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Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) is a therapeutic approach developed by psychologist Dr. Paul Gilbert, which focuses on fostering compassion and alleviating suffering. It is particularly effective for individuals dealing with shame, self-criticism, and a range of mental health concerns.

Compassion-Focused Therapy is a holistic and integrative approach that combines cognitive-behavioral techniques, mindfulness, and compassion training to address emotional difficulties, enhance self-compassion, and promote overall psychological well-being.

Here are key components of Compassion-Focused Therapy:

Compassion as a Central Focus: CFT places a strong emphasis on cultivating compassion, both for oneself and others. The therapy aims to develop a compassionate mindset as a means of addressing and transforming emotional difficulties.

Three Circles Model: CFT utilizes the Three Circles Model to understand human emotional systems. These circles represent the threat system (fight-flight), the drive system (achievement and resource-seeking), and the soothing system (affiliation, nurturance, and contentment). The goal is to balance these systems to enhance emotional well-being.

Mindfulness and Mindful Self-Compassion: Mindfulness techniques are integrated into CFT to help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindful self-compassion involves extending kindness and understanding toward oneself during challenging times.

Understanding and Transforming Shame: CFT addresses the impact of shame and self-criticism on mental health. It helps individuals understand the origins of shame, develop self-compassion, and work towards transforming the harsh, critical inner dialogue.

Compassionate Mind Training: CFT includes exercises and interventions aimed at developing a compassionate mind. This involves cultivating qualities such as kindness, empathy, and warmth toward oneself and others.

Behavioral Experiments and Exposure: CFT incorporates behavioral experiments to help individuals test and challenge their beliefs and fears. Exposure exercises are used to gradually confront and overcome difficult emotions, fostering emotional resilience.

Socratic Questioning: Therapists in CFT use Socratic questioning to guide individuals in exploring their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This approach encourages self-reflection and insight, leading to a deeper understanding of one’s own experiences.

Safe Place and Compassionate Imagery: CFT often involves creating a mental “safe place” and practicing compassionate imagery. This helps individuals evoke feelings of safety and warmth, providing a resourceful anchor during times of distress.

Social Engagement and Connection: CFT recognizes the importance of social relationships in fostering compassion. Therapists encourage individuals to build and strengthen supportive connections, recognizing the positive impact of social engagement on mental well-being.

Cognitive Restructuring: CFT includes cognitive restructuring techniques to challenge and reframe self-critical thoughts. The aim is to develop a more balanced and compassionate perspective toward oneself.


Trauma-Informed therapists acknowledge that most people have some history of trauma, whether or not they have shared that with us yet.


Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) helps people who struggle with shame and are highly critical of themselves to develop compassion for self and others.


Strengths Based Therapy focuses and builds on the client’s strengths, resources, and resiliency rather than weaknesses or shortcomings.


In a Client-centered (also called Person-centered) approach to therapy, the client and therapist are seen as equal partners in the therapeutic process.

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Some discomfort is to be expected in response to change and certain life circumstances. However, if your symptoms are having a negative impact on your life or causing you significant distress, it may be time to reach out for support.

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