Threat System Formulation

Formulation is key to all therapeutic approaches. In Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), one type of formulation taps in to an understanding of four key areas:

  1. our life experiences 
  2. how these have led to the development of key fears and threats
  3. how we have developed certain safety or protective strategies to manage our fears
  4. how our safety strategy has led to various unintended consequences

You can find a chapter on how to do this formulation in The Compassionate Mind Workbook, but you can download a blank version of the form here (or look at it below), and also look through a completed example here or below 

If you’d like some help to work with gaining confidence with self-compassion practices, try some of our self-compassion courses here

Compassionate Mind Workbook, Sample Chapter

Threat System Formulation

Threat System Formulation - Completed Example

These handouts have all been adapted from the wonderful work of Paul Gilbert – find out more at