Compassion Cultivation Training

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When faced with difficulty and stress, we can meet life with steadiness and respond from a place of courage and resilience.

All of us have a natural capacity for compassion. However, everyday stress, social pressures, and strong emotions can make it difficult for us to fully express our compassion. Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) was developed to uncover the capacity of individuals to move through life and its challenges with a steadier mind and heart, from a place of greater awareness, connection, and inner strength.

What is 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 in the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University School of Medicine by a team of contemplative scholars, clinical psychologists, and researchers. It is now the central focus of the Compassion Institute.


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, proper tools, and a supportive environment.

A crucial key to developing compassion in your life is to make it a daily practice. When striving for happiness, it becomes tremendously important that we cultivate and practice compassion every day.

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. The potential benefits are profound and plentiful, one of the most important of which is happiness – a renewed sense of joy in our relationship with ourselves, our families, friends, students, and colleagues. As well, CCT invites a living awareness of our interconnectedness and interdependence with all beings and with the world itself.

Preliminary research ( suggests that not only can compassion be trained, but that CCT and similar programs course can increase compassion, self-compassion and self-care, reduce overwhelm, stress, anxiety, depression, and increase health, overall well-being, and feelings of connection.

Click here for a 2 minute video on building compassion.

Click here for a brief video by Thupten Jinpa, founder of CCT.

Click here for a 4 minute video from CCARE.


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. No previous experience with meditation is necessary.

In CCT, the 8 week training process includes:

  • Weekly 2-hour class, with lectures, discussions, meditation & in-class interactive exercises
  • Take home daily meditation practices that progress from week to week
  • Simple real life strategies to help move new practices into long term habits

Resulting Benefits:

For Individuals:

  • Enhanced ability to feel compassion for oneself and others
  • Increased calmness and ability to handle stressful situations
  • Better engagement and communication in relationships
  • Self-evaluation and mindfulness when feeling overwhelmed
  • Increased job satisfaction and decreased job overwhelm
  • A more pleasurable, nurturing life at home or with family

For Educators/Childcare Professionals: in addition to the individual benefits

  • More meaningful connections with students and co-workers
  • Better ability to engage and collaborate with team members
  • Reduced compassion fatigue

Interested in Cultivating Compassion?

Please go to contact me. I can talk via email, phone or zoom.

© The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University 2008-2013, and Compassion Institute 2017. All rights reserved. All or portions of this material include copyrighted materials belonging to Stanford University.
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