Since the publication of Kristin Neff’s groundbreaking book Self-Compassion, there has been a surge of interest in the science and practice of self-compassion, particularly in clinical settings. But that has generally focused on the gentle version of self-compassion, which involves “being with” ourselves in a compassionate way. We comfort and soothe ourselves when in pain, just as we might for a friend who is struggling. We give ourselves our own kind attention and care rather than cutting ourselves down with self-criticism. And we validate our pain, acknowledging that our suffering is worthy of attention.
But self-compassion can be fierce as well as tender.
Fierce self-compassion involves taking action in the world to protect, provide and motivate ourselves to alleviate our suffering. It means saying “no” to others who are hurting us—drawing our boundaries firmly. Or saying “no” to our own harmful behaviors, so that we can be safe and healthy. It means giving ourselves what we genuinely need—mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually—without subordinating our needs to those of others, so we can be authentic and fulfilled. And it means motivating ourselves to reach our goals or make needed changes in our lives.
This unique workshop will teach skills of both types of self-compassion—the fierce as well as the tender. Led by Dr. Neff, the pioneering researcher of self-compassion, it will not only cover scientific findings on the topic but also provide concrete practices drawn from Dr. Neff’s empirically supported Mindful Self-Compassion program for use in daily life. The program will include a satisfying mix of experiential learning and science-based insights. It will be relevant for the general public as well as to practicing mental health professionals.
Across the program, Dr. Neff will reveal how, in order to be truly self-compassionate—in order to be whole—we need to integrate both versions of self-compassion: If we are gentle without ferocity, we risk becoming complacent or disempowered; if we are ferocious without tenderness, we risk becoming hostile, selfish, or perfectionistic. Like a tree with a solid trunk and flexible branches, we need to stand strong while still embracing others as part of an interdependent whole. We need love in our hearts so we don’t perpetuate harm, but we need fierceness in our belly to stand up to harm.
Disability Access: The GGSC very much wants to be able to accommodate anyone interested in attending this workshop. If you require ADA accommodations, please contact the GGSC office at least 30 days before the event. We may not be able to ensure proper accommodations without that prior notice.
Kristin Neff, Ph.D. is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion, being the first one to operationally define and measure the construct over a decade ago. In addition to her pioneering research into self-compassion, she has developed an eight-week program to teach self-compassion skills in daily life, co-created with her colleague Dr. Chris Germer, called Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). Her book, Self-Compassion, was published by William Morrow in April, 2011.