Introducing Compassion-focused Therapy, by Professor Paul Gilbert

Prof. Paul Gilbert outlines the basis and focus of Compassion-focused Therapy

In his paper, Professor Paul Gilbert sets out to explain the fundamental principles of his science-based model, Compassion-focused Therapy, now being used by many therapists in the treatment of shame, high levels of self-criticism and low self-worth.  He explains the basis of his theory, often making links with recent findings in neuroscience. Evolution, too, plays a role.

Compassion-focused Therapy aims to develop a capacity for self-compassion within clients, thereby alleviating some of the distress associated with negative, critical thinking. The skills of compassion involve creating feelings of warmth, kindness and support to oneself. Prof. Gilbert cites compassionate reasoning, compassionate behaviour and compassionate imagery as skills of compassion that clients can practice and evolve within themselves.

He points out that CFT is a multimode approach and can be integrated with most psychotherapeutic schools of thought.

He concludes, ‘Compassion-focused therapy is an integrated therapy that draws from social, developmental, evolutionary and Buddhist psychology, and neuroscience.’

For anyone unfamiliar with Professor Gilbert’s theory, Introducing Compassion-focused Therapy (available online) is a good beginner’s guide to the approach.

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