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Compassion Lab is a new way for us to learn how to be more resilient and adaptive healthcare professionals.

Compassion Labs in South Australia

May – June 2020


“We know that there is good evidence that high levels of staff engagement improve quality of care. Now we need to do the work to make that improvement.”

These Labs have been designed to help you:

  • practice turning your attention inward to develop greater empathy and emotional intelligence;
  • use neuroscience to transform your leadership skills;
  • build new brain;
  • enjoy a little space for creativity, curiosity and connection;
  • practice having critical conversations;
  • create tools for lowering your stress levels and optimising your productivity;
  • find out how to listen with fascination and act with clarity in difficult times;
  • develop more courage and open heartedness;

While you’re here, check out the Compassion Revolution.

Be sure to join the mailing list at Compassion Revolution to hear all about the next conference. We’d love to see you there.

Compassion Labs on-line.

Congratulations on being accepted to join this exclusive Compassion Lab experience. I’m glad you’re here.

Welcome to a whole new way of building a compassionate healthcare community on-line. Using the Zoom platform we will be meeting once a week for 3 weeks. All you need to do is arrive on time, make sure your camera is working and if you are in shared workspace make sure you have  a set of headphones at the ready.

You will be working with the same group of people throughout the 3 weeks. The sessions will not be recorded for later viewing. This is an experiential Lab. I want you to get the most out of this opportunity and so I ask you to do three things :

  1. Please let us all know if you cannot make it to a session.  Email Mary Freer at
  2. We need you to fully show up. This means being brave and curious about the ideas we are sharing.
  3. Encourage your colleagues to try new things and support them to make the healthcare system more compassionate.

See you at the first workshop,

All the care


Some Background About the Labs.



The Idea

A small group of people committed to building more compassion, coming together to learn. Plenty of time to experience new ideas, no ringing phones, no meetings and no interruptions.

These labs are based on contemporary research and evidence about the science and nature of compassion. We will draw on studies, examples and learning from around the healthcare eco-system. In preparation for your workshop we have consulted with thought leaders around the world, many of whom have contributed to the Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science (published in 2018).

The Facilitator

Your Compassion Lab  facilitator is Mary Freer.   You can read about her  here. Mary is passionately aware of the need for more Compassionate Leaders. She spent 2 months traveling in Europe and the United States as a Westpac Bicentennial Social Change Fellow in 2016 building Compassion Lab. Mary is now leading Compassion Revolution.

What can I expect?

You can anticipate that over the 3 weeks you will spend some time in mindful contemplation, you will turn your attention to your inner experience, you will learn more about neuroscience, enjoy a little space for creativity and connection and discover how your body and your brain work to influence each other. You will practice new skills that you can take into your work environment. You will also be supported to build a new idea for your workplace and to test that idea out and get feedback.

What do you mean by a Compassionate Leader?

Put simply a Compassionate Leader is anyone who seeing there is a need, steps forward and acts skillfully to alleviate the chaos, the anger and the confusion through a deeply empathic response. The world needs more of them right now and we need them stepping up everywhere. These are the people who will raise their hands to transform our health and social care systems, our public governance and our education systems and our communities. These are the leaders who bring creativity, wisdom and joy to the places where they work.

The Academy of Management Review dedicated an entire issue to the topic of Compassionate Leadership 37 (4 ) 2012.

The Commitment

There is a saying “the way you do anything is the way you do everything.” This workshop was designed for people, like you, who want to develop a deeper understanding of the way their inner experience impacts on everything they do. You recognise that right now across the world, in the midst of this global pandemic, we are needing more compassion, care and empathy in our healthcare system.  You also know that healthcare professionals are being asked to step and do extraordinary things right now and you want to be part of the effort to build resilience and strength in our system.

If you’ve ever come home at the end of the day and thought “I have a better version of my best self”; if you’ve ever taken your body to a meeting or a conversation and found your mind wandering elsewhere; if you’re wondering how to sustain your joy and purpose, this workshop is designed just for you.


Micro Habits (Homework)

Group A Family Photo – doin’ the vampire cough

Week One

(click the link)

Week One Homework

Week Two

Micro Habits week 2

Week Three

Micro Habits week 3


Over the coming weeks we will be loading a selection of resources onto this web page.


If you have misplaced your calendar invite or need your Zoom link please contact

If for any reason you would like to make contact with Mary please email 


The Science of Gratitude (2018) Greater Good Science Centre


Caring to Change (2017) Kings Fund, UK

This paper looks at compassion – which involves attending, understanding, empathising and helping – as a core cultural value of the NHS and how compassionate leadership results in a working environment that encourages people to find new and improved ways of doing things.  Download pdf at the link below.



The AMA Report

The AMA Survey Report on Junior Doctor Health and Wellbeing



Dr Jim Doty –  OnBeing Podcast

James Doty — The Magic Shop of the Brain

Innovation Starts with the Heart not the Head, Gary Hamel HBR (2015)


Patient Safety Put at Risk by Negative Workplace Culture


Great Things Happen to Your Brain and Your Life When You Look Up.


Infographic Healing Power of Kindness CCARE for Dignity Health


Self Compassion in Daily Life Centre for Mindful Self Compassion


Self Compassion Break – short exercise


The Development and Validation of a Scale to Measure Self-Compassion Kristin Neff


The Compassion Revolution Podcast on iTunes


From Crisis to Calm: Mindfulness during Covid19

Royal College of Paediatrics and Health


A poem in Gratitude for Healthcare Workers


Compassionate Self - Guided Meditation

Self-Compassion Guided Meditation

This is a short ( 5 min) guided meditation to help us to connect with our kind, wise, compassionate selves. We have access to this self everyday, in every situation.

“Thank you for two inspiring days. You have a tremendous gift for making a good world seem not only possible but likely.”

Dr Kate Bowles
School of Social Sciences, Media and Communications, University of Wollongong.

Listen to this Loving Kindness Meditation

This 8 minute LKM was recorded for one of the recent Compassion Lab workshops to assist participants to practice in between sessions. You might enjoy trying this each day.