Recording Page: Compassion Focused Therapy in Forensic Practice: An Overview

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.