About Us

About Us

The Awake Network and The Center for Mindful Self Compassion have partnered to create the Compassion in Therapy Summit, a 5-day FREE online event, put together with 20+ leading experts in the fields of mindfulness and compassion-based therapies, neuroscience, and compassion training.

Our mission is to create a community platform of mental health professionals exploring mindfulness, self-compassion, and compassion practices as key ingredients of psychological and social wellbeing.

This event will share the latest research and best practices for introducing and integrating mindfulness, self-compassion, and compassion into your therapy practice, for you and your clients.

We look forward to you joining us!

The Awake Network specializes in curated online events that truly impact your life. Every year we put our energy into a few quality online conferences on topics that matter, like mindfulness for well-being, relationships, education, business, and healthcare systems. We provide free talks about living a good life, and connect you with a vast network of resources from us, our partners, and our network of teachers. Learn more about The Awake Network here.

The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion aims to be the global leader in self-compassion training and offer the highest quality programs to diverse populations, based upon scientific research and established teaching methods. CMSC is committed to building an equitable, inclusive, and caring global community supporting the practice of self-compassion where each person matters and everyone belongs. We accomplish this vision through providing resources and training opportunities, disseminating programs, collaborating with like-minded organizations and fostering a worldwide community of practice. Learn more about CMSC here.

Ravi Chandra, MD | Psychiatrist, Author, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association

Ravi Chandra is a psychiatrist and writer in San Francisco, and a 1.8 generation South Asian American immigrant to the United States, living in Tuskegee, Nashville, St. Louis, Flint, Detroit, Providence and Minneapolis, among other places. He works primarily as a psychotherapist, but also volunteering for community mental health and running a compassion organization, SF Love Dojo. He has written extensively about social media, and now cultural issues for East Wind eZine. You can learn more about Dr. Chandra on his website.

Sydney Spears, PhD, LCSW, LSCSW | Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, Teacher, Mindful Self-Compassion

Sydney Spears is a licensed clinical social worker, adaptive yoga and mindfulness instructor, professor, and cofounder of Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness. She offers classes, trainings, and programs through Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness and works as a trauma-sensitive yoga facilitator, consultant, and certification supervisor for the Boston, Massachusetts Center for Trauma and Embodiment. Spears provides adaptive yoga at the Kansas City, Missouri VA for veterans who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and for community survivors of complex trauma through private sessions. She has also provided a culturally sensitive mindfulness-based training (Path of Freedom program and MBSR professional teacher training) for Missouri Department of Correction incarcerated males to support their re-entry into the community. Through her counseling practice called MidLife at Ease Counseling, Spears specializes in mindfully supporting people with chronic stress, grief/loss, trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship challenges. Spears has taught academic courses in cultural diversity, social justice, and clinical social work practice for 15 years and is passionately committed to advancing social justice efforts through providing and maintaining a non-oppressive, trauma-sensitive, and culturally responsive practice.

Cedar Barstow, MEd, CHT, DPI | Founder and Director, Right Use of Power™ Institute, Trainer, Hakomi Mindful Somatic Therapy.

Cedar Barstow is a Hakomi psychotherapist and 30-year member of the faculty of the Hakomi Institute. She is the author of Right Use of Power: The Heart of Ethics and Living in the Power Zone: How Right Use of Power Can Transform Your Relationships. She is also the founder and director of the Right Use of Power Institute a non-profit that offers experiential training, practical books, and programs that support individuals and organizations to gain more skill, wisdom and compassion in their use of their powers--personal power, role power, and status power. Cedar and Right Use of Power Institute offer in-person and virtual training programs, books, continuing education, coaching and consulting to help people stand in their power while staying in their heart.

Susan Pollak, MTS, EdD | Co-founder and teacher, Center for Mindfulness and Compassion at Harvard Medical School, Cambridge Health Alliance

Susan Pollak, MTS, EdD, is a psychologist in private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is a longtime student of meditation and yoga who has been integrating the practices of meditation into psychotherapy since the 1980s. Dr. Pollak is cofounder and teacher at the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion at Harvard Medical School/ Cambridge Health Alliance and was president of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy from 2010 to 2020. Dr. Pollak is a co-editor of The Cultural Transition; and a contributing author of Mapping the Moral Domain; Evocative Objects; and Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, 2nd Edition. She is the co-author of Sitting Together: Essential Skills for Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy and the author of the new book, Self-Compassion for Parents: Nurture Your Child by Caring for Yourself. She writes a popular blog for Psychology Today called The Art of Now.

Steve Hickman, PsyD | Executive Director, Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, Founding Director, UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness

Dr. Steven Hickman is the Executive Director of the non-profit Center for Mindful Self-Compassion and its Director of Professional Training. He is a Clinical Psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor in the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, as well as the Founding Director of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. Steve co-developed the Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training program, and has participated in the training of over 700 MSC teachers around the world. Steve has co-taught the 8-week and intensive MSC program many times around the globe and is also a Certified teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and trains teachers of that program. He is married and has three young adult children, affording him ample opportunity to practice what he teaches!