Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Science of Self-Compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff

Self-compassion is often one of the central focuses of my work with clients - when they can learn to be gentle with themselves, to accept their pain and confusion about where they are in their lives, the anxiety lessens, the depression lessens, and their equanimity increases. It's not easy, and it is always a process more than a destination, but it is important work.

Dr. Neff is the author of Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind.

The Science of Self-Compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff

by Emiliana Simon-Thomas

Kristin studied communications as an undergraduate at the University of California at Los Angeles (B.A., 1988). She did her graduate work at University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D., 1997), studying moral development with Dr. Elliot Turiel. Her dissertation research was conducted in Mysore, India, where she examined children’s moral reasoning. (She also met her husband Rupert Isaacson while there, who was writing a guidebook to South India.) She then spent two years of post-doctoral study with Dr. Susan Harter at Denver University, studying issues of authenticity and self- concept development. Her current position at the University of Texas at Austin started in 1999, and she was promoted to Associate Professor in 2006.

During Kristin’s last year of graduate school in 1997 she became interested in Buddhism, and has been practicing meditation in the Insight Meditation tradition ever since. While doing her post-doctoral work she decided to conduct research on self-compassion – a central construct in Buddhist psychology and one that had not yet been examined empirically.

In addition to her pioneering research into self-compassion, she has developed an 8-week program to teach self-compassion skills. The program, co-created with her colleague Chris Germer at Harvard University, is called Mindful Self-Compassion. She has a new book titled "Self-Compassion" that will be published by William Morrow on April 19, 2011.

Kristin lives in the countryside in Elgin, Texas with her husband Rupert Isaacson – an author and human rights activist – and with her young son Rowan. She and her family were recently featured in the documentary and book called The Horse Boy –

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