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Culture of Empathy Builder: Kristin Neff
http://j.mp/1aMGkpv
 

Kristin Neff and Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Self-Empathy & Self-Compassion

 
Dr. Kristin Neff is an Associate Professor in Human Development and Culture, Educational Psychology Department, University of Texas at Austin. During Kristin’s last year of graduate school in 1997 she became interested in Buddhism, and has been practicing meditation in the Insight Meditation tradition ever since.

More and more, psychologists are turning away from
 an emphasis on self-esteem and moving toward
self-compassion in the treatment
 of their patients.

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. Kristin is author of Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind. "More and more, psychologists are turning away from an emphasis on self-esteem and moving toward self-compassion in the treatment of their patients—and Dr. Neff’s extraordinary book offers exercises and action plans for dealing with every emotionally debilitating struggle, be it parenting, weight loss, or any of the numerous trials of everyday living." 
Sub Conference: Self-Empathy and Science


 



2011-06-02 - Kristin Neff Talks about Empathy & Self-Compassion, Interviewed by Edwin Rutsch

  • 00:00 Introduction

    • Associate professor at University of Texas Austin

    • Human Development and Culture Program

    • Interested in Self-Compassion

    • The problems self-esteem

  • 1:00 What is the most important value to you personally?

    • compassion in general

    • been interested in self-concept

    • how compassion applies to the self

    • Compassion is a huge value of  mine. Now I like to use the term open-heartedness, because compassion tends to be specific to the context of suffering. Of course we want to have open hearts in face of suffering, but also want to have open hearts in the face of joy and when we are at our bests and have great successes and achievements. Just keep our hearts open no matter  what happens, positive, negative or even neutral. Open mind and open heart, just trying to stay open.

  • 2:00 How did that value become important to you?

    • open minded parents

    • went through intellectual period

    • 7 years shut down

    • unhappy place - became emotionally dead

    • Started studying Buddhism - open mind - open heart - compassion

    • Son with autism

      • open mind - open heart helped

      • trip to Mongolia

      • to shamans and made film

    • Open heart has a transformational quality

      • Open mind - open heart approach, letting it emerge instead of controlling it leads to a lot of happiness.

  • 7:00  Any specific insights happen?

    • was shut down, had an affair, was unhappy,

    • through Buddhism leaned compassion

    • sitting with a group, we talked a lot about self-compassion

    • a light bulb went off.

    • started seeing how beneficial it was

  • 10:00 Any metaphor for self-compassion?

    • a loving mother caring for her crying child

    • saying compassionate words

    • why does parent care for child, the mammalian care system

    • Oxytocin level up - reduces cortisol level

    • For me open-heartedness is the core state and it manifests differently.  So open-heartedness toward your suffering is compassion, open-heartedness for my suffering is self-compassion, open-heartedness for your joy and accomplishments, there's a term in Buddhism is called Mudita, also called sympathetic joy, so I can feel with you, in your happiness, as well as feel with you in your sorrow.  

    • Open-heartedness is the same receptive intellectually open and emotional mindset. And then when it encounters different objects it has a different flavor. The idea if nothing is coming up, and your just open, that's equanimity.  From my perspective it's all the same state, it's just what's arising in awareness.

  • 13:00 How do empathy, self-empathy, self-compassion and compassion relate?

    • how are you defining empathy? the term is defined 5 different ways

    • starting with mirror neurons.

    • emotional perspective taking,

    • emotional resonating

    • con-men have great empathy skills

      • can use the emotional awareness to take advantage of you

    • sympathy is I'm aware of what your feeling and I care about it

    • compassion includes common humanity interconnectedness

    • pity

    • are all related

    • son has autism - emotional perspective taking is difficult

      • my son is very interested in emotional expressions

      • Simon Baron-Cohen

      • obvious displays of emotion - they are right there.

      • they will comfort you, cuddle you

    • empathy is not the same thing as sympathy or compassion

      • it may not be necessary

      • Aspergers have difficulty reading emotions

      • if you say clearly, this is what I'm feeling, they still care as much as anyone else.

