Beyond Measure » Contemplative Caregiver Course: Details
San Francisco Zen Center

Thank you for your interest in this course.  Listed below are all the details, and a link to the application.

Engaging in contemplative caregiving begins with you, with a sense of longing or calling that you may have experienced. Perhaps you have an inner knowing that training in this type of care is relevant to your current or future life situation. Perhaps you are already a caregiver, and yearn for a new approach to your profession. Whether your interest arises from your work as a healthcare professional, institution administrator, or as a family caregiver, student, or dedicated spiritual practitioner, we welcome you.  


Calls are welcome:  415-354-0408,  and emails at:

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Term 1:
Jan. 31 to May 10
Term 2:
May 15 to Aug. 15
Term 3:
Aug. 22 to Dec. 6
Areas of Study Zen Way of Life
Contemplative Care Principles
Listening Inward
Deep Interconnectedness
Beginner’s Mind
Appropriate Response
Caregiving Myths & Realities
Skillful Means & Advocacy
Personal Intention & Resilience
Mindful Attunement for Leadership
Guiding with Competence & Humility
Honorable Closure
Dates Session 1: Jan. 31 & Feb.1
Session 2: March 7 & 8
Session 3: April 11 & 12
Session 4: May 9 & 10
Practicum: May 15 to August 15 Session 5: Aug. 22, 23 & 24
Session 6: Sept. 26 & 27
Session 7: Oct. 31 & Nov. 1
Session 8: Dec. 5 & 6
Contemplative Practice Mindfulness Meditation Contemplation of Aging, Sickness, Death & Loss Compassion Cultivation
Homework Reading, reflection papers, field trips Reading, reflection papers, field trips Reading, reflection papers, field trips, final projects
Supervision 3 Mentor Meetings
3 Conference Calls
3 Mentor Meetings
3 Conference Calls
3 Mentor Meetings
3 Conference Calls
Tuition $1,100.00 $1,100.00 $1,100.00

Sessions 1-4 and 6-8 run from 4pm Fridays to Saturdays 6pm.
Session 5 runs from Friday 4pm to Sunday lunch and is an overnight retreat at Green Gulch Farm.
Practicum takes place from home/in one’s workplace or community.
Terms may be taken separately, but only sequentially.  Upon completion of Terms 1, 2 & 3, participants receive a certificate as a Contemplative Caregiver.
Travel: Participants are responsible for travel arrangements and costs, including airfare and ground transportation.
Overnight Accommodations are not provided, though arrangements can be made to stay overnight at San Francisco Zen Center for an additional fee, click here for more info. There are also several hotels in the area within walking distance.
Meals provided: Friday dinner only.

Faculty A core faculty of leaders from caregiving institutions and contemplative communities guide the course. Adjunct faculty are prominent healthcare leaders, educators, and scholars. All faculty share a dedication to caring for people who are aging, frail, or approaching the end of life.

  • Jennifer Block is a Buddhist chaplain and educator who has developed education programs for Zen Hospice Project and the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies.
  • Dr. Grace Dammann is a revered physician who was honored by the Dalai Lama for her extraordinary work with AIDS patients during the height of the epidemic and has been a resident of Green Gulch Farm for many decades.
  • Robert Cusick is a mindfulness practitioner and instructor who has studied many schools of Buddhism, including Vipassana, Zen, Insight, and Concentration.
  • Peter Van der Sterre is a Soto Zen teacher who teaches the Way of the Cook, in addition to being the proprietor of a residential construction business.

Who Attends The CCC is designed for people who care for others, in whatever form that is personally or professionally relevant. Individuals in this course retain and deepen their personal spiritual perspectives, while also expanding their capacity to serve others within a contemplative framework that is rooted in Buddhist teachings. People from all walks of life are welcome. These include:

  • Individuals caring for family members in their homes, or when they are placed in assisted living facilities, hospitals, hospices, and the like.
  • Healthcare workers such as nursing attendants, mental health workers, social workers, hospice personnel, nurses and physicians, clergy, therapists, integrative and holistic medicine practitioners, emergency responders, and community service workers.
  • Managerial and executive personnel from the health and social services sector who seek innovative strategies in developing and implementing progressive strategies for mission integration, systemic change, and staff training.

