Compassion Focused Therapy
The healing properties of compassion have been written about for centuries. The Dalai Lama often stresses that if you want others to be happy-focus on compassion; if you want to be happy yourself-focus on compassion.
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is a system of psychotherapy developed by Paul Gilbert that integrates techniques from Cognitive Behavioural therapy, with concepts from evolutionary psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, Buddhist psychology and neuroscience.
It is helpful in working with people who have high levels of shame and self-criticism and have great difficulties in being kind to themselves, feeling self-warmth or being self-compassionate.
People who have experienced abuse, bullying, high expressed emotions in the family, neglect and or lack of affection can be highly sensitised to criticism from the outside world and often feel high levels of threat. They themselves develop their own self-critic and can continue to attack themselves beyond the time of their trauma experience.
Clients who have experienced early life trauma or difficulties related to abuse and bullying in later life engage with the cognitive and behavioural tasks of therapy and find they understand the logic behind the therapy, become skilled at generating alternatives for their negative thoughts and beliefs but don’t feel any better. They may say, “ I know I am not to blame for the abuse but I still feel that I am”.
One of the key components is to use compassionate mind training to help people develop and work with experiences of inner warmth, safeness and soothing via compassion and self-compassion. Learning ways to be understanding, empathetic, kind and forgiving towards yourself can alleviate years of emotional pain.