    • what is the source of the information

      • mirror neurons

      • if you tell me explicitly in a medium that I can get that information, then there is no reason the heart can't respond

      • you can be very empathically in tuned and not give a damn because your a conman

    • It's important with autism not to assume that someone that can not feel empathy can not feel sympathy

  • 18:50 Do you have a metaphor for empathy?

    • a mirror

  • 19:30 Self-empathy?

    • there's not a lot of research on it, not in an academic context

    • am I aware of my own emotional process

    •   Self-empathy - it may be mindfulness

  • 20:20 There's a lot of ways these terms are used

    • that's the problem

  • 21:00 You had just given a presentation on self-compassion as a source of motivation?

    • self-criticism as source of motivation

      • research says it's not a good motivator

    • self-compassion motivates for other reasons

      • care about yourself and want to alleviate suffering

  • 25:00 Connection as a source of happiness?

    • feeling of common humanity - we're all in this together

    • problem with self-esteem or narcissism, you may feel good about yourself but you are also undermining your own happiness

      • feel isolated and separated from others

      • self-compassion is being aware that this is a shared human condition

      • can have a send of happiness through the care and sense of connectedness you give yourself

    • metaphor of semisweet chocolate

      • sweet and bitter - holding suffering and common humanity

      • seeing things as they are but bringing in connectedness

  • 28:00 A consoling quality?

    • letting go of judgment

    • mindfulness - just let it be

    • self-compassion is about the person experiencing what is happening.

      • mindfulness can hold a feeling of hurt

      • self-compassion - I'm sorry your hurting - consoling,

      • actively soothing and comforting yourself because your suffering

      • releasing Oxytocin and opiates, you can feel it in your body

      • feeling of  warmth, safety

  • 30:00 Religion and finding Jesus. Seems very similar, having someone to console you.

    • Self-compassion in other traditions. studies would be good

    • Jesus is always there; comforting, guiding, soothing, compassion

    • in Christianity some focus on the compassion part and some on the hell bit.

      •  hell bit is more linked to self criticism.

  • 31:50 How do you see your work going forward from this point?

    • a lot of research to do on self-compassion

    • personally - I'm interested in teaching self-compassion

      • workshops

      • how to help people have it?

      • practice it

    • continue doing research

  • 33:20 How does empathy fit in with the work you're doing?

    • teaching self-compassion in the schools explicitly

    • teaching the problems with self-esteem

    • start young

    • work with prisoners to mindfulness

    • Vets with PTSD

    • Open heartedness is towards everyone

    • I sometimes I get very hopeful and then,, it's almost a race

  • 36:00 Would true deep empathy really manipulate and hurt somebody?

    • it all depends on how you define it.

      • if it's just cognitive perspective taking as applied to emotions

      • feeling for, caring for, resonating with, they are different

    • we need a lot more clarity about these terms

    • all these arguments get so muddled

    • we need a new conference about what we mean with these terms

  • We can get a conference going to see how we can get the different communities together.

    • the people doing Nonviolent Communication work do a lot of work on this

      • they have boots on the ground.

    • it would be wonderful to have a forum for us all to just talk with one another.


 

Panel 26: What is the Relationship Between Self-Empathy, Empathy,
Self-Compassion & Compassion?

In this panel discussion, Kristin Neff, Christopher Germer and Edwin Rutsch discuss the question,
What is the Relationship Between Self-Empathy, Empathy, Self-Compassion & Compassion?  There is a great deal of confusion about the meanings and definitions of self-empathy, empathy, self-compassion & compassion. We might be talking about the same experience, but are using different words, or are talking about different experiences and are using the same word, etc.

 

Parable of the Good Samaritan - G. Conti (Wikipedia)

 

There is a great deal of confusion about the meanings and
definitions of self-empathy, empathy, self-compassion
& compassion. We might be talking about the same

experience, but are using different words.
 

Some people, for instance, say there is compassion fatigue. Recently some in the compassion community have been saying it's really empathy fatigue. Kristin feels personal distress may be a more accurate term. Edwin feels there is no such thing as compassion or empathy fatigue, it is really more accurately described as empathy and compassion deficit fatigue. Join us for a wide ranging dialog about this and more with leaders in the field of empathy and compassion.


