What is Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)?
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is an innovative therapy that seeks to reduce mental and emotional distress and promote wellbeing, by helping people learn how to relate to themselves (and others) in a more compassionate caring way. Whilst many of us are taught to treat other people in kind and caring ways, it’s less common to be taught how to treat ourselves in the type of way. Studies from across the world are now showing that training our minds to be more compassionate is associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, stress, shame, self-criticism and worry, and in turn, higher levels of wellbeing and life satisfaction.
CFT integrates various theories and practices, and draws upon attachment theory, developmental psychology, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, cognitive behavioural therapy and ideas from Buddhist psychology. It is not a proscriptive approach, so your therapist will explore how to integrate the ideas of CFT to fit your needs.
What is compassion?
Sometimes people think that compassion is linked to being soft, nice or even it being a bit wishy-washy. However, in the CFT approach compassion is:
“a sensitivity to the suffering of self and others, with a commitment to try to alleviate and prevent it.”
It turns out that because compassion is linked to engaging in distress, it often takes strength and courage to engage in it. Your therapist will support you in learning what compassion is, how it involves strength and understanding, and how you can use this to help to engage and reduce distress you’re experiencing in life.
What difficulties is it helpful for?
Evidence is growing for the effectiveness of CFT across a wide variety of mental and physical health problems. Amongst other things, it has been found to help with:
· Low self-esteem
· Shame and self-criticism
· Eating problems
· Emotional instability
· Relationship problems
CFT at Balanced Minds
All our therapists at Balanced Minds have training and supervision in CFT. Many of us are involved in the teaching, training, research and supervision of CFT both in the UK and internationally.