Compassion-Focused Therapy: Foundations and Applications

CE Hours available ( How do I get my CE? )
Dennis Tirch, PhD Founder of the Center for Compassion Focused Therapy, CFT trainer, and author
Laura Silberstein-Tirch, PsyD Director of the Center for Compassion Focused Therapy, CFT trainer, and ACT expert

About This Course

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.


Session 1 | October 14, 2019, 1 PM—3 PM EDT

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

Session 2 | October 21, 2019, 1 PM—3 PM EDT

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

Session 3 | October 28, 2019, 1 PM—3 PM EDT

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 | November 4, 2019, 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 | November 18, 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 | December 2, 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 | December 9, 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 | December 16, 2019, 1 PM—3 PM EST

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

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:
  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.

Continuing Education

Please review complete CE and conflict-of-interest disclosure information prior to registering. This course is jointly sponsored by Praxis CET and Institute for Better Health (IBH) and is approved for 16 CE Hours by the following:

  • APA – Psychologists
  • ASWB – National Social Workers
  • NBCC – National Counselors
  • NY State – Counselors and Social Workers
  • Other State Level Counselors, MFTs, and Social Workers
  • WESPSB – Educators
  • ACCME – Physicians
  • ANCC – Nurses




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 Reading

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.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

We understand, sometimes things come up!

Praxis will offer a full refund to registrants of both live and live-online trainings who cancel their registration prior to 14 days before an event/course. If a registrant would like to cancel their registration within 14 days of the event, no refund will be offered. However, the registrant can elect to receive a credit to be used toward another Praxis event within 1 calendar year.