Compassion Focussed Therapy
Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) is a therapeutic approach that helps people to develop inner warmth, safeness and soothing. It blends cognitive, behavioural and mindfulness approaches to help cultivate a compassionate mind. CFT can be particularly good for those who experience high levels of shame or self-criticism.
There are many reasons why developing compassion towards ourselves as well as others can be of benefit to us. However, it isn’t always as easy as it sounds. CFT leans upon scientific and evolutionary evidence as to why our brains work in the way they do and why they can be somewhat ‘tricky’. We can get stuck in loops of feeling and thinking that can cause distress and suffering – but it is important to know that this is not our fault. Rather, it is as a result of the ‘old’ and ‘new’ parts of our brains interacting in ways that can get us trapped in these cycles.
Research has shown that by increasing our understanding of these traps, and by developing self-compassion, we can alleviate emotional suffering. This involves two main components: learning how to recognise and engage with what is causing us distress and developing a commitment to alleviating this.
Very often, we find it easier to have compassion towards others; we can see pain and suffering in other people and want to try and help them in some way. However, it can be a lot more challenging to apply this same compassion inwards. The primary aim in Compassion Focussed Therapy is therefore to help us to develop compassion towards ourselves, but it is also about learning how to accept compassion from others. This can be very difficult, especially if we have a tendency to be self-critical and do not see ourselves as worthy of compassion. However, this human centred approach to therapy can have a profound impact on your wellbeing.
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In Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT), emotions are categorised into three different types and functions: • The Threat System • The Drive System • The Soothing