ARCHIVE – CFTF Compassion-Focused Therapy: Foundations and Applications

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Presented by Dennis Tirch, PhD, and Laura Silberstein-Tirch, PsyD

Course Description

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is a cutting-edge psychotherapy that takes the “third wave” of psychotherapy further by expanding the frontiers of mindfulness and acceptance into a deliberate awakening our compassionate mind. For thousands of years, wisdom traditions have used mindfulness and acceptance methods as a platform to transform the mind through compassion training. CFT puts that process in your hands, drawing on rigorous behavioral psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary theory.

This online course will take you on an experiential journey into the foundations of CFT. Going beyond introductory training, participants will engage in the core Compassionate Mind Training practices that are essential to CFT, through a structured self-practice and self-reflection program. Unlocking deeper practice of mindful compassion can empower our clinical work, and can create new possibilities for us as people.

You will explore a range of topics including:

  • The role of mindful compassion and functional analysis in the therapy relationship
  • Techniques for using compassion training to enhance treatment of anxiety disorders
  • Enhancing mindful compassion in psychological flexibility training
  • Running Compassionate Mind Training groups
  • Using CFT to work with chronic shame and self-criticism

Through this work, you will experience compassionate imagery and meditation practices from the inside out, and will learn how to apply them to practices like exposure and behavioral activation. These methods can complement and strengthen even a state-of-the-art therapeutic approach.

This training is designed to help behavioral health practitioners deepen their understanding and practice of compassion focused treatment of anxiety and mood disorders.

Through small group work and a series of experiential exercises, you will build the foundation needed to advance your CFT skills base, and to grow as a clinician. Not only that, but you will also have your questions addressed by the top thinkers and clinicians in CFT, including the form’s originator, Dr. Paul Gilbert, who will be joining us as a special guest for one of the sessions in this training.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the foundational evolutionary model of compassion, mindfulness, and emotion used in CFT.
  2. Apply the CFT “Three Circle Model” of emotion regulation in clinical contexts.
  3. Discuss and utilize Social Mentality Theory in psychotherapy and in scalable interventions.
  4. Apply the therapeutic relationship to create a context of relational safeness in the therapy room as a part of CFT process.
  5. Outline and implement a CFT model of functional analysis of interpersonal exchanges in psychotherapy, using the therapist’s response to shape client behavior.
  6. Discuss the multiple self model and intervention set in CFT.
  7. Demonstrate multiple chair work in CFT.
  8. Identify and embody the 12 competencies of compassion, experientially training patients in using these elements.
  9. Apply a working knowledge of therapist micro-skills and active therapy processes that can lead to greater flexibility and adaptive responding in the moment.
  10. Demonstrate fluency in collaborative case conceptualization based upon the attributes of the compassionate mind.
  11. Demonstrate a range of techniques that are focused on cultivating the competencies of compassion in the therapy relationship.
  12. Implement compassionate mind training in the service of cultivating the competencies of compassion.
  13. Demonstrate the “compassionate self” imagery practice in helping clients develop compassionate strengths.
  14. Demonstrate a range of CFT imagery practices and introduce them in individual and group therapy contexts.
  15. Apply CFT self-practice and self-reflection methods in individual or group contexts.
  16. Formulate clients’ fears, blocks, and resistances in terms of CFT theory and practice.


Session 1
November 26, 2018, 1 PM—3 PM EST

  • Foundations and Applications of CFT –  Introducing the CFT Model and Self-Practice/Self Reflection

Session 2
December 3, 2018, 1 PM—3 PM EST

  • The Evolutionary Model of Compassion and Social Mentality Theory – Experiential Self Practice/Self Reflection Review, Discussion and Assignments

Session 3
December 10, 2018, 1 PM—3 PM EST

  • The Reality Check, The Nature of Mind, and Nature’s Mind – Why our Suffering is Not Our Fault – Experiential Self Practice/Self Reflection Review, Discussion and Assignments

Session 4
December 17, 2018, 1 PM—3 PM EST

  • The Three Circle Model of Emotions in CFT in Theory and Application – Experiential Self Practice/Self Reflection Review, Discussion and Assignments

Session 5
January 7, 2019, 1 PM—3 PM EST

  • The Twelve Competencies of Compassion in Theory and Application – Experiential Self Practice/Self Reflection Review, Discussion and Assignments

Session 6
January 14, 2019, 1 PM—3 PM EST

  • Case Conceptualization in CFT in Theory and Application – Experiential Self Practice/Self Reflection Review, Discussion and Assignments

Session 7
January 28, 2019, 1 PM—3 PM EST

  • Working with Shame and Self-Criticism in CFT – Experiential Self Practice/Self Reflection Review, Discussion and Assignments

Session 8
February 4, 2019, 1 PM—3 PM EST

  • Multiple Self Work and Multiple Chair Work in CFT – Experiential Self Practice/Self Reflection Review, Discussion and Assignments


For mental health professionals, beginners through intermediate and on to advanced practitioners. The course will be appropriate for clinicians of any background, and professionals with CFT, ACT and CBT training may find the concepts more familiar and readily user-friendly.



Recommended Readings

Tirch, D., Schoendorff, B. & Silberstein, L. (2014). The ACT Practitioners’ Guide to The Science of Compassion. Oakland: New Harbinger

Gilbert, P. & Choden (2013). Mindful Compassion. Oakland: New Harbinger

Gilbert, P. (2009). The Compassionate Mind. London: Oakland: New Harbinger

ACT Practitioners Guide - book cover imageMindful Compassion - book cover image


Kirby, J., Steindl, S. & Tellegen, C. (2017). A Meta-Analysis of Compassion-Based Interventions: Current State of Knowledge and Future Directions. Behavior Therapy. 48-6. 778-792.

Braehler, C., Harper, I., & Gilbert, P. (2012). Compassion focused group therapy for recovery after psychosis. In C. Steel (Ed.), CBT for schizophrenia: Evidence-based interventions and future directions (pp. 235–266). Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley and Sons.

Lutz, A., Brefczynski-Lewis, J., Johnstone, T., & Davidson, R.J. (2008). Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation: Effects of meditative expertise. PLoS ONE, e1897. DOI: 10.1373/journal.pone.0001897.


This training is worth 16 CE credit hours if attended live. While we can only provide CE to those who are present – i.e. logged in – for live presentation(s), all Praxis webinars are recorded for later viewing. Registrants may then access these recordings at any time for up to six months from the conclusion of the training to which they pertain.

Continuing Education
Read more about our continuing education credits—how they work and how to get your certificate(s).

Technical Requirements
This is an online learning event. Access to a computer and high-speed internet is required. Refer to our FAQ page for further information on technical requirements for this training.

Refer to our FAQ page for our disclosure information.

All prices listed in US dollars and times in US Eastern time zone.