Compassion focused therapy
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Compassion focused therapy (CFT) is a system of psychotherapy developed by Paul Gilbert that integrates techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy with concepts from evolutionary psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, Buddhist psychology, and neuroscience. "One of its key concerns is to use compassionate mind training to help people develop and work with experiences of inner warmth, safeness and soothing, via compassion and self-compassion."
The central therapeutic technique of CFT is compassionate mind training, which teaches the skills and attributes of compassion. Compassionate mind training helps transform problematic patterns of cognition and emotion related to anxiety, anger, shame, self-criticism, depersonalization, and hypomania.
Biological evolution forms the theoretical backbone of CFT. Humans have evolved with at least three primal types of emotion regulation system: the threat (protection) system, the drive (resource-seeking) system, and the soothing system. CFT emphasizes the links between cognitive patterns and these three emotion regulation systems. Through the use of techniques such as compassionate mind training and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychotherapy clients can learn to manage each system more effectively and respond more appropriately to situations. There are an increasing number of empirical research papers that demonstrate the importance of compassion as a way of directing behavior to deal with threat and resolve conflict.
Compassion focused therapy is especially appropriate for people who have high levels of shame and self-criticism and who have difficulty in feeling warmth toward, and being kind to, themselves or others. Such problems of shame and self-criticism are often rooted in a history of abuse, bullying, neglect, and/or lack of affection in the family. CFT can help such people learn to feel more safeness and warmth in their interactions with others and themselves.
Numerous methods are used in CFT to develop a person's compassion. For example, people undergoing CFT are taught to understand compassion from the third person, before transferring these thought processes to themselves.
- Gilbert, Paul (2009). "Introducing compassion-focused therapy" (PDF). BJPsych Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. 15: 199–208. doi:10.1192/apt.bp.107.005264.
- Gilbert, Paul (2010a). Compassion focused therapy: distinctive features. The CBT distinctive features series. London; New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415448079. OCLC 463971957.
- Gilbert, Paul (2010b). The compassionate mind: a new approach to life's challenges. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications. ISBN 9781572248403. OCLC 436624753.
- Gilbert, Paul (2010c). "An introduction to compassion focused therapy in cognitive behavior therapy". International Journal of Cognitive Therapy. 3 (2): 97–112. doi:10.1521/ijct.2010.3.2.97.
- Gilbert, Paul; Irons, Chris (2013). "Compassion-focused therapy". In Dryden, Windy; Reeves, Andrew. The handbook of individual therapy (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. pp. 301–328. ISBN 9781446201367. OCLC 858825414.
- Kaufman, Gershen (1989). The psychology of shame: theory and treatment of shame-based syndromes. New York: Springer. ISBN 0826166709. OCLC 18740186.
- MacBeth, Angus; Gumley, Andrew (August 2012). "Exploring compassion: a meta-analysis of the association between self-compassion and psychopathology" (PDF). Clinical Psychology Review. 32 (6): 545–552. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2012.06.003.
- Schore, Allan N (1998). "Early shame experiences and infant brain development". In Gilbert, Paul; Andrews, Bernice. Shame: interpersonal behavior, psychopathology, and culture. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 57–77. ISBN 0195114795. OCLC 37878725.
- Van Dam, Nicholas T; Sheppard, Sean C; Forsyth, John P; Earleywine, Mitch (January 2011). "Self-compassion is a better predictor than mindfulness of symptom severity and quality of life in mixed anxiety and depression" (PDF). Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 25 (1): 123–130. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.08.011.
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