Competencies of Compassion
- the 'Compassion Circles'

In Compassion Focused Therapy, as you begin to learn more about what compassion is, and in particular the definition of compassion and the two psychologies of compassion that sit within it (see here), we can then explore the idea that for each part of compassion, there are 6 competencies or abilities that give rise to these parts of compassion.

These difference components can be represented visually in the ‘compassion circles’ diagram (see here to download, and also below)

The components of the first part of compassion (engaging with distress) are:

  1. care for wellbeing
  2. sensitivity to distress
  3. sympathy
  4. distress tolerance
  5. empathy
  6. non-judgement

The components of the second psychology are:

  1. attention
  2. thinking
  3. feelings
  4. behaviour
  5. sensory/body
  6. imagery

If you’d like to find out more about what each of these mean in relation to compassion and self-compassion, click here.

If you’re interested in learning more about compassion, and self-compassion in particular, can help you, check our our compassion self-help and resources


The Competencies of Compassion

These handouts have all been adapted from the wonderful work of Paul Gilbert – find out more at www.compassiontemind.co.uk