Understanding Compassion Focussed Therapy

The various workshops and initiatives Resilient Minds provide supports schools, parents and individuals to develop their own Compassionate techniques.  This means learning new ways of talking to ourselves, new ways of relating to problems and developing emotional resilience.  The work is based largely on Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), but what is this?

CFT is a therapy that develops and combines many other therapies including CBT, evolutionary psychology, DBT, neuroscience, attachment theory and psychotherapy. For me, it is like all the best bits of many therapies and theories combined.  The name is in the title, it is about learning ways of focusing compassion.  But what does this really mean? Hopefully the following helps…

  • Compassion – acknowledging that life is really tough, being able to engage with this and developing and sustaining the motivation to do something about these difficulties
  • Focusing – deliberately doing exercises that teach us how to practice being compassionate towards ourselves and learning how to accept and experience compassion from others and for others

There are many benefits of learning the wisdom, skills and qualities of compassion.  It helps us understand our tricky brain structure, how we are programmed to act and think it certain ways that are not that helpful for us and that this is not our fault.  The work also helps us understand the system that regulates our emotions.  Knowledge about how we are made and what to do about it give us knowledge, choice and creates change in thought and behaviour.

Developing compassion helps us develop a new way to relate to our difficulties – a way that is caring, curious, kind and has a deep motivation to want to help.  Compassion helps people experience life differently.  This largely happens through exercises called Compassionate Mind Training where we train our mind to think more compassionately towards ourselves and others.

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