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An Introduction to Compassion-Focused Therapy

  • Chislehurst Room @ The Women's College, University of Queensland College Road St Lucia, Qld, 4067 AUSTRALIA (map)

For Further Information and to Register:

A Workshop with Professor James Bennett-Levy & Tobyn Bell

Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) is an integrative psychotherapy model that focuses on the cultivation and application of compassion for both self and others. CFT integrates cognitive-behavioural therapy techniques with evolutionary, developmental and social psychology; affective neuroscience; and Buddhist psychology. The approach was originally developed for clients with high-levels of self-criticism and shame and has a growing evidence-base for a variety of clinical disorders and presentations. Practicing compassion has been shown to have powerful effects on physiological, psychological and social processes, specifically in the regulation of threat-focused emotional experiences and the development of a caring orientation to suffering.

This workshop will introduce the core principles and practices of CFT which include an evolutionary functional analysis of emotions, a formulation of threat-based experiences and protective behaviours, the use of compassionate imagery to stimulate soothing and affiliation, and the development of the ‘compassionate self’. Participants will be guided in experiential exercises with a focus on developing compassion for both themselves and their clients. The workshop will also provide participants with an opportunity to formulate and address self-criticism using CFT interventions.

Seats are very limited at this location, so be sure to book your seat now!

(For group bookings please contact AACBT direct on

8:30am check-in on the day for a 9:00am start & we look forward to seeing you at this workshop, the day before we start the AACBT 39th National Conference!

This workshop is suitable for therapists from any theoretical background. The workshop will include interactive teaching, practical exercises, self-reflection and group discussions. No prior knowledge of CFT is required.

Further Details:

In this workshop participants will:

  • Learn what compassion is (and isn’t)
  • Be able to apply an evolutionary functional analysis to emotions
  • Be able to identify common fears, blocks and resistances to compassion
  • Have an experience of key CFT exercises to train the mind in compassion

This event is 7 hrs CPD, and tickets include lunch, and morning and afternoon tea. 


Professor James Bennett-Levy

James Bennett-Levy is Professor of Mental Health and Psychological Wellbeing at the University of Sydney’s University Centre for Rural Health in Lismore. Over the past 20 years, he has developed and researched a self-experiential approach to therapist training known as self-practice/self-reflection (SP/SR). He is Series Editor for Guilford Press’ SP/SR series which includes recent co-authored books: Experiencing Compassion Focused Therapy from the Inside Out: A Self-practice/Self-reflection Workbook for Therapists and Experiencing CBT from the Inside Out: A Self-Practice/Self-Reflection Workbook for Therapists. Previous co-authored books include the Oxford Guide to Imagery in Cognitive Therapy (2011), and the Oxford Guide to Behavioural Experiments in Cognitive Therapy (2004)

Tobyn Bell

Tobyn Bell is a psychotherapist specialising in Compassion-Focused Therapy in the UK. He is part of the training executive for the Compassionate Mind Foundation and is the co-author of the book: Experiencing Compassion Focused Therapy from the Inside Out: A Self-practice/Self-reflection Workbook for Therapists (Kolts, Bell, Bennett-Levy & Irons, 2018). Tobyn has published research on imagery, compassion and supervision, and delivers national and international training on compassion focused therapy, CBT, imagery and supervision. He is trainer, supervisor and program-lead at the Greater Manchester West CBT Training Centre (NHS, UK), and also a trained mindfulness teacher and registered nurse.