Who we are

The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion was originally founded in 2012 by the developers of MSC, Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff, and is now an international nonprofit organization. You can read about our team below.


Board of Directors

President: Kristin Neff

Dr. Kristin NeffKristin Neff, PhD, is co-founder of CMSC and co-developer of MSC. She is Associate Professor in the Educational Psychology Dept. at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, being the first person to operationally define and measure the construct.  She has published widely including numerous academic articles, book chapters and the popular book Self-Compassion:  The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.  She is also Associate Editor at the journal Mindfulness.  Kristin’s work has received extensive media coverage, including the New York Times, MSNBC, National Public Radio, Scientific American, and Psychology Today.  Kristin is an MSC teacher trainer, and leads MSC intensives and workshops around the world.

Email: kristin@centerformsc.org
Website: self-compassion.org

Join Kristin’s mailing list


Vice-President: Christopher Germer

Dr. Christopher GermerChristopher Germer, PhD, is a co-founder of CMSC and co-developer of MSC. He is a clinical psychologist in private practice, specializing in mindfulness- and compassion-based treatment. He has been integrating the principles and practices of meditation into psychotherapy since 1978. He is a lecturer on psychiatry, part-time, at Harvard Medical School, and a founding faculty member of both the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy and the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, Cambridge Health Alliance. Chris has co-edited two influential volumes –Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy – and is author of the popular book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions. Chris is an MSC teacher trainer, and leads MSC intensives and workshops around the world.

Email: Chris@centerformsc.org
Christopher K. Germer Phd – The Mindful Path to Self Compassion on Facebook

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Secretary: Christine Bräehler

Christine BraehlerChristine Bräehler, DClinPsy, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and clinical supervisor. She gained her degrees from the University of Edinburgh, UK. She is an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, UK. She maintains a psychotherapy practice in Munich, Germany, specializing in compassion-based psychotherapy. Christine is an MSC teacher trainer, and leads MSC intensives and workshops around the world.  She also serves as Senior Advisor on Professional Training and International Affairs to the Executive Director of CMSC.

Email: christine.braehler@centerformsc.org
Website: www.christinebraehler.com; www.selbstmitgefühl.de


Treasurer: Jim Douglass

Jim DouglassJim Douglass, PhD, lives in Southern California. In his 25-year management and executive career, has managed functions as diverse as statistical services, operations, finance, sales and marketing, technology and business consulting. For 10 of those years, he served as a General Manager with full P&L authority for divisions within three different companies. Jim also was a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley for 10 years and is a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving. He has served on half a dozen boards or advisory groups for local charities, and continues to serve on the Board of Visitors of Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Jim also serves as Senior Advisor on Business to the Executive Director of CMSC.

Email: jim@centerformsc.org


CMSC Administration

Executive Director: Steven Hickman

Dr. Steve Hickman
Steve Hickman

Steven Hickman, Psy.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and is an Associate Clinical Professor in the UC San Diego Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine & Public Health. His role is to provide oversight, vision, direction and focus for the development and expansion of CMSC around the world. He is also the Director of Professional Training, overseeing the training of teachers from “start to finish” and assuring the highest quality standards and the best possible resources for teaching.  Steve is the Founder and Executive Director of the UCSD Center for Mindfulness, a program of community building, clinical care, professional training and research. He has taught Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for 15 years and has trained teachers of MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Steve is an MSC teacher trainer, and leads MSC intensives and workshops around the world.

Email: steve@centerformsc.org
Website: http://mindfulness.ucsd.edu


International Co-ordinator: Christine Braehler

Christine BraehlerIn addition to being Secretary of the Board, Christine serves as International Co-ordinator.  Her role is to coordinate the many activities of CMSC around the globe, including supporting our teachers and future teachers, as well as devising and facilitating a world-wide network of local MSC communities. Christine lives in Munich and leads an international professional life.


Coordinator of Live Online MSC: Kristy Arbon

Kristy Arbon

Kristy Arbon, BSW, BA (Psychology), is an Australian living in St. Louis, Missouri. She has experience developing online learning programs for the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy as well as the Inner Kids Professional Development Program. Her role at CMSC is to develop, coordinate and teach Live Online MSC (LOMSC) and to train new LOMSC teachers. Kristy is a certified MSC teacher and leads MSC intensives and workshops around the world. She is founder and CEO of HeartWorks Training.

Email: kristy@centerformsc.org
Website: www.heartworks.training


Executive Administrative Assistant: Gail Stein

Gail SteinGail Stein, MA (Art History) lives in San Diego, California, where she managed a yoga and bodywork studio for many years.  She has an administrative background and has run several independent businesses with her husband.  She now provides administrative support for the Executive Director, manages the finances of the organization, and coordinates CMSC-sponsored events. She answers most general public inquiries, and is often the first point of contact for people wanting to learn more about CMSC.

Email: gail@centerformsc.org


Professional Training & International Affairs Administrative Assistant: Miriam Luthe

Mirjam L.Mirjam Luthe, MA (International Cultural and Business Studies, Development Cooperation & NGO Management) lives in San Diego, California, but her home base is Freiburg Germany. Her primary role is to answering enquiries related to teacher training and continuing education for MSC teachers, as well as providing administrative support for Director of Professional Training and Director of International Affairs.  Mirjam speaks several languages, including English, German and Spanish. Mirjam is also a MBSR teacher, has been trained in and worked with the Mindful Schools Curriculum and is currently a MSC Teacher-in-Training.

Email: mirjam@centerformsc.org


International Advisory Council:

Each country with a sizeable community of MSC teachers and practitioners will have the opportunity to contribute to and to partake in the international MSC community via our International Advisory Council. More information coming soon.