Applied Compassion Training is a groundbreaking 11-month online program offered through the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research (CCARE) at Stanford University.
The ultimate aim of Applied Compassion Training is to prepare people who feel an urgency to bring forth and integrate compassionate action into their occupations, professions, communities and institutions, as well as into their personal development.
Built upon decades of compassion science and education at CCARE Stanford, ACT is a groundbreaking contribution to compassion training. It goes beyond mere theory, delivering concrete, life-altering outcomes. ACT empowers participants with practical tools, knowledge, skills, and firsthand experience to drive profound shifts in both personal and professional domains.
Following Stanford’s innovative design thinking model, ACT prioritizes experiential learning, preparing individuals to become catalysts of change and compassion. As participants engage in active learning, they cultivate the capacity to foster transformation within workplaces, organizations, communities, and their own lives.
Throughout the immersive 11-month program, ACT empowers participants to put compassion into action, employing dialogue, skill-building, and practical tools in real-time scenarios. Graduates emerge as Ambassadors of Applied Compassion, spanning diverse fields such as education, facilitation, consultancy, healthcare (including physicians and nurses), coaching, volunteers, and leadership. These compassionate Ambassadors become advocates, representatives, and stewards of compassion, equipped with skill in fostering compassionate responses in real-world contexts.
Over the course of the 11-month training, participants meet online for three immersive retreats: at the beginning, midpoint, and end of the training. Due to the experiential and highly-interactive nature of these retreats, live online participation is required.
- Becoming an Ambassador of Applied Compassion
- Compassionate Coaching, Communication and Facilitation Skills
- Applied Compassion in Action, Capstone Presentations, and Graduation
Teaching and Practice Modules
In the intervening months, between the three immersive retreats, trainees will participate in two monthly online sessions.
- Teaching Sessions with Subject-Matter Experts | Examples include: Mindfulness in the Service of Compassion™, Resiliency, A Skillful Recognition and Response to Triggers, Unconscious Bias and Compassion, Compassionate Leadership, Designing Systems for Compassion, and Applied Compassion: Bringing It into the World.
- Practice Modules | These include practical exercises that immerse participants in the experiential processes relevant to the teaching module of that month.
Applied Compassion Capstone Project
A defining component of the ACT program is the compassionate incubator that is created. During the program, each participant is guided through a process that supports the design and delivery of an Applied Compassion Capstone Project in a real-world setting of their choice. In order to meet the program requirements, Capstone Projects need to be delivered/implemented in a public setting during the ACT program. Capstone Projects have been delivered in workplace environments like hospitals, offices, classrooms, online via podcasts or workshops, or in a community or volunteer setting. Capstone Projects come in all different shapes and sizes across a wide-range of industries. In ACT, every Capstone Project is valued, celebrated, and recognized as making an important contribution in the world!
Mentoring Group Sessions
These smaller group sessions meet online monthly with one of the ACT Founders. Mentoring groups are a unique opportunity to bring questions, challenges, and Capstone Project ideas to a smaller group for feedback. In addition, each ACT participant will be part of a smaller Capstone Team that meets during these monthly small group sessions. The ACT Capstone Team forms a backbone of support throughout the program and serves as a powerful group of peers engaging one another in the design and development of each person’s Capstone Project. Since each member is an integral part of this small team, live participation each month is required.
1:1 Mentoring with an ACT Founder and Director
One of the cornerstones of the ACT program is the 1:1 customized mentoring for each participant. ACT participants are paired with an expert ACT Mentor who works with them throughout the program to support the creation, design, and delivery of their Applied Compassion Capstone Project. Monthly 1:1 sessions include a combination of:
- Personalized coaching/advising on Capstone Project development
- Expert support in the design of Capstone offerings (content/process/design/delivery)
- Empowerment throughout the natural challenges of project development
- Accountability to ensure that each participant’s project idea/vision is delivered out in the world!