Compassion Focused Therapy in Forensic Practice: An Overview

Hosted by: David Prescott, LICSW, ATSA-F
Guest Speakers: Kerensa Hocken and Jon Taylor

Recorded on: July 6, 2023
Length: One Hour

Originally pioneered by Paul Gilbert in the UK, compassion focused therapy (CFT) is an integrated, multi-modal approach to treatment that draws from evolutionary, social, developmental, and Buddhist psychology as well as neuroscience. CFT arose from an array of observations, including that people with high levels of shame and self-criticism can have enormous difficulty in being kind or compassionate toward others and even towards themselves (Gilbert, 2009). Further, practitioners realized that shame and self-criticism often result from trauma and adverse childhood experiences. CFT therefore dovetails effectively with other forms of trauma-informed care.

CFT is gaining currency in forensic practice and can be helpful in working with people who have committed acts of violence. Research has identified compassion, on its own, as an important element of treatment in psychotherapy and in well-known approaches such as motivational interviewing. CFT goes beyond other established approaches through its bio-psycho-social theoretical underpinnings and its focus on building the client’s capacity for compassion. 

In this webinar, Drs. Hocken and Taylor will discuss CFT and how it can be helpful in working with clients in the criminal justice system.

Kerensa Hocken
Registered Forensic Psychologist, Safer Living Foundation

Dr. Kerensa Hocken is a registered forensic psychologist. She has worked with people convicted of sexual offences for 20 years and has responsibility for the strategic development of custodial sexual offending services in the Midlands region of the UK. In 2016 she was the winner of the prestigious Butler Trust award for excellence in correctional services, presented by Princess Anne. Kerensa is a trustee and co-founder of the Safer Living Foundation (SLF), a charity to prevent sexual abuse by working with those who have offended or are at risk of, committing a sexual offence. Kerensa is a member of the Compassionate Mind Foundation and cofounder of the CFT forensic special interest group.

Jon Taylor
Consultant Forensic Psychologist and Psychotherapist, Private Practice

Dr. Jon Taylor is a consultant forensic psychologist and psychotherapist who has worked in range of prison, secure hospital, and community forensic settings for almost 30 years. With a keen interest in developing a rich understanding of the role of trauma in the lives of those who develop offending behaviors, Jon is committed to promoting and modelling a compassionate and co-operative approach to all aspects of forensic service provision. Jon is a member of the Compassionate Mind Foundation and cofounder of the CFT forensic special interest group.

Comments 1

  1. Thank you for providing the free recording as I reside in Melbourne Australia and do not relish the early start. I have read a great deal of your work and am implementing some of this work into a Restorative Justice Group program for forensic populations. I have meshed CFT with the Power Threat Meaning Framework as a means for people to share their stories of harm with self-compassion

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