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Compassion-Focused Therapy

Image by Jazmin Quaynor
Image by Brett Jordan

Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on cultivating compassion for oneself and others. It was developed by British psychologist Dr. Paul Gilbert in the 1990's as a way to help people with mental health difficulties related to shame, self-criticism, and negative self-judgment.

CFT is based on the idea that many psychological problems stem from an imbalance between the threat-focused systems in our brain and the soothing, affiliative systems. The threat-focused system is designed to detect and respond to potential dangers in our environment, while the soothing system is designed to promote feelings of safety, connectedness, and well-being.

In CFT, therapists work with clients to develop skills and practices that promote the activation of the soothing system, such as mindfulness, self-compassion, and visualization exercises. Clients learn to identify negative self-talk, increase self-awareness and self-acceptance, and cultivate emotions such as gratitude, kindness, and joy.

CFT is often used to treat a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, and disordered eating. It is also used to help people who struggle with self-esteem and relationship difficulties.

Overall, CFT is a compassionate and non-judgmental approach to therapy that emphasizes the importance of developing self-compassion and a sense of connection to others. It can be a helpful form of therapy for people who have struggled with shame, self-criticism, and negative self-judgment, and who are looking to develop a greater sense of self-acceptance, resilience, and well-being.

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