What is Compassion Focused Therapy?
Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on helping individuals develop ways to regulate emotions in a healthy way, alongside increasing self soothing and compassion as a means of improving an individual’s mental health and well-being. CFT is based on the understanding that many mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are linked to feelings of shame, self-criticism, and self-blame. This keeps individuals stuck in their threat system, which impacts all areas of life (career, health, relationships)
The CFT model divides the mind into three basic systems: Threat System (Fight, flight and freeze), The Drive System (Find mates and resources, The Soothing System (Bonding & Recovery)
CFT effectively treats mental health disorders and reduces shame by helping individuals shift their focus away from self-criticism and self-blame towards self-compassion. CFT uses techniques such as imagery and breathing to increase levels of self soothing. This form of psychotherapy aims to help individuals understand the evolutionary, familial system and cultural factors that contribute to self-criticism and shame, and to develop a more compassionate and understanding view of themselves and others.
You can receive evidence-based treatment with a compassion focused therapist (based in London, online or in-person home visits available) by clicking here for more information.
What does CFT involve?
During CFT, individuals work with a Psychotherapist to identify their negative thought patterns and beliefs, and to develop more compassionate and constructive ways of thinking. CFT incorporates mindfulness techniques, visualisation exercises, and behavioural strategies to help individuals develop greater self-awareness and emotional regulation skills.
The psychologies of compassion: attributes/engagement and skills/alleviation/prevention. From P. Gilbert (2009). The compassionate mind
Am I suitable for CFT?
Research has shown that CFT can be significantly effective in treating a range of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, low self-confidence, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) , body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CFT has shown to be helpful in reducing shame and self-criticism, and in promoting greater well-being and quality of life. In session, barriers to compassion are assessed and individuals’ fears towards compassion are challenged.
The following scales are useful to support identifying what barriers and individual may have: Fear of Compassion Scale.
If you feel that you, a friend or relative would like help to overcome high levels of self-criticism and shame, then please click here or get in touch email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Websites and additional information
Website offering free materials: The Compassionate Mind foundation