What is Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)?
This therapy is used to treat problems associated with self-criticism, shame, guilt and self-hate. The brain, human nature and our life experiences all influence the way our minds work, and it is not our fault when we get caught up in these difficult feelings. When we are self-compassionate we recognise that all humans are imperfect and all can experience life difficulties. CFT helps us how to feel kinder towards ourselves, and to self soothe and feel safe when life can seem overwhelming. Research has shown that self-compassion has many beneficial effects on our moods, emotions and social relationships.
Compassion includes being understanding towards ourselves when we suffer, when we fail or feel inadequate, instead of judging ourselves with self-criticism. It is also about taking responsibility for your well-being. We cannot always get what we want or be who we want to be. When we can accept ourselves as we are, we can generate positive feelings of kindness and care that can help us to cope.
CFT is being used to treat a wide range of psychological difficulties, including low self-esteem, trauma and anger. It combines CBT techniques, mindfulness and other therapies.
What is Involved in a Course of Therapy?
In therapy you will learn to understand how we regulate emotions, and to develop the compassionate mind, which helps us to soothe ourselves and stay in the moment.
When there is a fear of criticism or rejection, we go into threat mode. We feel anxious or angry and our bodies tense up to prepare to escape from danger. Our attention and thinking will be focussed on the perceived threat, and we won’t see the positive signs around us. We try to keep ourselves safe by behaving in certain ways, such as avoiding what is frightening for us, or by trying to please others. In therapy you will learn to be kind to yourself and to have understanding and empathy, without judgment, and to change unhelpful behaviour. This will help you to restore your balance and feel safe and at peace. Developing kindness and compassion to self and others can help in calming down the threat system. You can learn to calm your distressing emotions and increase feelings of contentment and well-being.