Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)

Compassion-focused Therapy brings the role of compassion towards the self and others to the forefront of healing. By using compassion-building skills, clients develop a better sense of safety and contentment.

What is Compassion-focused Therapy?

Compassion-focused Therapy is a therapy modality that emphasizes the role that compassion plays in mental health and the healing journey. Created by a clinical psychologist named Paul Gilbert, Compassion-focused Therapy teaches clients about three parts of the brain: the threat system that protects us from harm, the drive system which ensures we have plenty to eat and that we make it to our appointments on time, and the contentment or soothing system. When these systems are in harmony, a client feels balanced in their emotional life.

Compassion-focused Therapy uses exercises to grow a client’s compassion practices. Many therapists combine elements of Compassion-focused Therapy to support resilience and personal efficacy.

What happens in a Compassion-focused Therapy session?

Compassion-focused Therapy begins with the client detailing out their current mental health issues or difficult situations. Therapists provide a nonjudgmental space for clients to talk about how those experiences impact their mood and emotions, and offer support and validation. Therapists will also educate clients about the importance of compassion, especially compassion towards the self. This includes self-forgiveness and the growth of self-worth.

Compassion-focused Therapy centers around compassion-building practices. This could include:

  • Appreciation exercises
  • Gratitude practices
  • Mindfulness
  • Values clarification
  • Imagery and visualization

A Compassion-focused therapist will take clients through these exercises and help them find the practice that best suits their lifestyle, personality, and preferences. When seeking Compassion-focused Therapy, it’s important to find a credentialed Compassion-focused therapist who has experience in working within the field of compassion.

What can Compassion-focused Therapy help with?

Compassion-focused Therapy is most useful for clients who suffer from low self-esteem, low self-worth, or those who lack confidence or assertiveness in their daily lives. Often, these clients experience work-related stress, relationship conflicts, or difficulty in periods of change because of their low self-compassion. They can beat up on themselves when they feel like they did something “wrong” or hold themselves to impossible high standards, even with seemingly trivial tasks.

Compassion-focused Therapy is also useful with many mental health conditions, including:

For clients who would like to learn how to take care of themselves, compassion is a vital ingredient in the therapy journey.