For many years self-esteem was seen to be the key to psychological health. However, research psychologists have identified several downsides to the endless pursuit of self-esteem such as constant social comparisons, and instability of self-worth. Research suggests that self-compassion is a healthier way of relating to oneself, offering all the benefits of self-esteem without its downsides. Self-compassion involves treating ourselves kindly, like we would a good friend we cared about. Rather than continually judging and evaluating ourselves, self-compassion involves generating kindness toward ourselves as imperfect humans, and learning to be present with the inevitable struggles of life with greater ease. It motivates us to make needed changes in our lives not because we’re worthless or inadequate, but because we care about ourselves and want to lessen our suffering. This workshop will provide simple tools for responding in a kind, compassionate way whenever we are experiencing painful emotions. We all want to avoid pain, but letting it in—and responding compassionately to our own imperfections without harsh self-condemnation—are essential steps toward living happier, more fulfilling lives. Through discussion, meditation, and experiential exercises, you will gain practical skills to help bring self-compassion into you daily life. You will learn how to stop being so hard on yourself; handle difficult emotions with greater ease; and motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism. Practices will also be introduced to help ease stress for caregivers. This course is relevant for the general public as well as to practicing mental health professionals and educators.
Kristin Neff, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, conducting the first empirical studies on self-compassion over a decade ago. In addition to writing numerous academic articles on the topic, she is author of the book "Self-Compassion," released by William Morrow in 2011. Kristin’s work has received extensive media coverage, including the New York Times, MSNBC, National Public Radio, Reader’s Digest, and Psychology Today. She offers workshops on self-compassion worldwide, and has developed an eight-week program to help people learn to be more self-compassionate in daily life. Information on self-compassion - including videos, guided meditations, exercises, research articles, and a way to test your own self-compassion level – is available at www.self-compassion.org. Kristin is also featured in the bestselling book and award-winning documentary The Horse Boy (www.horseboyworld.com), which chronicles her family’s journey to Mongolia where they trekked on horseback to find healing for her autistic son.
She can be found online at www.self-compassion.org