Back to All Events

Compassion-Focused Therapy Workshop

  • NSW Teacher’s Federation Conference Centre 37 Reservoir Street Surry Hills, NSW, 2010 Australia (map)

With Professor Paul Gilbert and Dr James Kirby

Organised by STARTTS (Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors)

for Further Information and to Register (Registrations Essential):

About the Workshop:

This workshop will enable participants to bring an evolutionary framework to the conceptualisation of mental health problems and their alleviation. Participants will learn about how the human ability to have objective self-awareness and self-monitor can be a source of shame, anxiety and depression; how the three-affect regulation system (threat awareness and coping, reward and resource seeking, and contentment and soothing) forms complex patterns within the mind; and how early life experiences can shape the organisation of our emotions and underpin mental health difficulties. We will then explore the two basic psychologies of compassion (engagement and action); the various competencies that support them such as distress tolerance empathy and cultivating compassionate intention for self and others; and how these competencies are used to address mental health difficulties, particularly shame and self-criticism, and to recognise and explore ways of dealing with our fears, blocks and resistances to compassion. Participants will complete the workshop with an understanding of compassion as flow, compassion to others, being open to compassion from others, and compassion towards oneself. The course is designed to encourage the use of practices that stimulate compassionate mental states and those that build a sense of the compassionate self-identity.

 Workshop Objectives

Over the three days, participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of how evolutionary functional analysis advances our understanding of mental health difficulties and in particular the importance of the evolution of attachment, caring and affiliation as part of the human affect motivation and regulation systems

  • Gain an understanding of the 3 system affect regulation model (threat, drive and affiliative-soothing), which informs compassion-focused interventions

  • Be exposed to key compassion-focused skills including the use of the breath and body postures, the practice of compassion focused imagery, the use of compassionate mind training to build the “compassionate self”, employing the “compassionate self” to engage with areas of personal difficulty ,and building supportive social relationships.

  • Gain an understanding of how CFT may be applied to clients with different problems in which there is a non-affiliative relationship with self and/or others (e.g. eating disorders, personality disorders, anxiety, depression, shame, psychosis etc).


$745 Full Fee

$645 Concession

$715 groups 5+

Target audience:

Psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, psychiatrists, social workers, and any other professionals interested in a compassion focused approach to the clinical treatment of mental health issues.

About the Presenters:

 Dr Paul Gilbert, Ph.D.

Paul Gilbert, PhD, FBPsS, OBE is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Derby and is a Visiting Professor at The University of Queensland, Australia.  He was an NHS Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Derbyshire Health Care Foundation Trust until his retirement in 2016. He has researched evolutionary approaches to psychopathology for over 40 years with a special focus on shame and the treatment of shame-based difficulties - for which compassion focused therapy was developed. He was made a Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 1993. In 2003 Paul was president of the BABCP and a member of the first British Governments’ NICE guidelines for depression. He has written/edited 22 books and over 300 publications. In 2006 he established the Compassionate Mind Foundation, a charity with the mission statement “to promote wellbeing through the scientific understanding and application of compassion” ( He was awarded an OBE in March 2011.

 Dr James Kirby, Ph.D.

James is a Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer at School of Psychology at the University of Queensland. He is also the Co-Director of the Compassionate Mind Research Group at the University of Queensland. He has broad research interests in compassion, however, specifically he examines compassion focused therapy and evaluates compassionate mind training interventions. James also holds a Visiting Fellowship at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. He has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles and chapters. He also continues his work as a clinical psychologist in private practice. Paul Gilbert, Founder of Compassion Focused Therapy, and James work collaboratively together on research projects, publish papers and deliver training workshops together.