Compassion-focused therapy

WEBINARS: Compassion-focused therapy with Paul Gilbert

Date: Saturday 20 February & Saturday 27 February 2021
Time: 8.30am - 12.00pm each Saturday (both sessions will be recorded and available for viewing for the next 12 months to paying registrants)

Prof Paul Gilbert PhD OBE hosts these workshops that offer insights into the nature of compassion and the types and uses of practices that stimulate compassionate mental states and sense of self.

You will have direct experience of mindfulness and compassion practices drawn from a synthesis of Western therapeutic and Buddhist approaches. Integrating mindfulness into the practice of compassion, we will find a step-by-step approach to cultivating the inner compassionate self.

Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) brings an evolutionary framework to the conceptualisation of mental health and social problems and their alleviation. Human compassion is how we use our caring motivational systems to address emotional difficulties in ourselves and others using new brain intelligences.

You will cover/learn:

  • the evolutionary basis of compassion and some of its physiological mediators
  • the link between attachment and building the compassionate mind for clinical issues
  • how to use the compassionate mind to address self-criticism and emotional regulation for clinical issues.

Practicing compassion is shown to have powerful effects on the mind, body, and social processes. Through conscious identification with qualities of strength, wisdom and commitment, we learn to embody the compassionate self. From this place, we are then in a position to relate compassionately to the parts of ourselves that struggle and to broaden our compassion to other people in our lives. In this way, we will experience the healing qualities that come from a stable and compassionate mind and develop new and transformative ways of being with our self and other people.

Saturday 20 February

The workshop will cover some of the origins of compassion focused therapy and how it is now really in an evolutionary biopsychosocial and contextual science. Participants will be introduced to how evolutionary functional analysis advances our understanding of mental health difficulties and in particular, the importance of the evolution of attachment, caring and affiliation as part of the human affect motivation and regulation systems.

  • We explore compassion as a motivational system has three dimensions, its definition, self-identity (the self that seeks to be helpful, not harmful) and creating the internal competencies for a compassionate mind, e.g. by the vagus nerve.
  • We review the nature of their 3 affect regulation system of threat, drive, and affiliative-soothing and look at how they are utilised in compassion-focused interventions.
  • 12 competencies of compassion are described.


Saturday 27 February

  • The link of compassion to general caring behaviour and attachment theory.
  • Compassion-focused skills including the use of the breath and body postures, understanding and cultivating mindfulness, letter writing, compassionate flashcards, compassionate anchoring, and the practice of compassion-focused imagery.
  • How to build the infrastructure of the compassionate mind.


Questions are welcome during the day, and Paul will endeavour to get through as many as possible during the time available.



Paul Gilbert, PhD, FBPsS, OBE is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Derby and is a Visiting Professor at The University of Queensland, Australia.

He obtained his PhD in clinical training in 1980. He was an NHS Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Derbyshire Health Care Foundation Trust until his retirement in (1989-2016). He has researched evolutionary approaches to psychopathology for over 40 years with a special focus on shame and the treatment of shame-based difficulties - for which compassion focused therapy was developed. He was made a Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 1993 in recognition of his original research.

In 2003 Paul was president of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy. He was an invited expert member for the first British Governments’ NICE guidelines for depression. He has written/edited 23 books and over 300 publications.

In 2006 he established the Compassionate Mind Foundation, a charity with the mission statement “to promote wellbeing through the scientific understanding and application of compassion”. He was awarded an OBE in March 2011.

This presentation is intended for qualified health practitioners professional development and should not be relied upon for any other purpose. Any opinions offered are those of the presenter or other speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of Goodfellow Unit.

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