Kristin Neff is Associate Professor in Human Development and Culture, Educational Psychology Department, University of Texas at Austin. Kristin is author of Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind.

Christopher Germer is a clinical psychologist in private practice, specializing in mindfulness and acceptance-based treatment.  He is a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and a founding faculty member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. Chris is author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions

Edwin Rutsch is founding director of The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. The center is a portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion.

 

Video: The Relationship Between Self-Empathy, Empathy, Self-Compassion & Compassion?

 
 

Sub Conferences: Science and Self-Empathy

 

 

The Liberating Power of Self-Compassion (podcast)
"Tami Simon speaks with Dr. Kristin Neff, a professor of human development and culture at the University of Texas and a practitioner of Buddhist meditation. The recent book and documentary The Horse Boy illustrate her and her family’s adventure with autism. With Sounds True, Kristin has created the audio program Self-Compassion Step-by-Step, which includes clinical [...]"

 

Kristin Neff - Resilience and Self-Compassion - Empathy and Compassion in Society 2013|
"Empathy and Compassion in Society gives professionals a new perspective on the human capacity to cultivate empathy and compassion.

- The latest research on empathy and compassion
- Tools to cultivate these social skills in our professional life
- Case studies of organisations and public institutions"

 

Self-compassion

  • Self-kindness v self judgment

    • treating with care

    • active soothing and comforting

  • Common humanity v isolation

    • we are part of a larger human experience

    • life is imperfect

  • Mindfulness v over identification

    • be with painful feelings

    • avoid extremes don't run away

  • motions with the hand

    • anger

    • openness

    • self-compassion

  • Self criticism - threat defense system

  • Self-compassion scale (Neff 2003)

  • Research is exploding

  • Benefits

    • Linked to well being

    • Reductions in anxiety, depression, stress, rumination, perfectionism, shame, negative body image

    • More: life satisfaction happiness, connecters, self-confidence, optimism, curiosity, gratitude

  • Loving connected presence

  • Linked to motivation

    • greater desire to learn and grow

    • more likely to try again when we fail

  • Linked to health behaviors - not self indulgent

  • Linked to personal personal accountability

  • Linked to coping and resilience

  • Linked to better romantic relationships

  • Linked to other-focused concern

    • more forgiveness and perspective taking

    • more compassion for others, empathy, altruism

  • Self-compassion for caregivers

    • compassion or empathy fatigue

 

The Self-Acceptance Project - Self-Compassion Step by Step


Kristin Neff: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
"Kristin Neff, Ph.D., is an associate professor in human development and culture at the University of Texas, Austin, and the author of the book "Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind" (William Morrow, 2011).  This talk is from the "Practicing Mindfulness & Compassion" conference on March 8, 2013. The Greater Good Science Center co-hosted this conference with Mindful magazine."
 

 

2012-05-23 - Why Caregivers Need Self-Compassion

Although the term "compassion fatigue" is well-known, some psychologists are starting to argue that the term should be changed to "empathy fatigue." Empathy can be defined as emotional resonance -- feeling what others are feeling. Our brains actually have specialized mirror neurons designed for this purpose. Mirror neurons evolved to help us quickly know if someone is friend or foe by registering feeling


2012-03-14 - The Power of Self-Compassion
"Jason Marsh interviews Kristin Neff.  Kristin Neff discusses how self-compassion differs from self-esteem, why self-compassion can be hard for Americans, and the transformative effect it had on her own life--part of Greater Good's podcast series. Kristin Neff discusses how self-compassion differs from self-esteem, why self-compassion can be hard for Americans, and the transformative effect it had on her own life--part of Greater Good's podcast series."

 

Video:The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self Compassion: Kristin Neff at TEDxCentennialParkWomen

  • I'm a self-compassion evangelist

  • Seen the power of it in my own life

  • Buddhism and Compassion for self

  • tried to be more compassion with herself

  • 2:00 worked with self-esteem experts

    • Self-esteem definitions

      • global evaluation of self worth

      • a jugdement - and I a good person or bad person

      • how do you get it. feel special and above average

    • Put each other down or puff up

    • Leads to narcissism and bullying. builds self-esteem

    • Contingent on success

  • Self-compassion is the alternative

    • self-kindness v self-judgment

    • common humanity - how the same with others v isolated

    • mindfulness - be what is in the present moment

  • 9:40 Motivations for self criticism - if kind to yourself we will be lazy and self indulgent

    • Motivations - threat system

      • self-criticism we are the attacker and the attacked.

