Compassion Focused Therapy

Compassion focused therapy is based on the mental and emotional healing of the people by inducing compassion in them for themselves and other people. Many experts and followers of this therapy believe that compassion towards yourself and others is the key to wellbeing. The more you are compassionate, the more you will be able to improve your mental and physical health.

How to find a CFT Therapist

If you are looking to find the perfect CFT Therapist it is crucial to make sure that they have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and experience. At Expat Therapy 4U we only accept therapists who have full professional proficiency in English and are highly experienced in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The clinicians we approve share our values and commitment to provide high quality therapy to the expatriate community in the private sector across Europe and online worldwide. We strongly believe that therapy changes lives, and being accredited ensures all our therapists are qualified to a high standard. You can find a CFT Therapist who is insured to practice and accredited with a recognised membership body online here.

What is the origin of Compassion Focused Therapy?

Compassion focused therapy is developed by Paul Gilbert in the 21st century. It includes the theories from various schools of thoughts, therapies, techniques, treatment modalities, and religion. Some of the approaches that have contributed to the origin of CFT are:

  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Buddhist Philosophy
  • Social psychology
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Neuroscience

The basics of CFT rely on the current understanding of the emotion regulation system that consists of three systems; the threat and self-protection, the drive and excitement, and the contentment and social safeness system. The treatments involved in CFT aim at regulating and associating these three systems with human thoughts and feelings. The main aim of this therapy is to bring these systems into balance.

 Who can benefit from CFT?

It is most helpful for people who feel difficulty in feeling, understanding, and expressing compassion. Therapy is the safest place where they can find out their inner conflicts and the reason behind having the difficulty to feel compassion. Also, this therapy is very effective in dealing with depressing behaviours, thoughts, and specifically self-attacking thoughts.

Some of the issues that are treated with the help of CFT are as follows:

  • Shame
  • Anxiety
  • Self-criticism
  • Depression
  • Disordered eating
  • Anger
  • Psychosis
  • Self-injury
  • Disordered eating

Clients are usually encouraged to talk to their therapist first about the issue they are facing and the perfect therapy for it. CFT is considered to be the best when you facing certain challenges or want to improve your wellbeing but might not be suitable for some other issues like bipolar, cognitive dissonance, etc.

How does Compassion Focused Therapy work?

Since the main aim of CFT is to bring balance among three basic emotion regulation systems, this theory proposes the threat, drive, and contentment systems have evolved in human beings for survival. From the very start of human history, human beings have been eager to avoid the threats and dangers, seek resources to satisfy their hunger and other drives, and enjoy being the part of the social community. The compassion-focused theory believes that still all these systems are the part of human beings and we still seek these things. Although ways of seeking balance in these systems have changed now, the basic need is the same.

The need to avoid threat has made human beings adapt different defense mechanisms and ways to fight off anything that might hurt them emotionally or physically. The drives make us motivated to achieve certain goals to fulfill the need for pleasure and hunger. People who have an over-stimulated drive system might get them involved in unsafe behaviours such as unsafe sex and substance abuse.

The contentment system is based on the feeling of happiness. We feel happy when we feel connected. These feelings are not tied to avoiding threats and fulfilling the drives to feel pleasure. It is a sense of happiness when we feel we are connected to other people. The soothing system is the regulator of the other two systems.

What are some techniques and strategies used in CFT?

The primary technique that is used in CFT is the compassionate mind training (CMT). It refers to the strategies that are solely used to help people experience compassion for themselves and others. It also aids in developing compassionate sensitivity, motivation, sympathy, and tolerance through some exercises and techniques. Its main aim is to help individuals develop non-judging and non-condemning attributes for their wellbeing. These strategies are used in the following ways:

  • To replace the self-attacking thoughts with the compassionate self-correction ones, the therapy helps the client to first learn thoroughly about the situation that is happening and becoming aware of the current emotions and thoughts as they experience it.
  • Mindfulness techniques are also used to focus on the thoughts and emotions with attention and sorting out ways to move towards logical, and positive thoughts.
  • Compassionate-focused imagery exercises are used to stimulate the mind and then the physiological systems. The goal of this imagery exercise is the production of a relational image that stimulates the soothing system.
  • Appreciation exercises are also taught where the individual focus on enjoying the current moment with no judgemental thoughts and self-attacking emotions.

The CFT therapist helps clients in making them aware of why they experience these thoughts that stop them from being passionate and what can be done about them. There are various ways through which these thoughts are explored and then the remedies are discussed to let go of such thoughts at the moment.

What is some limitation of CFT?

While CFT is based on developing compassion and making people feel good for others, it might not be easy for most of the clients. Some of them might be afraid of being compassionate, some might think that they are not worthy enough to be treated well, and some can find it challenging. Also, the client can feel difficulty in doing the exercises, entering the stage of mindfulness, and when they fail, it might further lead to self-criticism.

However, CFT is performed by trained clinicians and they are given special training to deliver this therapy. They know how to help their clients reach the level of compassion they deserve and how to make them feel for themselves and others. Because, in compassion-focused therapy, it is believed that it is an innate quality of every individual to be with others and it can be explored easily.

Find a CFT Therapist through the Expat Therapy 4U platform

Clients who choose CFT are usually the people who want to explore ways to relate to others with great interest and compassion. They are the people who are willing to open ways but don’t know-how. So, the CFT therapist helps them in inducing and exploring the compassion in them.

Further Readings on CFT




About Expat Therapy 4U

Expat Therapy 4U is the result of 5 years’ experience running The International Psychology Clinic, the first private therapy service based in London specialized in multilingual and multicultural therapy.

The platform is run by Dr Martina Paglia. Dr Martina is a leading dual qualified Clinical and Counselling psychologist who helps patients by providing bespoke psychological services including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy in London and online worldwide.

Our network comprises highly qualified and experienced private therapists who have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of expats worldwide. All members of our community are highly experienced working in cross-cultural environments.

We are passionate about delivering first-class patient-centred, safe and effective care. If you would like to work with a warm, inclusive, caring and professional English-speaking therapist in Europe or online worldwide you have come to the right place.

If you are looking for the perfect expat Therapist in Europe or online worldwide, our team is dedicated to help you find your best match. We offer a client guarantee where clients can re-book with a different therapist if they are not satisfied with their first therapy session.

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