Stanford’s Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT)

is an 8-week course designed to develop the qualities of compassion, empathy, and kindness for oneself and others. The course, developed by a team of contemplative scholars, clinical psychologists, and researchers at Stanford University, combines traditional contemplative practices with contemporary psychology and scientific research on compassion. The training includes:


Daily meditation, visualization, and breathing practices to develop loving-kindness, empathy, and compassion


Two-hour weekly classes that include lecture, discussion, and in-class listening and communication exercises with partners and small groups


Real-world homework to help you practice compassionate thought and action

Alumni Group

Course graduates are invited to a free monthly drop-in session for group discussions and updates on the latest compassion research

Click here to download a short PDF packet with FAQs and information about the Compassion Cultivation Training protocol.

Who We Encourage to Attend

Compassion Cultivation Training is designed to support anyone who wants to cultivate compassion for themselves and for others.

This includes:
– Parents and caregivers
– Educators
– Healthcare professionals and therapists
– Executives and managers
– Public service leaders and employees
– Individuals seeking to increase awareness and mindfulness

People working in a wide range of professions and life contexts can benefit from this program. No previous meditation experience is required, although willingness to practice daily meditation is a key component of the training.

Why Enroll?

Compassion training extends beyond helping one feel more empathy and concern for others.

It includes the development of:
– The strength to be present with suffering
– The courage to take compassionate action
– The resilience to prevent compassion fatigue

These qualities support a wide range of goals — from improving personal and work relationships to making a positive difference in the world.

Compassion training can also support one’s own health, happiness, and wellbeing. Preliminary research suggests that the CCT course and similar programs can increase self-compassion and self-care, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and enhance connection with others.

What People Are Saying

“The practice of cultivating compassion has infused peacefulness into my hectic life, and I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to teach it to others. Knowing the psychological and physical benefits we gain from compassion fuels my fire to spread the message.”
Sara Schairer

“During the 8-week CCT course and CCARE teacher training program, I have learned new ways to recognize and access the presence of compassion both within myself and externally. These new discoveries have given rise to a fundamental change in perspective. In addition, it’s a gift being able to wish myself the same unconditional friendliness that I happily offer others.”
Robert Cusick, long-time meditator

“Compassion — it’s not what I thought … literally! The training was a wonderful opportunity to join a group of people who chose to come together with a focused interest in compassion. [The training] helped to anchor the spirit of compassion at the forefront of my daily practice. It helped clarify the distinctions between compassion, empathy, and sympathy and awakened a way of seeing compassion as a strength and a wise way of being in the world.”
John McElyea

“I signed up for the 8-week Compassion Training because I vigil with dying hospital patients and wanted to know more about strengthening compassion and preventing burnout in the healthcare setting. I truly found the course life-altering: It taught me how to better nurture my soul and extend patience and kindness to others — and it gave me a renewed sense of purpose and meaning.”
Pamela Goyan Kittler

“Compassion is so needed in our complex world today. We must harness our leaders everywhere to lead more compassionately into the flux, uncertainty, and change of all organizations. The CCT 8-week course gave me new skills and a way of being in my daily work that is beyond mindfulness.”
Ann Badillo

Dates and Location

Spring  Quarter 2015

Wed. April 8th – Wed. May 27th (8 Wednesdays)
7:00-9:00 pm
Stanford University campus
classroom TBA
Instructor: Robert Cusick

Tues. April 7th – Tues. May 26th (First and last sessions on Tuesdays; all other sessions on Mondays)
6:30-8:30 pm
Stanford University campus
classroom TBA
Instructor: Monica Hanson

Registration for these courses will open on March 3rd, 2015  at 12pm noon.

To receive email announcements for registration and future course schedules, send an email request to and ask to be added to the CCT distribution list.


Tuition is $325, and includes guided meditation recordings, all coursework, and classroom instruction.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

CEU credit and academic credit are *not* available for this class.

Refund Policy

Full refunds may only be issued if we receive your cancellation request two (2) weeks prior to the first class session. A partial refund (minus a $75 processing fee) may be issued if the cancellation request is received between 2 weeks and 3 business days before the first class session. No refunds may be issued if your request is received 3 or fewer business days before the first class session. All refund requests must be sent by email to


Compassion training courses are educational and are not meant to treat psychological disorders. Participation in the course requires regular attendance and adherence to basic classroom policies. Participants who miss more than two classes or otherwise disrupt the learning environment may be asked to withdraw from the course without a refund.