CFT-E: Compassion Focused Therapy for Eating Disorders – ONLINE EVENT

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1 – Day Workshop – ONLINE

Date: October 9, 2020

**Please note – in response to the ongoing restrictions associated with Covid-19 we have decided to move this training online.** 

Location: ONLINE

Teaching times:

Zoom Room opens: 10am

Start: 10.00 a.m.

Finish: 4.30 p.m.


This workshop is designed to introduce the principles, philosophy and techniques of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), and how these can be modified and applied to help people recover from an eating disorder. It will introduce a specific approach to eating disorder formulation and treatment called Compassion Focused Therapy for Eating Disorders (CFT-E) and discuss the evidence that supports its incorporation into mainstream eating disorder treatment.

The workshop consists of didactic teaching, role plays and the practise of key CFT techniques (such as imagery and breathing exercises). It is aimed at health professionals who are working, or want to work, therapeutically with people with an eating disorder.

As this is an introductory workshop, no previous knowledge of CFT is required.

CFT-E expands upon the original model of CFT, to incorporate biopsychosocial factors that have been identified as aetiological and maintaining factors in eating disorders, including shame and pride. It also includes specific techniques, adapted from standard CFT, to help clients address eating disordered thoughts, feelings, and behaviours and help them normalize their eating and weight.

CFT focuses on three specific affect regulation systems:

The threat-detection and protection system associated with rapidly activated emotions such as anxiety, anger and disgust, and defensive behaviours of fight/flight/ avoidance and submissiveness. The drive, vitality and achievement system is associated with emotions of (anticipated) pleasure and excitement and with behaviours of approach and engagement. The soothing and contentment is linked with the experience of peaceful well-being and it is also associated with affiliation with and affection from others. It allows us to experience social connectedness and soothing from others or from ourselves.

CFT-E argues that eating disordered behaviours serve a functional purpose in attempting to regulate threat via the drive system. CFT-E expands on the “Three-Circle” model of affect regulation and suggests that pride in behaviours designed to regulate affect may also play an important role in regulating threat.

Often these two systems (drive and pride) then become interlinked, at the expense of developing affiliative focused or self-soothing affect regulation strategies. Thus, people with an eating disorder / disordered eating tend to live in a world of on-going threat where they are unable to access the soothing system (either to calm themselves or be soothed by others). Hence the use of either the drive and/or pride systems to regulate affect (for example, pursuing thinness and taking pride in that achievement) or to try to avoid or numb painful affect (i.e. by engaging in bingeing).

These strategies often have the unintended consequence of creating further distress that in turn leads to vicious maintenance cycles and the escalation of their difficulties.

The Speaker:

Dr Clodagh Dowling works as a Principal Clinical Psychologist at St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS).

Clodagh has worked as a psychologist for 16 years. She has been delivering CFT-E groups for the last 5 years at St Patrick’s University Hospital. Clodagh also supervises and trains other psychologists in CFT-E. She has presented CFT-E research at the Compassionate Mind Foundation International Conference and ran a CFT-E workshop at the International Conference for Eating Disorders.

Clodagh has extensive training in the Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment both in administrating and coding the Adult Attachment Interview and integrates this knowledge of attachment into her CFT-E formulation and treatment.

Previously Clodagh established the psychology service at Willow Grove Adolescent Unit at SPMHS and so has experience using CFT-E with both adolescents and adults. More recently Clodagh leads the development of the first Trauma Programme in St Patrick’s Mental Health Services which also integrates Compassion Focused Therapy for Trauma, Attachment Theory as well as specialist trauma focused models of therapy.

She is passionate about supporting clients in compassionately formulating their difficulties with an attachment and trauma informed lens.


Recommended Reading

Beaumont, E. & Irons, C. (2016) The Compassionate Mind Workbook. Robinson

Fox, J. & Goss, K. (2012) (eds) Eating and its Disorders. Wiley

Gale, C.; Gilbert, P.; Read, N. & Goss, K. (2014) An evaluation of the impact of introducing compassion focused therapy to a standard treatment programme for people with eating disorders. Clin. Psychol. Psychother. 21: 1-12

Gilbert, P. (2009) The Compassionate Mind. London: Constable & Robinson.

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

Goss, K. (2011) The Compassionate Mind Approach to Beating Overeating. Robinson

Goss, K. & Allan, S. (2010) Compassion focused therapy for eating disorders. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 3: 141-158

Goss, K. & Allan, S. (2014) The development and application of compassion focused therapy for eating disorders (CFT-E), British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 53: 62-77

Kelly, A.C.; Carter, J.B.; Zuroff, D.C. & Borairi (2013) Self-compassion and fear of self-compassion interact to predict response to eating disorders treatment: A preliminary investigation. Psychotherapy Research, 23: 252-264

Booking workshops & events:

Our workshops and training are available to book through payment by credit/debit card on our website. If you are unable to pay by credit/debit card please contact us on to request an invoice.

Terms and Conditions: 

There will be a £50 cancellation fee up to 14 days before the workshop, £100 cancellation fee within 14 days of the workshop date. No refunds can be given to cancellations made less than 72 hours prior to the workshop date. We regret refunds for failure to attend cannot be made, but you can transfer your event fee to a future event within 12 months.

Registration and Invoicing

To register for this event and/or request an invoice please email

Please note that information about the event and venue are subject to change and cancellation.

Occasionally, an event may have to be cancelled or postponed. We will inform of you of any changes and cancellations as soon as possible via email.

Unfortunately, we cannot be held responsible for any resulting costs you may incur for travel, accommodation, any other related goods or service or other compensation.

We will confirm the final details of the event, 7-10 days before the start date.

    Virtual Zoom Room Opens
      Session 1
      9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
        Morning Break
        11:30 AM - 11:50 AM
        Session 2
        11.50 AM - 1.30 PM
        1.30 PM - 2.15 PM
        Session 3
        2.15 PM - 3.15 PM
        Afternoon Break
        3.15 PM - 3.30 PM
        Session 4
        3.30 PM - 4.30PM

          Event Detail

          October 9, 2020 9:30 am
          October 9, 2020 4:30 pm


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