Courageous Healers Facilitation Program

Our Level One advanced compassion meditation-based training for all people--including contemplative and spiritual practitioners, teachers, parents, social service professionals and leaders--interested in bringing more engaged compassion to our world.

Program Overview

We 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 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 within which we learn to explore common obstacles to love and care and ways of deepening our care and compassion in trauma-informed ways. From that basis, we help participants learn to integrate a social justice framework and anti-oppressive practices into their teaching. We aim to create a community that facilitates our 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 people 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-informed 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.

Who Takes This Course?

Participants in our current cohort are: Educators, Diversity and Inclusion Directors and Trainers, School Counselors, Social Workers, Community Service Workers, Professors of Urban Planning, Professors of Social Psychology, Social Science Researchers, Health Equity Researchers, Anti-Oppression Trainers, Environmental Activists, Contemplative Practitioners, College and Graduate Students in Health Education and Psychology, Artists, Musicians, Mindfulness Teachers, and Directors of University Centers for Compassion.

What Folks Say About This Course

"Our world feels more disconnected than ever before, and I’ve hit a point in my career where I need to do something about it. I need to be part of a force for good. Through Courage of Care, I’ve learned the science of compassion, the art of caring, and the power of community. I feel like I’m part of a team of change-makers who want to grow personally and grow together. I feel like I’m part of a force for good. 

My goal is to transform Education in a way that schools become communities of care and connection. I want to help educators and students see our shared humanity and develop the qualities of compassion. I really believe that Courage of Care has given me both the tools and the energy to do this work." 

--Blake, Graduate Student and Classroom Teacher

"With Courage, I have laughed and cried, thought and felt, hugged and learned. Without question, being a part of the Courage community has been one of the two or three most important experiences I’ve had at the intersection of the personal and professional realms. I feel a deeper sense of peace and resolve in my work as a parent, a teacher, and someone fighting injustice.”

--Ward, Professor of Urban Planning

"For too long I did not know what it meant to be held in a circle of care.  The Courage retreat was the first time I allowed myself to express some of the grief I privately carry in a public space.  I did not know the other people on the retreat and yet I was offered warmth and a sense of confidence that I was both unconditionally worthy of love and fully capable of carrying and healing my own grief--all because I had a community bear witness in solidarity without pity.  The healing that experience provided me continues to unfold and ripple out through all areas of my life, but most notably in my ability to carry my responsibilities in change work.  A previously unknown capacity to care deeply for strangers, to be willing to observe and work to transform my role in systems of inequity is available to me in a way that I never had access to before.  I no longer feel immediately overwhelmed by the suffering I see in the world, the urge to turn away when I can is lessened.  Instead my desire to turn toward has deepened as has my ability to embark on and sustain long-term change work. In short I feel much less fragile because I feel less alone.  As a result I am more able to show up and engage."

--Abra, Health Equity Researcher and Current Courage Faculty

"I joined this group because of the recommendation of a close friend, not knowing what was in store. Courage is fantastic! The group leaders thoughtfully move between holding space for personal, interpersonal and societal pain while encouraging us to understand and work alongside that pain towards something greater. The people are present and accessible and funny. The curriculum is current and poignant and stirring. I am at once terrified and galvanized by the capacity of my own heart: Courage is there to hear all of it!"

--Caitlin, Community Service Leader, Contemplative Practitioner and Artist

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 2019-2020 training includes the following in-person and online learning components:

LOVE | Courageous Compassion Retreat | August 6-11, 2019 in Portland, OR (*updated location!)

SEE | Engaged Compassion Seminar | Fall 2019

HEAL | Personal and Social Transformation Seminar | Winter 2020

ENVISION | Compassion-Focused Contemplative Pedagogy Seminar | Spring 2020

ACT | Contemplative Service Project | Spring/Summer 2020

INTEGRATE | Community Capstone Retreat | July 10-12, 2020

Download our Courageous Compassion for Personal Transformation for Participants - Program Overview

Contributing Program Faculty

Juliana Santoyo, MEd





Ana Hristic, MSW






Brooke D. Lavelle, PhD





Veta Goler, PhD





Kelly Conroy Moore, PhD





Ed Porter, MS, MA





Abra Vigna, PhD

Application and Program Fees

All tuition costs listed in the application linked below 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 in-person workshops in Portland, OR.  

We are offering 3-5 need-based, service-recognition and work-exchange scholarships per application pool.

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.

The full program fee is $4950; we do offer 25% and 50% reduced fee work-exchange scholarships and will work with all committed participants on other arrangements to make this training possible, such as support with raising funds from our community to attend the training.

We also offer discounts to organizations or community groups of two or more.

We will begin reviewing scholarship applications on January 7th, 2019. We will award scholarships on a rolling basis. 

All other applications are processed on a rolling basis. Please apply early as there are a limited number of seats available in this year-long training. We will accept applications as space remains through June 15th, 2020. 

Please note that a non-refundable deposit of $500 will be due within two weeks of acceptance to hold your spot in the training. A minimum of 50% of the remaining program tuition is due by April 1st, 2020. Full program payments must be completed by June 21st, 2020. Please note that no refunds will be granted after this date.


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

Applicants should have an established contemplative practice.


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



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 training in our relational method for cultivating care and compassion. We also couple our contemplative training with anti-oppressive pedagogy in order to equip contemplative teachers with a critical systemic lens to support their teaching and practice. (Our Courageous Leaders Programs supports people in developing tools necessary for systemic transformation, and builds upon key teachings in our Courageous Compassion course.)

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 five core online courses (LOVE, SEE, HEAL, ENVISION, ACT) 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 an already established contemplative practice. Please contact us if you have questions about which program would be a better fit.