CFT for Psychosis
*PLEASE NOTE – Due to unforeseen circumstances this workshop has been postponed; a new date will be announced shortly*
2 – Day Workshop
Date: September 15 & 16 , 2022
Start: 9.30 a.m.
Finish: 4.30 p.m.
People with psychosis often live in a constant world of internal and external threat; whether it’s a voice they hear making explicit threats, a feeling they’re being watched, a conspiracy, or whether it’s just the threat implicit in having their life influenced by outside forces.
What this means, at the physiological level, is that the entire brain-body system that has evolved to process and respond to threats is being constantly stimulated. And, of course, the more this system gets activated, the more sensitized it becomes.
As if this weren’t problematic enough, associated diagnoses like ‘schizophrenia’ carry severe social stigma, and many of those diagnosed will internalise this stigma to experience shame. What this brings is an additional layer of threat, linked to one’s social position or social-rank.
Compassion Focused Therapy aims to help people regulate threat processing by building internal feelings of safeness and affiliation, and by providing contexts, practices and insights that facilitate the development of compassion to self, others, voices, and dissociated parts.
- Workshop participants will be introduced to the CFT model of compassion and how to apply this model in interventions for people with psychosis.
- Participants will learn how to help their clients establish a bodily experience of safeness through, e.g.: i) practice of soothing rhythm breathing, which activates the parasympathetic system; ii) learning to recognise what postures and activities ground and centre the person; and iii) using mindfulness and imagery exercises.
- Participants will learn how to help their clients create the external contexts (e.g. interpersonal and environmental) in which safeness experience can flourish.
- Participants will learn how to help their clients develop a ‘compassionate self’, which is a part of them with the qualities required to explore and engage with their fears, voices, and dissociated parts; essentially, a self-identity that organises the mind and provides a secure base (or grounding) from which to do the therapeutic work.
- Participants will learn how to help their clients use these compassionate qualities and skills to manage internal conflicts and to initiate supportive dialogue between voices and different emotional parts. This is achieved through techniques such as voice dialoguing / talking with voices, imagery, chair work, and letter writing.
Dr. Charlie Heriot-Maitland is a clinical psychologist, researcher, and trainer working at the University of Glasgow and at Balanced Minds, Edinburgh. In his academic work, he is currently researching the application of Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) approaches in both NHS mental health services and in social services. He provides psychological therapies and supervision in a specialist CFT practice (Balanced Minds). He also runs compassion training workshops for practitioners and the general public.
‘Compassion for Voices’ (YouTube link). A 5-minute animated film, accessible on YouTube, which outlines a compassion-focused approach for relating to voices. The film was made by Charlie at King’s College London in 2015, with input from Eleanor, who provided the narration.
Heriot-Maitland, C., McCarthy-Jones, S., Longden, E. & Gilbert, P. (2019). Compassion focused approaches to working with distressing voices. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 152.
Heriot-Maitland & Russell (2018). Compassion-Focused Therapy for relating to voices. In C. Cupitt (Ed.) CBT for Psychosis: Process-orientated Therapies and the Third Wave. London: Routledge
Braehler, C., Gumley, A.I., Harper, J. et al. (2013). Exploring change processes in compassion focused therapy in psychosis: results of a feasibility randomized controlled trial. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 52(2), 199-214.
Gumley, A., Braehler, C., Laithwaite, H. et al. (2010). A compassion focussed model of recovery after psychosis. International Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 3(2), 186-201.
Mayhew, S. & Gilbert, P. (2008). Compassionate mind training with people who hear malevolent voices: A case series report. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 15, 113-138.
“Compassion-focused approaches are some of the most exciting, and in my view promising, developments of recent years with regard to how best to help people who are experiencing psychosis”
Anne Cooke, Editor of the British Psychological Society DCP report, ‘Understanding Psychosis and schizophrenia’
Booking and Payment
Our workshops and training are available to book through payment by credit/debit card. If you prefer to request an invoice, please contact us.
Terms and Conditions
Please note that information about the event and venue are subject to change and cancellation. In the unlikely event that a workshop may have to be cancelled or postponed, we will inform you directly via email as soon as possible via email. We cannot be held responsible for any resulting costs you many incur for travel, accommodation or any other related goods or services.
We will contact you via email prior to the event with any handouts/materials you may need for the workshop.