Compassion Focused Therapy
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is a therapeutic framework focused on compassion.
Self Criticism and Shame
There is a close connection between psychological challenges, and self criticism and shame. It can seem completely natural for us to want to remove difficult thoughts and feelings as they arise. At the same time, we can start blaming ourselves that we feel, think and act the way we do.
Unfortunately, these tendencies that seem automatic can intensify and prolong what it is we want to get rid of. They can also slowly start influencing various areas of our lives, taking it in a direction that is not the direction we wish to take. Thus, we can feel stuck and unable to see what we can do in order to get better.
Compassion In Therapy
CFT focuses on activating one of our emotion regulation systems; the one that has to do with nurture, attachment and soothing. Working with compassion and this system has shown to be helpful in terms of many psychological challenges, among others addictions, stress, anxiety and depression.
Having self-compassion means that we have a kind attitude towards ourselves, also when experiencing challenges. In other words, we treat ourselves with kindness whether we are feeling joy, anger or pain. We treat ourselves with kindness whether we achieve what we had set out to do or not. As opposed to empathy, compassion has shown to work like a “buffer” against reaching the state we call “burnout”.
When we are working with compassion, we can make use of attention training, breathwork and visualizations, among others. What is being trained in and between sessions is not just helpful in terms of the challenges that are experienced right now. Self-nurturing, the ability to self-soothe as well as the experience of connectedness will also be of great benefit in terms of dealing with the challenges that are to come in the future.