Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT)

Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) is a therapeutic approach developed to address and alleviate issues related to shame, self-criticism, and low self-esteem. It focuses on cultivating self-compassion and promoting emotional healing by integrating principles from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, evolutionary psychology, and mindfulness.

Key aspects of Compassion-Focused Therapy include:

  • Self-Compassion: CFT emphasizes the development of self-compassion, which involves treating oneself with kindness, understanding, and non-judgmental acceptance, similar to how one would treat a friend in times of difficulty.

  • Three Circles Model: CFT employs a model that categorizes emotions and motives into three systems – threat, drive, and soothing. The therapy aims to balance these systems, particularly fostering the soothing system to counteract harsh self-criticism and excessive self-demands.

  • Evolutionary Perspective: CFT considers how human evolution has shaped our emotions and behaviors, helping clients understand the origins of self-criticism and developing a more empathetic and understanding relationship with themselves.

  • Mindfulness and Visualization: CFT often incorporates mindfulness and visualization exercises to help clients connect with their emotions, cultivate self-compassion, and foster a sense of safety and security.

  • Compassionate Mind Training: Clients learn specific techniques and exercises to cultivate self-compassion, challenge self-critical thoughts, and develop a compassionate inner dialogue.

  • Therapeutic Relationship: The therapist-client relationship is central to CFT, as therapists provide a safe and empathetic space for clients to explore their emotions and practice self-compassion.

Compassion-Focused Therapy is particularly effective for individuals dealing with issues of self-criticism, shame, and unresolved emotional pain. By fostering self-compassion and promoting emotional regulation, CFT aims to improve psychological well-being, increase self-esteem, and enhance overall mental health.

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