Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT)

Compassion Focussed Therapy in Stirling is delivered by Dr. Louise Richards


CFT can be helpful for those who experience high levels of self-criticism and shame. People who experience these difficulties tend to find it difficult to show compassion, self-soothe or be kind to themselves. Compassion in this context refers to elements such as warmth, kindness, empathy, non-judgement, wisdom and taking responsibility. It does not mean ‘being nice to yourself’, or ‘letting yourself off the hook’. Indeed sometimes the compassionate thing to do may in fact be the harder thing to do.

CFT can also be useful for those who have undergone CBT in the past, who despite being able to generate alternative, more helpful ways of thinking, still find that they ‘feel’ the same and don’t believe the alternative thoughts which they generate.

CFT theory explains that when someone is experiencing self-criticism their ‘threat’ system is activated which is designed to protect us, but often produces a ‘false alarm’. This system is designed to be wrong much of the time in a ‘better safe than sorry’ mode to ensure optimum safety. However, sometimes this system becomes even more overly sensitive due to our experiences or inherited tendencies which can lead to difficulties such as low self-esteem and depression, as the self-criticism becomes overwhelming.






CFT is a skills based therapy designed to increase an individual’s capacity to self-soothe in order to balance out the over active threat system. Skills are based on a mindfulness based breathing exercise and include the use of imagery, compassionate thinking and compassionate behaviour. CFT has been used to help people suffering from a variety of problems, for example depression, anxiety and eating disorders.