Compassion Focused Therapy Clinical Practice and Applications


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Compassion Focused Therapy: Clinical Practice and Applications offers evidence-based guidance and extensive insight into the science behind compassion focused therapy.

The first section of the book explores the evolution and physiological infrastructures of caring, and how compassion arises when humans use their complex cognitive competencies to address suffering deliberately and intentionally. With this framework and basis, the next sections of the book explore CFT applied to groups, specific interventions such as chair work, the importance of applying the principles of the therapy to oneself, the CFT therapeutic relationship, and a chapter offering a systematic review of the evidence for CFT. The third section offers a series of multi-authored chapters on interventions for a range of different mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, trauma, and many others.

Being the first major clinical book on compassion focused therapy, with leading international researchers and clinicians addressing central problems, this landmark publication will appeal to psychotherapists from a variety of schools as well as being a vital resource for compassion focused therapists.


  • Section I Compassion focused therapy: An evolved biopsychosocial approach;
  • 1. Setting the scene: Psychotherapy at a crossroads and a compassionate way forward, Paul Gilbert;
  • 2. Compassion focused therapy as an evolution informed, biopsychosocial science of the mind: History and challenge, Paul Gilbert;
  • 3. The evolved functions of caring connections as a basis for compassion, Paul Gilbert;
  • 4. Shame, humiliation, social status and the pain of social disconnection, Paul Gilbert;
  • 5. Internal shame and self-disconnection: From hostile self-criticism to compassionate self-correction and guidance, Paul Gilbert;
  • 6. Formulation and fears, blocks and resistances, Paul Gilbert;
  • Section II CFT practices and settings;
  • 7. CFT Introducing and developing compassion functions and competencies, Paul Gilbert;
  • 8. Compassionate Mind Training: Key Themes, Paul Gilbert;
  • 9 Meeting the challenges of a multi mind and the role of grieving, Paul Gilbert;
  • 10. Compassion focused therapy and the body: how physiological underpinnings of prosociality inform clinical practice, Nicola Petrocchi, Maria Di Bello, Simone Cheli and Cristina Ottaviani;
  • 11. Psychedelics, connectedness and compassion, Enzo Tagliazucchi, Lorena Llobenes and Natali Gumiy;
  • 12. Self-practice/self-reflection (SP/SR) training for compassion focused therapists, Tobyn Bell, James Bennett-Levy and Tara Hickey;
  • 13. The therapeutic relationship in Compassion Focused Therapy, Hannah Gilbert;
  • 14. A Group Mindfulness and Compassion Focused Therapy Programme, Francis Gheysen, Marine Paucsik and Pascal Delamillieure;
  • 15. Compassion focused therapy in Groups, Derek Griner, Mark E. Beecher, Gary M. Burlingame, David M. Erekson and Kara Cattani;
  • 16. Compassion Focused Group Psychotherapy for people who could attract a diagnosis of personality disorder, Kate Lucre;
  • Section III Specific applications;
  • 17. Compassion Focused Therapy chairwork, Tobyn Bell;
  • 18. Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) for emotion regulation difficulties, Chris Irons;
  • 19. Compassion Focused Therapy for the treatment of anxiety, Dennis Tirch;
  • 20. True Strength: Using Compassion Focused Therapy in the treatment of problematic anger, Russell L. Kolts;
  • 21. Compassion Focused Therapy in forensic settings, Diana Ribeiro da Silva and Daniel Rijo;
  • 22. The Roles of shame, self-criticism and compassion focused therapy in eating disorders and disordered eating, Ken Goss and Allison Kelly;
  • 23. Compassion Focused Therapy as an evolutionary and biopsychosocial understanding of depression and its Management, Gregoris Simos;
  • 24. Compassion Focused Therapy for voice-hearing and delusions in psychosis, Charles Heriot-Maitland;
  • 25. Using Compassion Focused Therapy to work with complex PTSD, Deborah Lee;
  • 26. A Compassionate Focused Therapy approach to supporting parents and children, James N. Kirby;
  • 27. Overview of outcome research on Compassion Focused Therapy: A scoping review, Jaskaran Basran, Joanne Raven and Ptarmigan Plowright

Author Bio:

Paul Gilbert OBE qualified in clinical psychology in 1980 and is professor of clinical psychology at the University of Derby and has had a number of visiting international professorships. From his extensive clinical and research work he developed compassion focused therapy for people with complex mental health problems.

Gregoris Simos, MD, is a Professor of Psychopathology, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece. He is an internationally respected psychiatrist and a recognized authority in the field of contemporary psychotherapies (CBT, CFT). He is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Beck Institute for CBT.


‘This book is an extraordinary achievement, one that anyone interested in a biopsychosocial model, and compassion focused therapy should read. It serves up an incredible array and depth of theory, linked to the latest science, topped up with wonderful helpings of clinical examples of many presentations, each underlining the importance and potential of this approach. This is a book to savour, and return to and is highly recommended’ – Graham Music, The Tavistock clinic author of Nurturing Natures: Attachment and Children’s Emotional, Sociocultural and Brain Development, Second Edition