ONLINE: An Introduction to the Theory & Practice of CFT  (September 2022)

ONLINE: An Introduction to the Theory & Practice of CFT (September 2022)

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Online event

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An Introduction to the Theory & Practice of CFT (September 2022). This is a three days Online workshop delivered via Zoom.

About this event

Dates and Times: Wednesday 21st: 9:30am - 5.00pm | Thursday 22nd: 9.30am - 5.00pm | Friday 23rd: 9.30am - 4.30pm - These times are UK BST.

This workshop will be 20 hours towards your CPD points.

Compassion focused therapy is rooted in an evolutionary model of human psychology. Participants in the course will be introduced to the difficulties that the human brain encounters because of its evolutionary history and the way in which old motivation and emotional systems interact with newly evolved cognitive competencies and intelligence. For example, humans are the only species that self-monitor in a particular way and while this has advantages, it is also a source for a lot of shame, anxiety and depression.

Participants will also be introduced to the three affect regulation systems linked to threat awareness and coping, reward and resource seeking, and contentment and soothing and how they form complex patterns within the mind. Participants will learn how early life experiences can shape the organisation of our emotions increasing our dispositions towards threat-based emotions that underpin a lot of mental health difficulties.

In the introduction, a particular focus will be on a trans-diagnostic problem that sits underneath many mental health problems which is shame and high levels of self-criticism. Shame and self-criticism can accentuate and maintain difficulties and can complicate and undermine therapeutic efforts. These individuals often come from abusive/bullying, neglectful and/or demanding/critical backgrounds, and have difficulties in regulating emotions through affiliation and soothing systems. Compassion Focused Therapy and Compassionate Mind Training were developed with, and for, people from such backgrounds to address chronic problems associated with shame and self-criticism.

This workshop will help participants bring an evolutionary framework to the conceptualization of mental health problems and their alleviation. This workshop draws on new research on the nature of different types of positive affect (activating versus soothing). Using these insights with an evolutionary and attachment focus the workshop explores the components of self-compassion and how the application of self-compassion can facilitate and promote well-being. The fears, blocks and resistances to self-compassion will be explored. The workshop covers the following materials:

- Introduction to the evolutionary model of human psychology and vulnerability to mental health difficulties

- Understanding an evolutionary approach to affect regulation and affect dysregulation

- The role of attachment and early secure base and safe haven for development and compassion cultivation

- The nature of the two psychologies compassion with 12 constituent elements and their link to the care-giving and receiving motivational systems

- Compassion as flow: compassion to others, being open to compassion from others and self-compassion

- Practices that stimulate compassionate mental states and build a sense of the compassionate self-identity

- How to use compassionate mental states and the sense of a grounded compassionate self to address problems such as self-criticism and shame

- Therapy as creating different patterns in the mind conducive to well-being

Background Reading

Cozolino, L. (2007). The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment and the Developing Brain. New York: Norton

Dalai Lama. (1995). The Power of Compassion. India: HarperCollins.

Fredrickson, B,L., Cohn, M,A., Coffey, K,A, Pek, J., & Finkel. S,A. (2008). Open hearts build lives: Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness mediation, build consequential personal resources, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 1045-62. You can download this via by clicking here.

Gerhardt, S. (2004). Why Love Matters. How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain. London: Bruner-Routledge.

Germer, C. (2009). The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions. New York: Guilford.

Gilbert, P. (2018) Living Like Crazy. Annwyn House

Gilbert, P. (ed) (2017) Compassion: Concepts, Research and Application. Routledge

Gilbert, P. (2010) Compassion Focused Therapy Distinctive Features Series. London: Routledge

Gilbert. P. (2009). The Compassionate Mind. Robinson

Gilbert P. (2007). Psychotherapy and Counselling for Depression (3rd edition): London. Sage.

Gilbert, P. (2000) Social mentalities: Internal ‘social’ conflicts & the role of inner-warmth & compassion in cognitive therapy. In P.Gilbert & K.G. Bailey (Eds). Genes on the Couch: Explorations in Evolutionary Psychotherapy. London: Routledge.

Gilbert, P. & Irons, C. (2005). Therapies for shame and self-attacking, using cognitive, behavioural, emotional imagery, and compassionate mind training. In P.Gilbert (Ed) Compassion: Conceptualisations, Research and Use in Psychotherapy. London: Routledge.

Glasser, A. (2005). A Call to Compassion: Bringing Buddhist Practices of the Heart into the Soul of Psychotherapy. Berwick Maine: Nicolas-Hays.

Irons, C. & Beaumont, E. (2017) The Compassionate Mind Workbook. Robinson

Kolts, R. L. (2016) CFT Made Simple: A Clinician's Guide to Practising Compassion Focused Therapy. New Harbinger.

Leary, M.R., Tate, E.B., Adams, C.E., Allen, A.B. & Hancock, J. (2007). Self-Compassion and reactions to unpleasant self-relevant events: The implications of treating oneself kindly. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 887-904. There are options to access this article by clicking here.

Lee, D. (2005) The perfect nurturer: A model to develop a compassionate mind within the context of cognitive therapy. In P.Gilbert (Ed) Compassion: Conceptualisations, Research and Use in Psychotherapy. London: Routledge

Mikulincer, M. & Shaver, P.R. (2007) Attachment in Adulthood: Structure, Dynamics, and Change. New York: Guilford

Welford, M. (2016) Compassion Focused Therapy for Dummies. John Wiley & Sons.

To see the full range of Compassion Focused Therapy and Compassionate Mind related books, please check out the link:

Workshop Leaders :

Dr Tobyn Bell is a Compassion Focused Therapy Trainer, Supervisor and Psychotherapist. He is the co-author of the book ‘Compassion Focused Therapy from the Inside Out: A Self-practice/Self-reflection Workbook for Therapists’. Tobyn regularly provides national and international training on compassion and chairwork and conducts research in these areas. He is a co-founder of Chairwork (– an international provider of chairwork-related training and supervision- and works as a lecturer and operational lead at the University of Manchester.

Dr Ashleigh McLellan is a consultant clinical psychologist with 20 years' experience in the NHS working with complex mental health presentations. She was the clinical lead for the Humber Traumatic Stress Service in Hull with a specialism in military trauma, refugees and asylum seekers and a range of cPTSD presentations. She is involved in teaching on the Hull, Leeds and Sheffield ClinPsyD courses, and has supervised a number of Hull trainee clinical psychologists in CFT research. In 2020 Ashleigh started working exclusively in independent practice using the compassionate mind model with organisations and businesses, working with teams, individuals, and delivering training. She is the director of her own company Ubuntu Psychology where she continues her clinical work and co-director of Your Virtual Mind Trainer.

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