Experiencing Compassion-Focused Therapy for Ourselves

Immerse, absorb, embody, enjoy

Experiencing Compassion-Focused Therapy for Ourselves: a 2-Day Self-Practice/Self-Reflection (SP/SR) workshop

Workshop presenters – James Bennett-Levy & Tobyn Bell


Research over the past 15 years has shown that one of the best ways for therapists to learn and refine their therapy skills is through self-practice and self-reflection (SP/SR) (Bennett-Levy et al., 2015; Gale & Schröder, 2014). This workshop offers participants the opportunity to learn, practice and experience compassion-focused therapy (CFT) from the ‘inside out’: practicing the therapy interventions on themselves and reflecting on the experience.

The workshop is facilitated by two of the co-authors of the 2018 book: Experiencing Compassion-Focused Therapy from the Inside Out: A Self-Practice/Self-Reflection Workbook for Therapists. It is focused on self-experiential learning and participants will be asked to focus on their choice of therapist or personal issues. These issues will be explored via CFT formulation and interventions, guided by the workshop facilitators, and reflected on individually, in pairs and as a group.

The workshop is suitable for therapists from any theoretical background. It will include interactive teaching, practical exercises, structured written reflections and group discussions. It will be assumed that participants have some prior knowledge or experience of CFT, either through attending the presenters’ one-day workshop the day before, or through other CFT workshops or reading or using CFT in clinical work.

Exp CFTIn this workshop participants will:

  • Formulate their own experiences using a CFT framework
  • Undertake key CFT interventions to develop compassion for self and others
  • Use their own experiences of CFT exercises to gain insight into the process and nature of CFT therapy
  • Work with personal blocks to compassion
  • Use compassion to work with conflicts of emotion and motivation
  • Engage in structured reflection to link personal learning to professional practice
  • Gain experience of the SP/SR format to support future development

Anticipated outcomes are:

  1. Greater compassion, empathy and insight into the client’s experience
  2. A deeper, more nuanced understanding of CFT conceptual and technical skills by experiencing from the inside out
  3. Enhanced interpersonal and reflective skills
  4. Better integration of the CFT conceptual and technical skills with the interpersonal
  5. A greater appreciation of the role of compassion in therapeutic effectiveness

Two other things to note. Firstly, the SP/SR workshop has a slower, more reflective pace than typical didactically-focused workshops. It is a space purposely designed to connect the ‘personal self’ with the ‘therapist self’ through reflective writing and group reflections. Secondly, it is a training workshop, not personal therapy. While enhanced self-care may be a valuable by-product, the primary purpose of SP/SR is enhanced skill development.

Key References:

Bennett-Levy, J., Thwaites, R., Haarhoff, B., & Perry, H. (2015). Experiencing CBT from the inside out: A self-practice/self-reflection workbook for therapists. New York: Guilford.

Gale, C., & Schröder, T. (2014). Experiences of self-practice/self-reflection in cognitive behavioural therapy: A meta-synthesis of qualitative studies. Psychology and Psychotherapy, 87, 373–392.

Kolts, R., Bennett-Levy, J., Bell, T., & Irons, C. (2018). Experiencing compassion-focused therapy from the inside out: A self-practice/self-reflection workbook for therapists. New York: Guilford.

Venue: The venue for the workshop is in the centre of Byron Bay:

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

When? August 11-12, 2020, 9.30-5.00

Price: $595 Early bird (by May 31; $645 after May 31)

Packaged together with 1-day workshop (Aug 10-12): $845

5 Day Lighthouse Week Special (Aug 10-14): $1175* Early Bird; $1415 after May 31st

Workshop prices are inclusive of morning and afternoon tea. We have found workshop participants like to have lunch in Byron cafes, so lunch not included.

* If you can, we particularly suggest you consider the 5-day Lighthouse Week:

– It provides deeper immersion and learning of the practices
– We develop a strong sense of community
– And you get to enjoy Byron at a delightful time of year