ONLINE: CFT for voice-hearing and delusions in Psychosis (June 2021)

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This is a two day online workshop which will be held via Zoom

About this Event

Timings and Registration

This workshop will be 15 hours towards your CPD, and you will receive an certificate of attendance shortly after the workshop. For those who are unable to attend all of the live broadcast, this workshop will be recorded, and recordings will be available for up to one month after the live broadcast for you to watch in your own time. We will host this workshop via Zoom Meetings, and will send all relevant joining instructions a week before the workshop.

This workshop is priced at a flat rate of £195. For those in difficult financial circumstances, who may struggle to afford this price, please contact hello@compassionatemind.co.uk

‍All timings are according to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT): 09:00 - 16:30 both days

About this course


Traditionally, the primary aim of psychosis services and treatments has been to reduce or eliminate psychotic experiences such as voices and delusions, e.g. with antipsychotic drugs. This has shaped our broader cultural views of these phenomena; leading families, friends and societies to regard these experiences as the bad, wrong, or undesirable symptoms of a disordered brain. This results in stigmatisation of people who have these experiences and keeps society in a position of ignorance about their nature and meaning, fear of their unpredictability, and uncertainty about how to approach them. Because these states exist within society's conceptual framework of disorder, they are seen as incomprehensible, and therefore best left to professionals to deal with. For the person diagnosed with psychosis, not only is this isolating and shaming, but it often drives them into an internal battle with their experiences, e.g. attempting to fight, control, or suppress them.

Compassionate relating requires an understanding of voices and delusions that goes against the tide of culturally engrained attitudes; a shift away from traditional ‘brain abnormality’ narratives, towards narratives about these experiences as: i) understandable responses to difficult life experiences; and ii) functional ‘strategies’, rather than ‘symptoms’. This workshop will focus on the application of CFT in supporting people with experiences of voice-hearing and delusions. Over the 2 days, workshop participants will learn important skills in CFT psychoeducation and formulation of voice hearing and delusions, and how these lay the foundations for CFT interventions and the shift from fear-focused to compassion-focused engagement.


The workshop will outline the CFT psychoeducation of how evolution has set humans up with a tricky brain that has a natural threat bias that can incline towards dissociating, problematic attention, and over-estimating threat, using ‘better safe than sorry’ algorithms. It will guide participants through the CFT formulation of voice-hearing and delusions, which focuses on their (protective) function for people, particularly in the context of interpersonal threat and trauma. Building on these de-shaming foundations in psychoeducation and formulation, workshop participants will learn how to support their clients in developing a ‘compassionate self’ identity and how to switch into compassionate mind states that organise multiple physiological processes differently to that of threat states.

Participants will learn techniques that support their clients in applying compassionate competencies to achieve therapeutic change, with illustrative examples of interventions such as parts work, voice-dialoguing, imagery, letter-writing, and interventions that use role play, chair work embodiment and acting techniques.

‍As a result of this workshop, participants will be able to:

1. Describe the Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) model and its relevance for people with psychosis

2. Help their clients with psychosis to create internal cues of safeness (from the body) and external cues of safeness (from the social world)

3. Share psychoeducation about evolved brains, with their built-in patterns, emotion systems, and multiple selves

4. Help clients cultivate/deepen their compassionate self

5. Help clients put their compassion self to work in daily life

6. Use techniques to facilitate compassionate relating to self, to others, to voices, and to parts that strongly hold beliefs

Following this workshop participants are entitled to apply to join the compassion discussion list which is an international list for individuals who are committed to compassion focused therapy. It is not a general list of compassion interests.

Key References:

• Heriot-Maitland, C., McCarthy-Jones, S., Longden, E. & Gilbert, P. (2019). Compassion focused approaches to working with distressing voices. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 152.

• Braehler, C., Gumley, A.I., Harper, J. et al. (2013). Exploring change processes in compassion focused therapy in psychosis: results of a feasibility randomized controlled trial. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 52(2), 199-214.

• Gumley, A., Braehler, C., Laithwaite, H. et al. (2010). A compassion focussed model of recovery after psychosis. International Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 3(2), 186-201.

Workshop Leader:

Dr Charlie Heriot-Maitland , is a clinical psychologist, researcher, and trainer who integrates different therapeutic approaches, in particular Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). He provides psychological therapies for a CFT practice called Balanced Minds and also runs compassion training workshops for practitioners and the general public. Charlie is a clinical psychologist, researcher and trainer currently based at the University of Glasgow. Charlie completed his clinical psychology training at the University of Oxford, and has delivered psychological therapies in a variety of NHS settings in London and the South East. In his private practice, he provides psychological assessments, formulations, and interventions that integrate different therapeutic approaches, in particular CFT and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, but also drawing on other mindfulness-based and emotion-focused therapies.

Charlie's academic and research interests mainly lie in the application of CFT in psychosis, and he has recently been awarded a Fellowship by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to forward the scientific knowledge this area. He is currently researching the social context of anomalous experiences and the application of CFT for people experiencing distress in relation to psychosis. He was involved in the Compassion for Voices project, which created an animated film about the compassionate approach to relating with voices, which has been viewed over 200,000 times.

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