Foundations of Compassion-Focused Therapy

An Introduction to Theory and Practice

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

For thousands of years, wisdom traditions have used mindfulness, acceptance, and compassion-based training as a platform to transform the mind.

Many mental health practitioners have seen how mindfulness and self-compassion training can change people's lives.

But bringing the power of mindful compassion directly into your daily practice presents a real challenge.

How can you translate compassion-focused meditation and guided imagery methods into effective psychotherapy techniques, tailored to the individual client, moment by moment?

Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) puts that process in your hands, drawing on rigorous behavioral psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary theory. Developed by Dr. Paul Gilbert, CFT is a cutting-edge, evidence-based psychotherapy that takes the "third wave" of psychotherapy further, expanding the frontiers of contemplative psychotherapy through the deliberate awakening of our compassionate minds.

This online course will take you on an experiential journey into the foundations of CFT.

Through a structured program, participants will engage in the core Compassionate Mind Training practices found in CFT and learn how to move beyond basic theory, to implement CFT interventions for a range of problems.

You will engage in readings, experiential self-practice, and learn how to apply the science of compassion in and out of the therapy room.

Over the course of eight interactive, webinar-style sessions, you'll learn:
  • The role of mindfulness, compassion and acceptance in effective psychotherapy
  • How to use mindfulness and compassion techniques to strengthen the therapeutic relationship
  • Techniques for using compassion training to enhance treatment of anxiety and mood disorders
  • How to integrate CFT with other evidence-based therapy methods like ACT, CBT & DBT
  • How to run Compassionate Mind Training groups
  • Tools to apply CFT to work with chronic shame and self-criticism
Through small group work and a series of experiential exercises, you will look at compassionate imagery and meditation practices from the inside out and learn how to apply them to practices such as exposure and behavioral activation.

You’ll also have the opportunity to bring your questions to top trainers in compassion-focused therapy, including the form's originator, Dr. Paul Gilbert, who will be joining as a special guest for one of the sessions in this training.

Join this in-depth online course and build the foundation you need to advance your CFT skill base and grow as a clinician.

This 8-week course is Part I of a redesigned and reimagined 16-week immersive, online learning experience in CFT.


Session 1 | March 1, 2021, 1 PM—3 PM EST
From Theory to Practice in CFT – Introducing the CFT Model and How to Move from Concept to Application in CFT
Session 2 | March 8, 2021, 1 PM—3 PM EST
The Evolutionary Model of Compassion and Social Mentality Theory – Experiential Exercises, Discussion and Assignments
Session 3 | March 15, 2021, 1 PM—3 PM EDT
The Reality Check, The Nature of Mind, and Nature’s Mind – Why our Suffering is Not Our Fault – Experiential Practice, Discussion and Assignments
Session 4 | March 22, 2021, 1 PM—3 PM EDT
The Three Circle Model of Emotions in CFT in Theory and Application – Introductory Compassionate Mind Training (CMT) Experiential Practice, Discussion and Assignments
Session 5 | March 29, 2021, 1 PM—3 PM EDT
The Twelve Competencies of Compassion in Theory and Application – CMT Experiential Practice, Discussion and Assignments
Session 6 | April 5, 2021, 1 PM—3 PM EDT
Case Conceptualization in CFT in Theory and Application – Fears, Blocks, and Resistances – CMT Experiential Practice, Discussion and Assignments
Session 7 | April 12, 2021, 1 PM—3 PM EDT
Working with Shame and Self-Criticism in CFT – CMT Experiential Practice, Discussion and Assignments
Session 8 | April 19, 2021, 1 PM—3 PM EDT
Multiple Self Work and Multiple Chair Work in CFT – CMT Experiential Practice, 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. Use 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. Utilize 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. Discuss multiple-self dialogue work in CFT.
  8. Identify and embody the 12 competencies of compassion, experientially training patients in using these elements.
  9. Describe specific therapist micro-skills and active therapy processes that can lead to greater flexibility and adaptive responding in the moment.
  10. Develop fluency in collaborative case conceptualization based upon the attributes of the compassionate mind.
  11. Deploy a range of specific techniques that are focused on cultivating the competencies of compassion in the therapy relationship.
  12. Discuss ways to implement compassionate mind training, in the service of cultivating the competencies of compassion.
  13. Utilize the “compassionate self” imagery practice in helping clients develop compassionate strengths.
  14. Describe the range of CFT imagery practices.
  15. Use CFT experiential methods in individual or group contexts.

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:

  • NBCC – National Counselors
  • NAADAC – Drug & Alcohol Counselors
  • WESPSB – Educators
  • ACCME – Physicians
  • ANCC – Nurses
  • NASW - This program is Approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886825109-7467) for 16 continuing education contact hours.
  • APA - Psychologist: Institute for Better Health, Inc is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education for psychologists. Institute for Better Health, Inc maintains responsibility for the program and its content.
  • NY State: Social Worker, Counselor, & Psychologists


No books, courses or journal articles are required prerequisites for this course, but the list of recommended readings below will help to enhance your experience.


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. Graduate students, coaches and teachers might also benefit from this training.

Recommended Reading

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

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

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


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.

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.

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 up to 14 days before the course or workshop start date, minus an administrative processing fee of $30 for a 2-day workshop or online course, and a $50 fee for a 4-day workshop. If cancelled within 14 days, no refund will be issued, however, a credit for the same amount will be applied toward another learning product, which expires within 1 year. Please email us at to cancel a registration.