Compassion focused therapy, developed by Professor Paul Gilbert OBE, is a psychological approach that was originally developed to help people with high shame and self-criticism.
You will study this course via blended learning. This will involve the following:
Two five-day blocks of study at the University. Your first study block is usually held in September followed by a second study block in March/April. The first block study includes the introductory three day workshop delivered by Professor Paul Gilbert. This provides the opportunity to meet others who are working with CFT. The second block study week is exclusively for course participants and is focused on skills development
Weekly live supervision via our virtual classroom, and the opportunity to receive feedback on recordings of clinical work via our secure file transfer system
Regular live lectures/seminars; these will be recorded for later viewing, and will include presentations from key experts in the field of CFT
Rich sources of data and video recordings to study
Use of discussion boards.
You´ll usually need a postgraduate or an equivalent qualification in a psychological health related profession such as mental health nursing, clinical psychology, therapeutic counselling. You will need to be accredited (or working towards) as a therapist. You will need to have access to clients to be able to provide one-to-one or group compassion focused therapy.
The course is designed to facilitate your learning and experience, by creating a balance of theory and practice elements. Assessments also reflect this balance, to ensure your learning is meaningful to your everyday practice. The course also places great emphasis on your own personal practice of using CFT.
You’ll study these modules:
Compassion Focused Therapy 1
Compassion focussed therapy is a new way of working therapeutically that draws together behavioural, cognitive and affect, into a new way of conceptualising client difficulties. High shame and self-criticism are associated with a range of psychological difficulties and recognised to be difficult to help, with traditional therapies. CFT was developed to target shame and self-criticism problems. These individuals often come from harsh backgrounds and find it difficult to feel reassured or safe. CFT focuses on developing people’s abilities to feel inner safeness and self-reassurance as an antidote to self-criticism.
This requires working with specific affect regulation systems. Over the years, various therapies have developed interventions (such as exposure and other techniques involving meta-cognitive processes), aimed at toning down negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, fear and sadness. Recent developments in therapeutic practice suggest that we also need to consider how to tone up and foster certain types of positive emotions.
However, therapists have come to realise that it can’t be assumed that by reducing negative emotions, the positive ones will come on line. Developing the capacities for positive affect, linked to well-being, requires consideration of the type of positive affect that will be the focus of development. Both the theory and practice of compassion focused therapy will be covered in this module. This module is a requirement for students on the compassion focused therapy course.
The module includes the following themes:
Theories of Compassion including Drive, Safeness and Threat
Distinguishing External and Internal Threats
Exploring different types of shame and how shame is linked to self-criticism, threat and safety behaviours
Functional Assessment and Analysis
Formulating problems in terms of threat and safety strategies
Key Therapy skills such as guided discovery, meditation and imagery
Introduction to the basic model: the nature of compassion as an antidote to shame and self-attacking
Key tasks of compassion-focus therapy.
The module is assessed by a 4,000 word case study, which is submitted in January.
Compassion Focused Therapy 2
This module is a double module, it runs concurrently and builds on the work in Compassion Focused Therapy 1.
The module includes the following themes:
Theories of compassion and shame and psycho physiology
Advanced therapeutic relationship and micro skills
Formulating problems in terms of threat and safety strategies with complex clients
Key tasks of compassion-focused therapy with complex clients in practice
Training for self-compassion with compassionate attention, thinking, behaviour and feeling
Compassionate letter writing
This module is assessed using a portfolio which draws together several elements that you will have been working on throughout the year, and includes a video analysis of your clinical work.
Generally people who take this course are already employed as therapists within organisations such as NHS or third sector organisations or are self-employed therapists. Developing knowledge and skills in CFT is seen as a valuable addition to their practice.
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