What is Compassion Focussed Therapy?
All of the therapy that I deliver has compassion at its core; I approach all therapy with a kind and empathic manner. However in recent years the specific qualities of compassion has become an area of therapy in its own right.
Compassion focused therapy (CFT) has come to prominence through the work of Professor Paul Gilbert, who sees compassion as an antidote to shame and self-criticism and a focus for therapy.
Compassion is sensitivity to the suffering of self and others with a commitment to try to alleviate and prevent it.
How might CFT help me?
CFT takes the view that nothing has gone ‘wrong’ with us. As human beings we have evolved and as such our brains have never been designed. Instead they have developed over time primarily for survival and as such involve emotions which can be tricky to manage.
Sessions involve understanding and experiencing our emotions and ‘normalising’ and de-shaming our emotional responses. This helps us to move away from condemning and blaming behaviours towards improved emotional regulation and a positive sense of self. This skills-based approach involves compassionate mind training which uses mindfulness based meditation and imagery work towards increasing our capacity to tolerate distress and work towards managing our difficulties.
Compassion Focused Therapy
The key to the therapy is plenty of discussion, with a calming and soothing orientation and an approach that helps us recognise ‘it’s not our fault’ and to be able to develop the strength to take on the responsibility for making changes in our lives. Developing a ‘compassionate self’ is the overall aim, so that we can engage with ourselves in a calmer, more peaceful, more self-accepting way. The skills of compassion involve creating feelings of warmth, kindness and support in the therapy, helping us to develop a compassionate self-identity. This in turn helps us to develop the skills to help us deal with suffering as well as enjoy the good things in life.
To Learn more about CFT, visit the Compassionate Mind Foundation website.