Dr. Jean Kristeller is the co-founder and past-president of The Center for Mindful Eating. She has received multiple NIH-funded research grants to study the science and clinical application of Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT), which she developed, with the valuable input from many students and colleagues. She is a clinical and research psychologist who has worked for over 30 years in the areas of obesity, eating disorders and the therapeutic value of meditation, with over 30 publications in these areas . She conducts workshops on mindful eating nationally and internationally. Her work has also been featured in Self magazine, Martha Stewart’s Healthy Living, Redbook, and Women’s Health, and she is author of the book “The Joy of Half a Cookie” (Penguin-Random House). She is a Professor Emeritus at Indiana State University, and her clinical practice is in Terre Haute, Indiana. She received her doctorate from Yale University, and her Master’s degree from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison. Her undergraduate work was at Swarthmore College and International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. She has held faculty appointments at Cambridge Hospital – Harvard University Medical School, the Univ. of Massachusetts Medical School, and Indiana State University. Learn more about her scholarship on her university website.
Dr. Kristeller has been engaged with the personal practice of meditation beginning in 1971, and professional use of it in research and therapy since 1976. Her first experience, with Transcendental Meditation was profound, shifting her whole relationship to self, thoughts, and spiritual well-being. Other early experiences with meditation included Zen practice while living in Japan, yoga practice with the Himalayan Institute, and using Benson’s relaxation response meditation in several research projects (e.g., Cuthbert, Kristeller, Simons & Lang,1981). This early work, along with her training in biofeedback, helped convince her of the power of helping people connect more fully with their physical and mental experiences, in a neutral, explorative and self-accepting ways.
Her introduction to mindfulness meditation practice began as she joined the faculty at the Univ. of Massachusetts Medical School in 1985. There she had the opportunity to sit in with one of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs, and work with him on research. She personally found the mindfulness traditions, and Jon’s translation of it for working clinically with individuals dealing with medical and psychological issues ranging from chronic pain to anxiety disorders, very compelling. Also nearby in Massachusetts was the Insight Meditation Society which offered the opportunity for extended silent retreats in the Vipassana tradition, which helped deepen her meditative experiences, and appreciate the value of such retreat experiences. For the last 20 years she has been leading sitting groups in Terre Haute in the Vipassana tradition.