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Dr. Kristin Neff


Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Texas at Austin

Kristin obtained her Ph.D, from the University of California at Berkeley, studying moral development with Dr. Elliot Turiel. Her dissertation research was conducted in Mysore, India, where she examined children’s moral reasoning. She then spent two years of post-doctoral study with Dr. Susan Harter at Denver University, studying issues of authenticity and self-concept development. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

During Kristin’s last year of graduate school 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.

She was the first scholar to introduce the construct of self-compassion into the research literature in 2003, including creating a scale to measure it. There are now over 2,000 peer reviewed journal articles, dissertations and books focused on self-compassion, more than half published just since 2016.

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, affiliated with Harvard Medical School, is called Mindful Self-Compassion. The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook was published by Guilford in August, 2018.  Her bestselling book, Self-Compassion, was published by William Morrow in April, 2011.

Kristin Neff on why she chose to pursue her research from MindEDU on Vimeo.

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