Byron Kathleen (Katie) Mitchell (Speaker/Author)
Byron Katie is a world-renowned speaker, author and counsellor of sorts who advocates a self-enquiry approach to happiness called "The Work."
Katie (as she prefers to be called), says she became severely depressed in her early thirties when she was a businesswoman and mother who lived in a small town in the high desert of southern California.
According her, she spiraled down into paranoia, rage, self-loathing, and constant thoughts of suicide for nearly a decade; for the last two years she was often unable to leave her bedroom.
Then, one morning in February 1986, while in a halfway house for women with eating disorders, she experienced a life-changing realization. She called it “waking up to reality.” In that moment of enlightenment, she says:
Katie is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition. She is married to the writer and translator Stephen Mitchell, who co-wrote her first book, Loving What Is and her third book, A Thousand Names for Joy.
"I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment."
She has taught her method to people at free public events, in prisons, hospitals, churches, corporations, shelters for survivors of domestic violence, universities and schools, at weekend intensives, and at her nine-day "School for The Work."
Here's a video of Katie in action (many more available on YouTube and on Katie's website ):