Courageous Compassion Facilitation Program

An updated training for contemplative and spiritual practitioners, teachers and leaders from traditions interested in bringing more engaged compassion to our world.

Program Overview

Our spiritual and contemplative teachers are being called upon to help nourish, support and sustain those on the front lines of social service and caring professions, and to help our communities heal and strengthen their commitments to upholding the values of love, justice, live-giving joy and inclusivity in the face of threat, oppression, violence and apathy.

We believe that many spiritual, contemplative and religious traditions offer methods that help us awaken, sustain and deepen our natural capacities for love, care and compassion for ourselves, others and our environment. Great teachers and contemplatives from many traditions have modeled for us ways not only of embodying fierce and loving care and compassion, but also ways of challenging inequitable and oppressive structures while also staying in touch with the humanity of all. As these great teachers exemplified, learning to be a force for good in the world requires that we uproot our own internalized oppressive structures, and learn to deepen and stay in touch with our capacity for love, care and compassion for all.

Our team, which includes teachers from diverse spiritual and contemplative traditions, offers participants deep training in our relational method of compassion, called Sustainable Compassion Training (SCT). SCT highlights our need to experience ourselves as objects of care and compassion in order to extend care and compassion sustainably to others; our need to see others in their deep dignity and worth beyond our limiting labels or ideas in order to extend care more widely; and our need to feel at home with ourselves in order to be a welcoming presence to others. For these purposes, SCT meditations cultivate three interrelated modes of care as a basis for compassionate action. These three modes are:  (1) receiving care, (2) extending care, and (3) deep self-care.

These three modes of care serve as a framework in which we explore varieties of relational compassion practices drawn from some of the world’s major religious and spiritual traditions. Participants trained in diverse psychological therapies may also recognize the relational dimension of SCT’s three modes inflected in many interventions. Our aim is to create a community to facilitate teachers’ and practitioners’ own contemplative deepening in service of better supporting our shared vision for a more caring, loving world.

Learn more about our SCT approach:

Who Should Participate?

This training is open to all contemplative and spiritual practitioners and teachers as well as educators, health and social service professionals interested in:

  • deepening their contemplative compassion practice;
  • learning with and from diverse contemplative perspectives;
  • strengthening ways of supporting those in social service, caring professions and in community through contemplative teaching and service;
  • enhancing their pedagogical skills in inclusive and trauma-sensitive ways
  • developing greater systemic and structural competency to complement their contemplative training; and
  • joining a growing professional learning community of contemplative teachers and leaders committed to realizing a more just, compassionate world.

Statement on Inclusion

We are dedicated to recruiting a cohort that is representative, welcoming and inclusive of diverse spiritual, religious and contemplative perspectives, as well as of age, gender, sexual orientation, professional experience and education. We believe this work will succeed inasmuch as it is reflective of and responsive to the needs of our diverse human family.

Program Structure

The program is designed as a year-long course to offer time, space and community building necessary for deep contemplative work to unfold. The training includes the following in-person and online learning components:

  1. Courageous Compassion Retreat | Summer, July 13-18, 2018
  2. Perspectives on Engaged Compassion Seminar | Fall
  3. Contemplative Pedagogy Seminar | Winter
  4. Contemplative Service Project | Spring
  5. Capstone Retreat | Summer, June, 2019

The Courageous Compassion Retreat is a 5-day intensive retreat designed to support participants’ personal contemplative practice and to build community. *The retreat will be held from July 13-18, 2018 at our Headquarters in Oakland, CA.

The Perspectives on Engaged Compassion Seminar is an 8-week course that offers participants an opportunity to deepen their own compassion practice in community. 

The Contemplative Pedagogy Seminar is an 8-week course designed to support and prepare participants to lead open, inclusive and trauma-sensitive contemplative-based courses or workshops that help others in social service and caring professions sustain in their work by avoiding burnout and empathy fatigue.  

The Contemplative Service Project involves the design and implementation of a compassion-based contemplative course, workshop or training in one’s community, organization or professional sector. Participants will work in peer support groups with one or more of our core faculty during the process.  

The Community Capstone Retreat offers a chance for the cohort to convene again for a 2.5 day intensive at our Oakland headquarters for retreat and reflection. 

Contributing Program Faculty

Brooke D. Lavelle





Veta Goler





Ana Hristic






To participate in the Courageous Compassion Facilitation Program, interested applicants are  required to successfully complete our three core online courses (ENVISION, LOVE and SEE) or their in-person workshop equivalent. Some courses can be taken simultaneously to fulfill this requirement. *All applicants should have some experience with or exposure to Courage's programming and approach.

Applicants should have an established contemplative practice.

Program Fees

The full cost of the year-long intensive program is $4950. These costs include retreat and online course tuition, as well as coaching, supervision and certificate fees. *These costs do not include travel to/from and room and board at the retreat.  

We offer need-based, service-recognition and work-exchange scholarships upon request. We do believe it is important for every member of our cohort to invest in our learning community, so we do not offer full scholarships. We offer work-exchange reductions of 25% and 50% off tuition upon request. We pledge to work with all committed participants to make this training possible!

Please note that we also offer discounts to organizations or community groups of two or more.

Please indicate your request for a need-based and/or work exchange scholarship in your application form. If you are requesting a work-exchange scholarship, please also send us your CV with a description of skills you can offer.


Q: How does this relate to other mindfulness- or compassion-based certification programs?

A: We see complementarity with a number of programs. Our approach aims to offer participants from diverse faith traditions--and those from no particular faith tradition--opportunities to explore a relational method for cultivating care and compassion. Our explicit focus on interfaith learning and dialogue is also a key feature of our approach. We believe there is much to learn from our spiritual brothers and sisters and that the success of much of our activism depends upon our mutual respect and collective efforts. 

Q: Can I apply for the program if I haven't yet completed the required online courses?

A: You can apply for the program once you have successfully completed at least one of the online courses or have attended at least one weekend workshop with us. Participants are required to complete all three online courses before the training begins.

Q: I don't want to teach this program or a particular method, but am interested in learning from other traditions as well as ways of integrating a more relational model of compassion into my own work. Should I apply?

A: Yes, you are welcome to apply. The program is designed to help participants deepen their practice and teaching in a variety of ways. 

Q: Can I enroll in the retreat or other parts of the program without enrolling in the whole program?

A: Because we aim to foster community, our program is open only to accepted applicants who are able to complete the entire training. We do offer public retreats and workshops. Visit our workshops listings for more information.

Q: How does this program compare to Courage's Courageous Leadership Program?

A: Our Courageous Compassion program is tailored to contemplative practitioners who wish to deepen their practice, strengthen their pedagogy, and learn more about social and systemic inhibitors to care and compassion. Our Leadership Program is tailored more toward community activists and organizers who wish to strengthen their leadership skills and learn and strengthen a sustainable contemplative practice. Please contact us if you have questions about which program would be a better fit.


Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Please apply early.