Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is a therapy that addresses the self criticism and shame that can be one of the driving forces behind anxiety, depression and other difficulties. CFT is rooted in ideas from evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, cognitive behaviour therapy and attachment theory.
Often, people who feel a lot of shame and are very self-critical have experienced abusive, bullying or critical influences in their life. These experiences can be internalised and lead to unhelpful cycle of thoughts and behaviours. At the heart of CFT is developing a more caring and compassionate relationship with ourselves. This is done by developing a compassionate understanding of how our mind and body works, including how the brain has developed over time and the different emotion regulation systems present within it. At the core of CFT is learning different strategies for enhancing your compassionate skills through imagery, mindfulness, and compassionate thinking practices.
Originally CFT was developed for people who experienced high self criticism and shame, but research also shows that it can be an effective form of treatment for a wide range of other problems such as depression, anxiety, and low self esteem.