Event Speakers

Kristin Neff, PhD

Kristin Neff is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology 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 fifteen years ago. She has co-developed an empirically supported training program called Mindful Self-Compassion, and is author of the books Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook, and Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program: A Guide for Professionals.

For information about self-compassion, including a self-compassion text, research articles, guided meditations and practices, visit her website.

Chris Germer, PhD

Christopher Germer, PhD is a clinical psychologist and lecturer on psychiatry (part-time) at Harvard Medical School. He co-developed the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program with Kristin Neff in 2010 and they wrote two books, Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook and Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program. Dr. Germer is also the author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion; he co-edited two influential volumes on therapy, Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy; and he maintains a small psychotherapy practice in Massachusetts, USA.

Shelly Harrell, PhD

Dr. Shelly Harrell is a licensed psychotherapist and has served as a consultant and trainer on issues of cultural diversity and intergroup relations for nearly 30 years. She is a Professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology where her research focuses on culturally-responsive and resilience-oriented interventions. Most recently, she has developed a “soulfulness” approach to mindfulness that centers cultural context and sociopolitical aspects of ethnoracial trauma and liberation relevant to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

You can find out more about Dr. Harrell and her work, including publications, on her psychotherapy practice website and her "soulfulness" website.

Kelly McGonigal, PhD

Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University who specializes in understanding the mind-body connection. Her mission is to translate insights from psychology and neuroscience into practical strategies that support personal well-being and strengthen communities. She is the best-selling author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress. Through the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism, she helped create Stanford Compassion Cultivation Training, a program now taught around the world that helps individuals strengthen their empathy, compassion, and self-compassion. You might know her from her TED talk, "How to Make Stress Your Friend," which is one of the most viewed TED talks of all time, with over 20 million views.

Her new book, The Joy of Movement, explores why physical exercise is a powerful antidote to the modern epidemics of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. You can learn more about Dr. McGonigal and her work at her website.

Thubten Jinpa, PhD

Thupten Jinpa Langri is a former Tibetan monk and principal translator to H.H. the Dalai Lama since 1985; founder and president of Compassion Institute; board chair, Mind and Life Institute; and author of A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives (2015); and principal author of CCT (Compassion Cultivation Training), developed at Stanford University.

You can learn more about his work through Compassion Institute, as well as their signature 8-week compassion training course here.

Dan Siegel, PhD

Dr. Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. He is also the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute which focuses on the development of mindsight, teaches insight, empathy, and integration in individuals, families and communities. Dr. Siegel has published extensively for both the professional and lay audiences. His five New York Times bestsellers are: Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence, Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human, Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, and two books with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D: The Whole-Brain Child, and No-Drama Discipline. His other books include: The Developing Mind, The Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology, Mindsight, The Mindful Brain, and The Mindful Therapist. He has also written The Yes Brain and The Power of Showing Up with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. Dr. Siegel also serves as the Founding Editor for the Norton Professional Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology which currently contains over seventy textbooks.

You can learn about Dr. Siegel on his website.

Sydney Spears, PhD, LCSW, LSCSW

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.

Tara Brach, PhD

Tara Brach, PhD is an internationally renowned meditation teacher and author of bestselling Radical Acceptance, True Refuge, and her new book, Radical Compassion. Her popular weekly podcast addressing the power of meditation to relieve emotional suffering and serve spiritual awakening is downloaded 3 million times a month in more than 200 countries. Together with colleague Jack Kornfield, she leads the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program, which currently serves participants from around the world.

To learn more about Tara Brach and enjoy free access to hundreds of talks, guided-meditations and other helpful resources, please visit her website.

Jack Kornfield, PhD

Jack Kornfield, PhD, holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, has trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India, and Burma, and is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and Spirit Rock Center in California. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974. His 14 books include A Path with Heart; A Lamp in the Darkness; After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; The Wise Heart; and No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are.

You can find his teachings, books, guided meditations, trainings and more on his website.

Trudy Goodman, PhD

Trudy Goodman, PHD, is the founding teacher of InsightLA and cofounder of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. She has taught at universities and retreat centers worldwide for 25 years. Trudy has trained in mindfulness and Zen since 1973, holds a graduate degree in developmental psychology from Harvard, and is one of the senior Buddhist teachers in the U.S. Trudy is a contributing author of Clinical Handbook of Mindfulness (Springer, 2008), Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy (Guilford Press, 2011), and Mindfulness and Psychotherapy (Guilford Press, 2013).

You can learn more about Trudy work at website and at InsightLA.

Ravi Chandra, MD

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.

Ronald Siegel, PsyD

Dr. Ronald D. Siegel is an Assistant Professor of Psychology, part time, at Harvard Medical School, where he has taught for over 35 years. He is a long-time student of mindfulness meditation, is author of many books including The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems, and is professor for The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being produced by The Great Courses.

To learn more and find resources and information on his work you can visit his website.

Leslie Greenberg, PhD

Leslie Greenberg, Ph.D. is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Psychology at York University in Toronto and the primary developer of Emotion-focused therapy. He has authored the original books on Emotion in Psychotherapy (1986), Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (1988). More recent books include Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy: The Dynamics of Emotion, Love, and Power (2008), Therapeutic Presence (2012), Emotion-focused therapy: Theory and practice (2015), Emotion-Focused Therapy for Generalized Anxiety (2017) and Forgiveness and Letting Go in Emotion-Focused Therapy. He has received the Distinguished Research Career award of the International Society for Psychotherapy Research as well as the Carl Rogers and the Distinguished Professional Contribution to Applied Research of the American Psychology Association. He also has received the Canadian Psychological Association Professional Award for distinguished contributions to Psychology as a profession. He is a past President of the Society for Psychotherapy Research. He currently trains people internationally in emotion–focused approaches.

