CFT – Compassion Focused Therapy

A lot of already difficult mental health issues like anxiety and depression also come as a package with shame and self-criticism. It can be very difficult working on the depression or managing the anxiety when the first thought that always shows up is something like, “I am such an idiot for even having this problem”, or, “When you look like/talk like/think like me, therapy won’t work because I am just too weird/too ugly/an impostor/there is something fundamentally wrong with me.” When we are able to harness self-compassion, we start being able to be supportive of ourselves rather than beat ourselves up. When we learn to actually care for ourselves, that is often what makes positive change possible in the first place.

There are good scientific reasons for compassion-focused work in therapy. All too easily, ancient parts of our brains switch to “threat mode” with heightened adrenalin, i. e. anxiety or anger, the fight or flight response which makes it difficult to think straight and act in helpful ways. “Soothing mode” comes with a lower heart rate, feeling safe and at liberty to explore constructive ways of behaviour. Compasion-Focused Therapy (CFT) helps clients tap into soothing mode, i.e. self-compassionate mode which helps with shame, body image issues, feeling a failure and a fraud.