Kristin Neff is a pioneering empirical researcher in the field of self-compassion. She became interested in Buddhism while doing her doctoral work in moral development at the University of California at Berkeley. And while doing her post-doctoral work in self-concept development, she began practicing insight meditation (vipassana), as well as conducting research on self-compassion, a central construct in Buddhist psychology and one that had not yet been examined empirically.
The scale she created to measure self-compassion was published in 2003 and is now being used by hundreds of researchers worldwide. In addition to Dr. Neff’s pioneering research into self-compassion, she has cocreated the 8-week program Mindful Self-Compassion with her colleague Chris Germer from Harvard University, which is now being used internationally to teach self-compassion skills.
Dr. Neff is the author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself and currently teaches in the Human Development, Culture, and Learning Sciences program in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, and lives in the countryside with her husband Rupert Isaacson—an author and human rights activist—and with her son Rowan. She and her family were recently featured in the documentary and book The Horse Boy.