top of page
An Introduction to Compassion-Focused Therapy
An Introduction to Compassion-Focused Therapy
An Introduction to Compassion-Focused Therapy

An Introduction to Compassion-Focused Therapy

Prof. Russell Kolts

Professionals: $175.00 CAD +tax
Students: $140.00 CAD +tax


On 19th, 20th and 21st February 2024, Dr. Russell Kolts delivered a 6-hour full-day workshop with a focus on providing an introduction to Compassion-Focused Therapy. This on-demand workshop is a recording of that presentation.

Workshop Outline

Compassion is defined as having sensitivity to suffering combined with the motivation to alleviate and prevent it. Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) is a form of therapy that draws upon evolution science, affective neuroscience, attachment therapy, and behaviorism in assisting individuals who suffer with emotional difficulties. Supported by a growing body of scientific research, CFT is particularly suited to assist clients who struggle with prominent shame, self-attacking, and self-criticism, and has been applied to the treatment of depression, anxiety, anger, trauma, and psychosis, among others. Utilizing the purposeful cultivation of compassion, and a host of treatment strategies such as imagery, chair-work, breath-body work, and behavioral and thought experiments, CFT assists clients in shifting their relationship to their suffering from a perspective of avoidance and/or self-attacking to engaging with these challenges from a stance of courage, compassionate understanding, and an orientation toward discovering what would be helpful in alleviating the suffering. CFT approaches utilize, and are compatible with, many other empirically supported treatment approaches (e.g. ACT, DBT, CBT).


The training will include a presentation of an organizational framework for understanding CFT as a set of layered processes and practices that can be systematically trained. It will also present a theoretical model for understanding how to infuse compassion into all aspects of the therapeutic interaction. The workshop will unpack the CFT definition of compassion and explore the roles of the therapist in this treatment. A central part of the workshop will be a presentation of a de-shaming evolutionary model of emotion that can assist clients in understanding and accepting the challenging ways their emotions work. Throughout the workshops, participants will gain exposure to a number of core CFT concepts and practices.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: 

1. Articulate the layered processes and practices targeted in CFT, and how they work together to set a context for the cultivation of self-compassion.

2. Describe the roles of the therapist in Compassion-Focused Therapy.

3. Articulate the forms of compassionate realizations that CFT therapists seek to help clients make.

4. Describe the three-systems model of emotion.

5. Guide clients in exploring the ways that different motives and emotions organize their mental experience.

6. Describe the acting approach used with Compassionate Self work in CFT.

About the Presenter

Russell Kolts is a Professor of Psychology at Eastern Washington University and Director of the Inland Northwest Compassionate Mind Center in Spokane, Washington, USA. He has authored or co-authored scientific articles on various areas of psychology and has authored several books about Compassion-Focused Therapy and compassion, including An Open-Hearted Life: Transformative Lessons on Compassionate Living from a Clinical Psychologist and a Buddhist Nun (with Thubten Chodron), CFT Made Simple, and Experiencing Compassion Focused Therapy from the Inside Out (with Tobyn Bell, James Bennett-Levy, and Chris Iron).

Training Modalities

This workshop will include didactic content, Q&A, and experiential exercises.

Who should attend

This event is suitable for all mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, counsellors, social workers, and case managers.

Continuing Education (CE) Credits

Bespoke Mental Health Canada is approved by the Canadian Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. Bespoke Mental Health Canada maintains responsibility for the program. 
After viewing this workshop, participants will have the option to complete an evaluation form and a workshop knowledge quiz in order to be eligible to receive a certificate confirming the number of credits awarded. This certificate will be sent via email.
Participants who complete this workshop will be eligible to receive 5.5 CE credits.


Professionals: $175 CAD +tax
Students*: $140 CAD +tax
* Proof of student status may be required in order to qualify for a student rate.

Key References

Gilbert, P. & Simos, G. (2022). Compassion Focused Therapy: Clinical Practice and Applications. London: Routledge.

Gilbert, P. (2010). Compassion Focused Therapy. London: Routledge.

Gilbert, P, & Proctor, S. (2006). Compassionate mind training for people with high shame and self-criticism: overview and pilot study of a group therapy approach. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 13, 353-379.

Kolts, R.L. (2016). CFT Made Simple. Oakland: New Harbinger.

Kolts, R., Bell, T., Bennett-Levy, J. & Irons, C. (2018). Experiencing Compassion-Focused Therapy from the Inside Out: A Self-practice/Self-reflection Workbook for Therapists. New York: Guilford Press.

Mikulincer, M., Gillath, O., Halevy, V., Avihou, N., Avidan, S., & Eshkoli, N. (2001). Attachment theory and reactions to others’ needs: evidence that activation of the sense of attachment security promotes empathic responses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 1205-1224.

Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P.R. (2005). Attachment security, compassion, and altruism. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 34-38.

bottom of page