A Foundation Skills program

June 15-17, 2015 | Paul Gilbert and James Bennett-Levy

How many of our clients are deeply self-critical, unforgiving of themselves, and lacking in self-compassion?

The last decade has seen considerable research showing that cultivating compassion has a major impact on emotional states, social relationships and even physical processes. Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) was developed with and for people who have significant difficulty experiencing compassion for themselves and from other people.

This 3 day workshop represents a unique opportunity for Australian mental health professionals to gain a strong foundation in CFT from its founder, Professor Paul Gilbert, and James Bennett-Levy.

The workshop will introduce participants to the basic ideas and interventions used in CFT. CFT draws on evolutionary psychology, cognitive neuroscience, experimental psychology, and Buddhist psychology to offer a sophisticated model for working with clients who have high levels of shame and self-criticism. The model suggests that these clients often come from backgrounds where there were low levels affiliation and affection. In the process, the development of brain-based attachment and emotional regulation systems has often been compromised.

CFT uses evolutionary functional analysis to understand clients’ motivations, emotions and emotion regulation processes. Once clients understand the rationale for CFT, they are trained to use compassion-focused skills. Practicing these skills helps them to develop new ways for emotional regulation and a new sense of self (the compassionate self) that is conducive to their well-being.

Workshop Objectives

Over the three days, participants will:

  1. Gain an understanding of how evolutionary functional analysis advances understanding of psychopathology and in particular the importance of the evolution of attachment, caring affiliation as part of human effort regulation systems
  2. Gain an understanding of the 3 system affect regulation model (threat, drive and affiliative-soothing), which informs compassion-focused interventions
  3. Acquire and practice key compassion-focused skills including the use of the breath and body postures, the practice of compassion focused imagery, the use of compassionate mind training to build the “compassionate self”, employing the “compassionate self” to engage with areas of personal difficulty ,and building supportive social relationships.
  4. Gain an understanding of how CFT may be applied to clients with different problems in which there is a non-affiliative relationship with self and/or others (e.g. eating disorders, personality disorders, anxiety, depression, shame, psychosis etc).

Key references

Gilbert, P. (ed.) (2005).  Compassion:  Conceptualisation, Research and Use in Psychotherapy.  London: Routledge.

Gilbert P. (2009). The Compassionate Mind. A New Approach to the Challenges of Life: London: Constable & Robinson.

Gilbert, P. (2010). Compassion Focused Therapy. Distinctive Features. London: Routledge.

Gilbert, P. (2010) (ed). Compassion Focused Therapy: Special Issue. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy Vol. 3.

Gilbert, P. and Choden (2013). Mindful Compassion. London: Constable & Robinson.

Hackmann, A., Bennett-Levy, J. & Holmes, E. (2011). The Oxford Guide to Imagery in Cognitive Therapy. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Workshop costs

There are early bird prices which are available till about 6 weeks before the workshops. But we suggest you don’t leave it to the last minute – our 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 workshops have been full for some weeks before. For early bird prices, please note that application forms must have arrived at UCRH (fax/email accepted) by these dates.

Please note: our workshop prices include morning and afternoon teas (always very good!) – but do not include lunch for two reasons:

  1. To keep prices down. We hope you’ll agree that the prices are pretty good compared with what most people are charging.
  2. Because our experience is that its good for people to get out of the building and into Byron Bay at lunchtime; a walk on the beach, a café lunch, whatever

Early bird price: $850; Full price $900

Workshop location

All workshops will be held in Byron Bay in the NSW Northern Rivers region. Byron Bay is a world renowned tourist mecca and will provide a magnificent backdrop for our workshop program.

Southern Cross University
Byron Bay Community and Cultural Centre
Level 1
69 Jonson St
Byron Bay NSW 2481

Workshop times

June 15th-17th 2015

Registration & tea/coffee will be from 8.30am. The workshops will start at 9.00. There will be morning and afternoon tea breaks, and a lunchbreak around 12.30. Workshops finish at 4.30.

Getting to Byron Bay and accommodation

For information on travelling to Byron and accommodation please click here.

Workshop application

You can register for week long programs at discounted prices. Head to our Workshop Application page where you can download and fax/post us your application.


Workshop Testimonials