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What is CFT?

Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) is a therapy that comes from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It is largely built on the idea that the giving and receipt of caring behaviour is a key part of emotional well-being. The central focus of CFT concentrates on helping people to be compassionate towards themselves, as well as providing people with effective ways of responding to challenging situations and the emotions that can arise as a result. Sometimes people have not had a consistent or lifelong experience of giving and receiving compassion (in non-blaming ways) and this can hinder their ability to cope with difficult situations.  Self-compassion involves the capacity to comfort and soothe ourselves, and to motivate ourselves with encouragement, when we suffer, ‘fail’, or feel inadequate.

CFT aims to help people learn to give and receive compassion through different ways:  

 By developing a positive therapeutic relationship that supports the process of engaging with challenges and the development of skills to deal with them.  

 Being open to compassion from others and developing self-compassion.  

 By developing the ability to experience and nurture compassion by creating a feeling of compassion for others. 

CFT has been found to be effective for a number of mental health conditions and is increasingly used to help people to manage a long-term health condition. Here the focus is often on developing ways of looking after oneself in a compassionate and caring way. CFT has also been used effectively to help people who can experience a high degree of shame or self-criticism associated with their condition.