Introduction to compassion focused therapy

The course will introduce participants to the basics of compassion focused therapy which is rooted in evolutionary theory and attachment models. Participants will be introduced to the three types of affect regulation system of: threat, drive, and affiliation and how these are implicated in mental health problems.


09:30 Registration/Tea and Coffee
10:00 Workshop starts
12:30-13:00 lunch provided
16:30 Workshop ends


Participants will be introduced to a model of how to define and consider the attributes and skills of compassion. Participants will learn about the two types of compassion psychology “ability to engage with suffering and distress” “wisdom of how to relieve it” . The first part of the day is primarily introducing the model with PowerPoints, group exercises and DVD’s. The second part of the day is personal practice on some of the compassionate mind training exercises.

The first part of the workshop focuses on introducing the evolution and attachment models. This helps participants conceptualise mental health problems in slightly different ways and in particular understand the importance of phenotypic variation. In understanding how we have three different types of affect regulation system this provides participants with insight into the importance of distinguishing different types of positive emotion. Once participants understand the importance of the affiliative emotions in evolution and as threat regulators then it becomes clear of why fear of affiliation and the importance of developing compassion can play a key role in helping people with shame and self-critical difficulties. Participants will be able to address these problems using some of the ideas of the workshop.

This workshop is is suitable for clinicians who have experience in working therapeutically with people.

Learning outcomes and objectives

Participants will:

  • have an understanding of how evolutionary concepts are important to understanding mental health problems
  • have insight into the different types of affect regulation and the importance of the affiliative emotions as threat regulators
  • be introduced to our model of compassion and the two psychologies of compassion
  • gain insight into the nature of shame and self-criticism and how to address it with compassion focusing
  • have an opportunity to practice some compassionate mind training exercises.

Facilitator: Professor Paul Gilbert, PhD., FBPsS, OBE

Professor Paul Gilbert is a Fellow of the Society and has been researching on self-criticism, shame and compassion for over 20 years. He has written 18 books and over 130 academic articles and has provided workshops on compassion focused therapy for 15 years in this country and in European countries America and Canada.

Booking information


  • Concessions: £15 (12.50 + VAT)
  • Psychotherapy Section members: £38 (£31.67 + VAT)
  • Society members: £45 (£37.50 + VAT)
  • Society non-members: £61 (£50.84 + VAT)

Persons eligible for concessionary rates are student members of the Society, graduate members registered under Rule 15.ii (studying in the UK and not subject to income tax), Rule 21 (retired) members, and members who are unemployed. For evidence of unemployment, we will require a copy of your job seekers allowance book.

How to book:

To pay by cheque or request an invoice complete and return the registration form

Please note that we are only able to accept invoice requests more than 6 weeks before the event date.

Online bookings will close 24 hours prior to the event. Call: +44(0)116 252 9512 for availability after this point.

Members of the Society can join the Psychotherapy Section for £15. Membership of the Psychotherapy Section provides:

  • Discounts at Psychotherapy Section events and annual conferences
  • A twice yearly publication "Psychotherapy Section Review"
  • A forum for discussion and exchange of ideas among fellow psychologists and mental health professionals by contributing to the publications and conferences
Wed, 24/10/2012 (All day)
Contact Information: 

BPS Learning Centre

Tel. +44(0)116 252 9925

BPS Learning Centre, Psychotherapy Section