      • a lot of cortisol is release

    • Motivations - Mammalian care giving system

      • warmth - touch - softness

  • Story of 2 approaches

  • 14:00 - self-compassion research

  • Self-compassion offer benefits of self-esteem without drawbacks

  • (a matter of will?)

  • story and self comforting - be a friend to yourself



2011-06-02 - Kristin Neff - Self-Compassion talk at Books Inc, Berkeley, CA  


Kristin Neff  at Books Inc in Berkeley, CA (June 2, 2011) talking about her book, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind. Kristin teaches readers how to silence self-criticism and replace it with self-compassion in order to fulfill their highest potential and live happier, more fulfilled lives. Event Post

  • transcripts needed - if you would like make an outline transcript of this video while you watch, let me know (Edwin).  here's a sample transcript.


Kristen Neff - Self Compassion Interview with Polly Tommey  


2011-06-01 The Science of Self-Compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff - At Stanford University
During Kristin’s last year of graduate school in 1997 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.


2011-05-24 -
Self-compassion for caregivers
If you're a caregiver, you need self-compassion! Think of all the generous, kind people you know who constantly give compassion and care to others, yet continually beat themselves up. Most of us are quite practiced at being supportive and giving to others, especially those of us who find ourselves in caregiver roles.  Whether we have a special needs child, a parent with Alzheimer's, an ill partner, or are in a caregiving profession such as being a nurse, therapist, or teacher, we know to give support, comfort and compassion to the people who need us.  But how many of us offer that same level of compassion and care to ourselves?   
 

2011-05-24 - Hard on Yourself? Try Self-Compassion
Researcher Kristin Neff reveals the benefits of going easy on yourself: less anxiety, less conflict, and more peace of mind.
In this incredibly competitive society of ours, how many of us truly feel good about ourselves? When I first came across the idea of “self-compassion,” it changed my life almost immediately. It was during my last year in the human development doctoral program at the University of California, Berkeley, as I was putting the finishing touches on my dissertation. I was going through a really difficult time following the breakup of my first marriage, and I was full of shame and self-loathing. I thought signing up for meditation classes at a local Buddhist center might help. As part of my exploration, I read Sharon Salzberg’s classic book Lovingkindness and was never the same again.


Events: Thursday, June 2 · 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Kristin Neff shares Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up..
http://on.fb.me/jarOyd


2011-05-11 -
Self-compassion may matter more than self-esteem
A budding field of research has  psychologists finding that self-compassion may be the most important life skill, imparting resilience, courage, energy and creativity.  It's also a skill many people lack...

Self-Compassion.org - Defining Compassion
Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others.  Think about what the experience of compassion feels like.  First, to have compassion for others you must notice that they are suffering. 


2011-02-28 - Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges NYT

That simple question is the basis for a burgeoning new area of psychological research called self-compassion — how kindly people view themselves. People who find it easy to be supportive and understanding to others, it turns out, often score surprisingly low on self-compassion tests, berating themselves for perceived failures like being overweight or not exercising.


2011-04-02 - How ‘self-compassion’ trumps ‘self-esteem’
Kristin Neff, a professor of human development and culture at the University of Texas, is considered a pioneer in self-compassion research. She published her first paper on the subject in 2003, and, since then, there have been more than 100 academic journal papers on self-compassion by a range of psychologists and neuroscientists.

In the Press Website Page
Multiple links to articles, videos, podcasts.

Self-compassion
 
 

Self Compassion Part 1 Kristin Neff

Self Compassion Part 2 Kristin Neff - Self-Kindness
Self Compassion Part 3 Kristin Neff - Common Humanity
Self Compassion Part 4 Kristin Neff - Mindfulness
Self Compassion vs. Self-Esteem Part 5 Kristin Neff