You can learn more about his work at the International Society for Emotion Focused Therapy here and see his upcoming training at York University here.

Shari Geller, PhD

Dr. Shari Geller is an author, clinical psychologist, and a trained teacher of mindful self-compassion (MSC). With over twenty years experience weaving psychology and mindfulness, Dr. Geller offers practical guidance for cultivating therapeutic presence, grounded in neuroscientific and clinical research. Dr. Geller has a long-term mindfulness meditation and self-compassion practice. She has several publications on therapeutic presence, including two seminal books: A Practical Guide for Cultivating Therapeutic Presence and a co-authored book with Leslie Greenberg, Therapeutic Presence: A Mindful Approach to Effective Therapy. Dr. Geller serves on the teaching faculty in Health Psychology at York University and for the Applied Mindfulness Meditation (AMM) program at University of Toronto; and is Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, in association with Music and Health Research Collaboratory (MaHRC). She is the co-director of the Centre for MindBody Health (CMBH), where she offers training, supervision and therapy in Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) for individuals and couples and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) skills training groups.

You can learn more about Dr. Gellar on her website and find a sample of publications here.

Richard Schwartz, PhD

Richard Schwartz began his career as a family therapist and an academic at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There he discovered that family therapy alone did not achieve full symptom relief and in asking patients why, he learned that they were plagued by what they called “parts.” These patients became his teachers as they described how their parts formed networks of inner relationship that resembled the families he had been working with. He also found that as they focused on and, thereby, separated from their parts, they would shift into a state characterized by qualities like curiosity, calm, confidence and compassion. He called that inner essence the Self and was amazed to find it even in severely diagnosed and traumatized patients. From these explorations the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model was born in the early 1980s. IFS is now evidence-based and has become a widely-used form of psychotherapy, particularly with trauma. It provides a non-pathologizing, optimistic, and empowering perspective and a practical and effective set of techniques for working with individuals, couples, families, and more recently, corporations and classrooms.

If you’d like to learn more, please visit the IFS Institute website and find books by Dr. Schwartz here.

Jordan Quaglia, PhD

Jordan Quaglia, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology, Director of the Cognitive and Affective Science Laboratory, and Research Director of the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education at Naropa University. His research, supported by funding from Mind and Life Institute and John Templeton Foundation, has been featured in leading scientific journals and books, and relies on a range of tools, from neuroscientific measures to virtual reality, to study topics such as mindfulness and compassion.

To learn more about his work visit his website. You can also learn about the Compassion Training and Research happening at Naropa University here.

Paul Gilbert, FBPsS, PhD, OBE

Paul Gilbert, FBPsS, PhD, OBE is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Derby and Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Derbyshire Health Care Foundation Trust. He has researched evolutionary approaches to psychopathology for over 35 years with a special focus on shame and the treatment of shame based difficulties, for which compassion focused therapy (CFT) was developed. He has written and edited 20 books and established The Compassionate Mind Foundation in 2006. He was awarded an OBE in March 2011.

Dennis Tirch, PhD

Dr. Tirch is a Founding Director of The Center for Compassion Focused Therapy, the first clinical training center for Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) in the United States. Dr. Tirch has been described as one of the country's foremost leaders in compassion training in evidence-based psychotherapy. He is an internationally acknowledged expert therapist, supervisor and trainer in CFT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Buddhist Psychology (BP). He is an author of 6 books, including Experiencing ACT from the Inside Out and The Compassionate Mind Guide To Overcoming Anxiety, as well as numerous chapters and peer reviewed articles on mindfulness, acceptance and compassion in psychotherapy. Dr. Tirch’s ongoing research with Dr. Laura Silberstein-Tirch and others, involves the development of psychotherapy protocols integrating behavioral science and CFT for treating anxiety, worry, and fear-based difficulties through courage cultivation. You can connect with Dr. Tirch through his Twitter.

Eduardo Duran, PhD

Eduardo Duran is a Vietnam Veteran who started his academic training after being discharged from the US Navy. He has worked in Indigenous communities most of his professional life. Clinical work in communities has informed his theoretical formations which have resulted in several papers and books. His work is informed by traditional teachings from Native elders as he creates a hybrid model in his clinical practice to address the deeper issues resulting from soul wounding. Eduardo lives in Bozeman, Montana.

Michelle Becker, MA, LMFT

Michelle Becker is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, founder of Wise Compassion, LLC, and creator of the Compassion for Couples program which teaches couples mindfulness and compassion skills to build a stronger relationship. Michelle is also a senior teacher trainer, and co-developer of the teacher training program in Mindful Self-Compassion, and a senior teacher in Compassion Cultivation Training. You can learn more about her work through her Well Connected Relationships podcast, or her website.

Russell Kolts, PhD

Russell Kolts is a licensed clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at Eastern Washington University. His recent focus of research and training has been in the areas of compassion and compassion-focused therapy (CFT), particularly in training therapists how to utilize CFT with their clients. He is the sole or lead author of several books on CFT and compassion, including CFT Made Simple, Experiencing Compassion-Focused Therapy from the Inside Out, and An Open-Hearted Life: Transformative Methods for Compassionate Living from a Clinical Psychologist and a Buddhist Nun.

You can find out more about his work on his his website. You can also join the CFT Made Simple Facebook group which serves to connect clinicians in learning more about how to apply CFT in helping their clients.

Susan Pollak, MTS, Ed.D

Susan M. 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.

Cedar Barstow, MEd, CHT, DPI

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.

Steve Hickman, PsyD

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!