Soothing Breathing Rhythm 1 Script

Take a look at a this short script for guiding a key exercise in Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), often known as Soothing Rhythm Breathing.

You can access this Soothing Breathing Rhythm 1 Script as a PDF download hereYou can also find access to some of the audio practices here and guided compassion self-help here.

To begin, you may find it helpful to read the soothing breathing rhythm 1 script ‘as it is’. As you get more familiar with it and confident, you may then want to adapt and alter to fit your clients needs

soothing breathing rhythm 1 script

Soothing Breathing Rhythm 1 Script

“Find a quiet place to sit. Take a moment to embody a grounded, confident and upright posture, with your feet on the floor at shoulders width, your spine upright and shoulders slightly back and chest open (10 secs)

Bring your head in to an upright position, and gently bring a friendly expression to your face. When you feel ready, bring your attention to your breathing in a mindful way (10 secs). 

Notice the sensations that are present as you breathe in and out, and when your attention becomes distracted, bring it back to focus on your breath in a gentle and kind way. 

Now, as you’re gently holding your attention in the flow of your breath, see if you can find a soothing or calming breathing rhythm. Take some time to experiment with this – to explore what your breathing rhythm would be like if it had a soothing or calming quality to it. It may be that this rhythm is a slower and deeper rhythm that usual, but one that feels comfortable to your body. If you can, try to breathe in a smooth, even way (20 secs)

If you notice your attention moving away from your breath, or that you become distracted in any way, gently bring your attention back to your breath and tune back in to the calming or soothing quality of your breathing rhythm (60 secs)

As you continue, see if you can imagine a sense of ‘slowing down’ in your body as you breathe out (30 seconds)

It can also be helpful to notice your body feeling a little heavier, as you breathe out, whilst your legs are support by the chair and feet grounded on the floor (10 secs)

Continue practising this breathing rhythm for another five minutes or so, mindfully noticing when your awareness is distracted from this focus, and gently bringing your attention back to rest in the flow of your soothing breathing rhythm

When you feel ready, open your eyes and bring yourself back in to the room. “

Key if you’re using any of these scripts is to support the person (or yourself) if any difficulties are experienced during the practice. If difficulties are experienced, part of the skill is in slowing down and trying to learn what the difficulties were about. For example, mind wandering, struggling to pay attention, difficulty focusing on the body/breath and so on.

Sometimes the difficulties are simply linked to a lack of familiarity, and more practice makes things easier. It may be useful though to engage in one of our self-help courses, or the self-compassion app, as a support to navigating your practice. 

If you’d like to have an audio guide to this practice, take a look here

After you become more familiar with this initial practice of soothing breathing rhythm, you can then more on to look at deepening skills in breathing rhythm here. This involves learning to slow down the breath, learning to use inner speech and also facial expressions to support the engagement in the soothing system. 

These exercises and practices have all been adapted from the wonderful work of Paul Gilbert