Byron Kathleen Mitchell, better known as Byron Katie (born December 6, 1942) is an American speaker and author who teaches a method of self-inquiry known as "The Work of Byron Katie" or simply as "The Work." She is the founder of Byron Katie International, an organization that includes The School for the Work and Turnaround House in Ojai, California. TIME describes her as "a spiritual innovator for the 21st century."
Katie was born in Breckenridge, Texas in 1942, and grew up in Barstow, California. Her father was a train engineer and her mother was a housewife. She was married at age 19, had three children and started a career in real estate.
In 1986, when she was 43 with three children and unhappily married to her second husband, she reportedly suffered from depression, agoraphobia, overeating and addiction to codeine and alcohol. She called her insurance company for help, and was referred to Hope House in Los Angeles, a women's counseling center that has since closed. After two weeks at the house, she reportedly experienced an epiphany in her thinking which created a way for her to challenge and lessen the harmful effects of long-held beliefs. She credited the epiphany, which became known as "The Work", for a subsequent weight loss and other reductions in bad habits.