The Compassion-focused approach and Integration

A brief guide to CFT, CMT and Integration

Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) was founded by Professor Paul Gilbert (a Psychologist based at the University of Derby). When working with clients, Paul noticed that the nature of their intense self-criticism often appeared to exacerbate some of their mental health problems so he became determined to find ways of working with this. He also noticed that  many of the people he was working with understood the 'logic' of some of the therapeutic interventions being used but experienced no change in their 'emotions'. CFT developed as a way of addressing both of these issues. Paul took an Integrative approach and combined elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Buddhist Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology, Neuroscience and Attachment Theory to develop CFT. At the heart of the approach is also the development of a secure therapeutic relationship based upon warmth and compassion. Although it was originally designed for people with high levels of shame and self-criticism, CFT has now been applied (with good outcomes) to treat a range of mental health difficulties.

Compassionate Mind Training (CMT) involves helping people to understand about the nature of our minds (psycho-education) and the introduction of specific practices which are aimed at reducing stress and enhancing well-being (such as breathing, mindfulness and imagery-based exercises).  CMT is not therapy and can be taught in larger groups to people interested in this approach. CMT is now being introduced in a variety of settings including within schools, universities, businesses and with the general public.