more about Compassion Cultivation Training© or joining a 2019 session, please contact Laura.
A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives, Thupten Jinpa, Compassion Cultivation Training Founding Faculty Member