Continuing Education Credit 
  20 Continuing Education (CE) credit hours are available per term for MFTs, LCSWs, psychologists and nurses, for an additional fee.  For more information, please contact our Programming Department at  San Francisco Zen Center and the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) have teamed together to offer CE credit to MFTs, LCSWs, psychologists and nurses. SCRC offers CE credit to MFTs and LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (provider #PCE1851). SCRC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education activities for psychologists. SCRC maintains responsibility for these programs and their content. SCRC also offers CE credit to nurses (California Board of Registered Nursing Provider #CEP11909). For complete information visit or contact David Lukoff, PhD, at 707-763-3576. 

Enrollment  There are no specific education requirements for admission to the CCC, as everyone has the capacity to provide compassionate care to another. However, candidates must be prepared to complete a graduate-level curriculum. We appreciate that some people need support in discerning if the CCC is appropriate for them. Indeed, choosing to enroll in a program such as this is a considerable investment of time and resources. Calls are welcome: 415-354-0408, and emails as well:

A written application is required for enrollment. Its purpose is to help us understand the applicant’s readiness and motivation, and to assist applicants in clarifying their ow intentions and motivations for enrollment. In addition to basic contact information, the application contains reflective questions about intention, motivation, caregiving, and related experiences.

Unlike a job or college application, applicants need not worry about having specific skills, qualifications, etc. Most applicants are accepted into the program. The most common reason for declining an applicant is his or her lack of readiness or inability to fully participate in all aspects of the CCC. People’s whose lives are enriched by other academic studies, extended periods of travel, or major life transitions such as weddings, divorces, births, moving homes, and the like, are advised to carefully consider if they have the time and energy to engage in the course.

Frequently Asked Questions: Click here

Application & Deadline  A written application is required for enrollment.
To download the application click here
Deadline: January 29, 2014 (extended from January 20)
Application Fee: $50.00    Application Fee on-line payment: click here
Applications are processed on a first come, first serve basis, so sending early application is advised.  Subsequently, candidates will be contacted to arrange for a mutually convenient interview, either in person or virtually.

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Way of Learning The CCC is far more than a training aimed at simply educating people in how to care for others. Knowledge of, and compassion for, oneself are essential to the ability to provide contemplative care. Thus a structured format for deep self- reflection and personal development are central to the training. Students have the unique opportunity to explore their own understanding about giving and receiving care, its contemplative dimensions, and how they relate to life and those they care for.

In this way, training in contemplative care is not so much a matter of acquiring information, understanding something new, or taking on a role, but rather, the skills built in the CCC clear the way for one’s natural caregiving capacities. Participants become uniquely attuned to a deeper understanding of what it means to be present with suffering and are therefore able to respond more effectively and appropriately to the needs of those in their care.

The Role of Mindfulness Training  Participants in the CCC receive instruction in mindfulness practices to develop contemplative care skills and to deepen their understanding of the principles of contemplative care. These practices include sitting meditation and mindfulness activities such as cooking and healing touch. Contemplative care qualities developed through mindfulness training include open-ness, self-awareness and insight; enhanced speaking and listening skills; the sharpening of insight; and an appreciation of the world’s diversity and richness.

Mindfulness Meditation is a way to quiet and calm the mind by paying non-judgmental attention to your moment-to-moment experiences. The purpose of mindfulness is to observe the ever- changing nature of experiences in a non-judgmental way without analyzing, interpreting, or reacting to the experience themselves. In addition, scientific studies have proven that meditation helps restore and maintain a sense of personal balance and helps to develop the skills necessary to avoid emotional and physical depletion. This is important for persons who want to avoid physical or professional burnout while they care for others.

Background  The CCC is a collaboration between Beyond Measure School for Contemplative Care and San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC). This curriculum will inform the Zen-inspired senior living community currently being developed by SFZC and Northern California Presbyterian Homes and Services. This community will be a Continuing Care Retirement Community and will be open to all.