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compassion

Bringing compassion into therapy is about helping effectively, not just about feeling helpful. In this way, science is core to compassion, and the CFT therapist is likely to draw upon any tools that have good science behind them. In fact, a core value of CFT therapists is not ignoring good science. So if you want to do CFT, you don’t have to give up any of the things you already do that work.

Editor’s Note: The following is a Q&A with Russell Kolts, PhD, author of CFT Made Simple: A Clinician’s Guide to Practicing Compassion-Focused Therapy.

Tell us a bit about your journey to learning and ultimately teaching compassion-focused therapy.

By Adria N. Pearson, Ph.D.

When clients get in touch with difficult emotions in session, crying is a normative behavioral reaction. At times, a client’s level of emotional distress may appear to escalate to an out-of-control level.

Notice your reaction to the client’s emotion, even the thought that it is out of control. If you want to control your client’s emotions, notice this urge and reorient to being with the client in that moment, sitting with him or her compassionately.

In therapy sessions, lack of genuine curiosity about where the client is coming from, unrealistic or incongruent expectations, and failure to approach the whole person, not only the pathology exhibited, can significantly impact the effectiveness of therapy. That’s why mindful communication, or interpersonal mindfulness, is so important.

Editor’s note: The following is a part two of a Q&A with Dennis Tirch, PhD, and Laura Silberstein, PhD, co-authors along with Benjamin Schoendorff, MA, MSc of The ACT Practitioner’s Guide to the Science of Compassion: Tools for Fostering Psychological Flexibility. Tirch and Silberstein have collaborated on all responses.

Editor’s note: The following is a Q&A with Dennis Tirch, PhD, and Laura Silberstein, PhD, co-authors along with Benjamin Schoendorff, MA, MSc of The ACT Practitioner’s Guide to the Science of Compassion: Tools for Fostering Psychological Flexibility. Tirch and Silberstein have collaborated on all responses.  

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