Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)

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 this manner.  Studies from across the world show that training our minds to be more compassionate is associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, stress, shame, self-criticism and worry.  In turn this promotes 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 the Compassionate Mind Foundation UK sees compassion as:

“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 and how it involves strength and understanding.  Furthermore, you’ll learn how you can use compassion to help to engage and reduce any distress you’re experiencing in life.

What difficulties is Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) 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




Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) at Balanced Minds

All our therapists at Balanced Minds have training and supervision in Compassion Focused Therapy.  Many of us are involved in the teaching, training, research and supervision of Compassion Focused Therapy both in the UK and internationally.

Fill in our self-referral form to request an initial CFT session with one of our therapists.