An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Mindfulness and Compassion-Focused Therapy
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), also known as Compassionate Mind Training, and has been developed to help people who experience high levels of shame and self-criticism. For centuries the importance of compassion has been emphasised, for example, the Dalai Lama (1995; 2001). Compassion has now been refined and developed into western psychological science (Gilbert, 2000; 2005; 2009; Davidson, 2002 & Neff 2003). One of the aims of this therapy is to help increase awareness and understanding of the automatic reactions we experience, exploring how these have evolved over millions of years and also learnt from our early personal experiences. It also aims to help the individual to care for themselves and their well being, to acknowledge their needs for self-nurturance, and extend warmth and understanding to ourselves.
Dr Stevens has used CFT in a number of setting and with a number of client groups, for example, eating disorders, trauma, anxiety, depression, brain injury and deliberate self-harm. She has used it in groups and in individual therapy since 2007 after attending training with Paul Gilbert and attending group supervision with Paul Gilbert.
Mindfulness is a particular for of awareness which originates from Asia, where the practices have been part of the Buddhist culture for Millennia. Dr Kabat-Zinn refined these techniques for use in a more medical setting. Initially mindfulness was used for stress reduction, pain management and chronic illness. Mindfulness is increasingly being employed to alleviate a variety of psychological and physical conditions.
Dr Stevens has used mindfulness in the treatment of anorexia nervosa, anxiety, depression, deliberate self-harm, pain management and binge eating. She has used mindfulness on a regular basis in her clinical work since 2007 following training at Oxford.
During the morning, Dr Stevens will explore Mindfulness, its concept and the different areas this approach has been used, including the research evidence. This session will also explore how we would use a mindfulness approach with our clients. After lunch, Compassionate-Focused Therapy session will be introduced and this approach's link to mindfulness meditation. It will also explore the different areas CFT has been used and the research evidence for its effectiveness. This session will then introduce how this approach can be implemented.