The Gifts of Compassion: Understanding and Overcoming Suffering

A Conversation with Stan Steindl

Suffering is a part of life. We can go through all sorts of stresses and strains in life, from disappointments to despair, from discomforts to pain and trauma. Often, the external becomes internal and we get all caught up in difficult loops of our tricky brains. 

Worry, rumination, and self-criticism are uniquely human thought processes, developed over hundreds of thousands of years. Our brains evolved into an impressive and complex organ that helped us to survive a primitive world, and yet today that same evolved brain may attack us with harsh and hostile criticism, sometimes even over the smallest things! 

In fact, critical self-talk is very common. And it flies just under the radar of our conscious mind ― condemning and undermining us with its inner voice. How can we bring awareness and understanding to our own mind, let go of self-blame and feelings of shame, and engage with ourselves from the perspective of compassion?

The science and practice of compassion focused therapy and cultivating the compassionate mind can help! Dr Stan Steindl explains how compassion evolved as a vital part of our nature and thought, and the way we look after one another, and even ourselves. He then shows how to use our compassion as a key to a healthier mental life through a clear series of steps and practices. 

Stan Steindl
Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Stan Steindl is the author of the 2020 book, The Gifts of Compassion: How to Understand and Overcome Suffering. He is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice and an Adjunct Associate Professor at School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Dr. Steindl is also co-director of the UQ Compassionate Mind Research Group. He has over 20 years’ experience as a therapist, supervisor, and trainer, and works with clients from a motivational interviewing and compassion focused therapy perspective. His PhD examined combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder and comorbid alcohol dependency, and he continues to work in the areas of trauma and addiction, as well as having a general clinical practice. His research interests are in the areas of compassion and compassion-based interventions, and especially the role of motivation in cultivating compassion and self-compassion in the context of trauma, shame, self-criticism and clinical disorders, as well as promoting psychological wellbeing.

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