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During these trying, isolating times, compassion can feel like a luxury. It is, however, quite the opposite- a necessity which both connects us to one another and to ourselves.
It is this philosophy that brings C.A.F.E. 229’s September guest, Dr. Chris Germer. A professor of psychology, he stumbled onto self-compassion in 2005 as a solution to his decades-long struggle with public speaking anxiety. Since then, he has spent his time honing his craft and sharing techniques to help others live a compassionate life.
In this episode, our host Dr. Peter Lin and Dr. Germer tackle complicated topics: self-judgment, isolation, over-identification, all common and terrifically difficult to overcome. Dr. Germer shares with us the 3 pillars of self-compassion and how to find a love for humanity in a love for ourselves.
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About Chris Germer
Chris Germer has been interested in psychology and contemplative practice since early adulthood. He graduated from Colby College, with a BA in psychology in 1974. After graduating, he conducted research around the world on mental health. It was around this time that Chris became fascinated by yoga, meditation, and mindfulness meditation during his travels across Southern Asia.
In 1978, Chris went to Temple University and received his PhD in 1984. His dissertation, “Contextual Treatment of Test Anxiety,” reflected an early interest in acceptance-based treatment.
After graduation, Chris moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts where he met his wife, Claire, a molecular biologist, and they have been living there ever since. He has maintained a private psychotherapy practice since 1985, and has also taught at Harvard Medical School.
That same year he would go on to join a study group in Cambridge that became the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, which would later publish Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy (2012).
Chris’ primary interest is self-compassion—the warmhearted attitude of mindfulness when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate.
In 2007, Chris began collaborating with Kristin Neff, professor at the University of Texas, Austin, and pioneering researcher on self-compassion. In 2009, he wrote The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion. In 2010, he and Kristen developed Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), an 8-week training program.
In 2015, Chris helped establish the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion at the Cambridge Health Alliance. He serves as senior advisor and research consultant, currently co-developing protocol for treating chronic pain with self-compassion.
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