Is this course for you?

Do you sometimes criticise yourself when you make a mistake? Do you find that you treat yourself more harshly than you do your friends? It is hard to take care of yourself when you're struggling, or to allow others to care of you?

If so, you might find this 8-week Compassionate Mind Training (CMT) online course helpful.

What is CMT?

Compassionate Mind Training (CMT) involves ideas & exercises that are scientifically proven to increase compassion for ourselves & others.

Research conducted on this course found that it led to a number of positive benefits, including improvements in compassion, self-reassurance, self-criticism, and emotional wellbeing. Read more about the research here.

What do the 8 weeks involve?

This is a self-guided online course. Each of the 8 sessions is 2 hours (approx), involving a mixture of taught content and experiential exercises (e.g. mindfulness, imagery, and compassion).

In between sessions, you'll have access to guided audios and reading material to support your journey in cultivating your compassionate mind.

About the facilitators, Drs Chris Irons and Charlie Heriot-Maitland:

Hi, i'm Chris. I'm a clinical psychologist specialising in Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Compassionate Mind Training (CMT).

I've got many years of experience in helping individuals, groups and organisations cultivate their compassionate minds - becoming more compassionate with themselves and others. I've published lots of research on the benefits of compassion, and have authored a number of compassion-related books, including the Compassionate Mind Workbook & Compassionate Mind Approach to Difficult Emotions.

Hi, I’m Charlie. I am a clinical psychologist specialising in Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Compassionate Mind Training (CMT).

I provide compassion-focused interventions for individuals, groups, and organisations. I have also run over a hundred various compassion training workshops both nationally and internationally.

During this self-guided (online) 8-week course, participants will be guided in learning how to develop their ‘compassionate minds’. Based upon the work of Professor Paul Gilbert and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), each session will involve a mixture of taught content and experiential exercises and practices (e.g. mindfulness, imagery, compassionate mind skills development). As the sessions progress, participants will learn how to develop and access their ‘compassionate minds’, and how they can use this to reduce self-criticism, balance strong negative emotions (e.g. anger, anxiety, shame), and become more compassionate to themselves and other people.

During the course, participants will learn:

  • how our minds are naturally susceptible to getting caught up in to negative thinking-emotion ‘loops’
  • about the ‘three emotion systems’ model, and how many of us can get stuck in emotional imbalance
  • what compassion is, what attributes help to facilitate it, what can block it, and how we can train our minds in it
  • that compassion can come in three different ‘flows’ – to others (compassion for others), from others (compassion from others) and to ourselves (self-compassion)
  • Develop skills to balance their emotions by developing skills in mindfulness and compassion

Participants will have the opportunity to develop skills in:

  • Mindfulness – we will explore the power of attention and awareness, and practice a variety of mindfulness exercises that can help people to develop greater attentional stability
  • Breathing – practicing how certain types of breathing rhythm help to sooth and calm the body and the mind
  • Compassion – we will explore how to develop your ‘compassionate mind’ through a variety of practices, including those involving memory, imagery, embodied action, emotion and thinking

Research has shown that attending CMT leads to changes in:



Positive Emotions





Psychological Distress

Relationship insecurities 


"I didn't really know what to expect beforehand, and felt a bit resigned to always been self-critical, that it was my personality and I would always be that way. Though over the group I have noticed myself developing a slightly different relationship with my inner critic, I'm finding that I'm catching loops and noticing my threat system being activated much quicker, I guess the volume has been turned down. The last few sessions with the imagery and relationship with the self-critic were particularly helpful for me"

Jacob P
Course Participant


This course includes:


8 sessions, each  approximately 2 hours long


Over 20 different compassion practices


Reading material to support your journey to developing a compassionate mind

How does compassion help?

There are now thousands of studies showing that higher levels of self-compassion are associated with many benefits. This includes higher levels of happiness, wellbeing and positivity, as well as lower levels of self-criticism, shame, anxiety and depression. An recent study showed that the 8-week CMT course led to many improvements, including in self-compassion, self-criticism, depression, and emotional wellbeing.  

Isn't compassion weak and self-indulgent?

These are some of the most common myths about compassion. The research on this has actually found the opposite - the more compassionate you are with yourself, the more likely you are to deal with difficult things in life, and take responsibility for your mistakes and failures.

I don't deserve compassion

Although this is understandable, the key thing about compassion isn't about whether you deserve it, but that you need it. We will spend many, many hours with friends and family in life, but no where near as long as we spend in relationship with ourselves - so the important thing is to learn how to treat ourselves with the same care and compassion we treat our friends and loved ones.

Is it possible to become more compassionate?

Yes, absolutely! There are hundreds of published studies showing that it's possible to increase our levels of compassion to self and others, and many of the exercises in this course have been found to do just this.

How long will I have access to the course?

For as long as you want it! I want you to feel free to go keep using these ideas and resources whenever you find it helpful

"Dear Charlie and Chris, I just wanted to thank you both for the course. It was a great experience and I feel like I learned a great deal"

Diana B
Course Participant

"Thanks to both of you for such an enjoyable, well structured course.  I found it interesting and enlightening and hope (intend) to put the various exercises into practice over the coming weeks and months"

Kate J
Course Participant