All of us have moments in our lives when we feel down, lost, or overwhelmed.
Even the wisest among us can fall into a negative spiral of self-criticism and perfectionism.
But what if we could learn to be more compassionate towards ourselves?
Here at The Wise Self, we have an effective therapy that can help you learn how to treat yourself with greater compassion and kindness--- and that is our Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT).
CFT is based on the premise that compassion towards yourself and others is essential for well-being. It helps you learn how to relate to yourself and others in a more compassionate way, reducing excessive self-criticism and perfectionism tendencies.
Let’s take a closer look at CFT and how it can help you lead a more compassionate life.
What Is Compassion-Focused Therapy?
Compassion Focused Therapy is an evidence-based approach most often used to treat depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, chronic pain, or any other mental health issue that has an underlying element of shame or low self-worth.
This type of therapy focuses on building skills that allow people to become more accepting of themselves and their own emotions and experiences.
The goal is to reduce symptoms and create lasting change by developing a healthier relationship with oneself through compassion.
How Does CFT Work?
At its core, Compassion Focused Therapy emphasizes acceptance and understanding rather than judgment or criticism.
What to Expect From a CFT Session
A CFT session typically begins with an exploration of your current emotional state, thoughts, and behaviors. This allows our CFT therapist to identify any potential areas of distress or conflict you may struggle with.
The next step is for us to help you understand how compassionate thinking can be used to manage stress or difficult emotions.
We will likely use various techniques such as mindfulness exercises, visualizations, relaxation techniques, or listening exercises to help promote self-compassion and understanding.
During the course of these exercises, we will also encourage conversation that focuses on how understanding yourself better can lead to greater awareness of how certain beliefs or thought processes may be limiting your ability to show compassion towards yourself and others.
Once these initial steps have been completed, your CFT sessions will then focus on developing new strategies for managing distress or conflict in more compassionate ways.
We will likely provide helpful tools such as journal prompts, breathing exercises, creative visualization methods, and even physical activities like yoga or tai chi as ways of practicing self-compassion in daily life.
We may also recommend specific books that explore the concept of self-compassion more deeply so that you can continue learning about it even after therapy has ended.
Key Benefits of Compassion-Focused Therapy
Reduces Stress & Anxiety
Research suggests that CFT may effectively reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
This is because it helps to develop a compassionate understanding and acceptance of oneself and others which can give you the strength to face difficult emotions without feeling overwhelmed.
It teaches you how to cope better with difficult emotions such as anger or fear so that you can stay calm even when faced with challenging situations instead of reacting impulsively or being overwhelmed by your feelings.
Improves Emotional Regulation
Through Emotional Regulation, you can recognize and process your emotions in a healthy manner.
CFT provides beneficial skills for improving emotional regulation, such as mindfulness practices, cognitive reappraisal tactics, and relaxation methods, which are all perfect tools for keeping stress levels low.
Through its focus on self-compassion, CFT helps you become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings about yourself.
This awareness can help you better understand your triggers for negative behaviors or emotions, allowing you to make more informed decisions about how you want to react or respond in different situations.
And by learning techniques such as mindfulness meditation and mindful awareness practices that help cultivate self-awareness and acceptance, you can better understand why you think, feel, and act in certain ways, which can lead to greater self-understanding.
With its emphasis on understanding one's own feelings and those of others, Compassion-Focused Therapy also helps you build stronger relationships with those around you by developing greater empathy and understanding toward others’ feelings as well as your own needs at any given moment in time.
Plus, you can also learn compassionate communication tools that help you build healthier relationships with yourself and others by replacing unhelpful patterns of behavior or communication habits with more constructive ones.
Increased Self Esteem & Confidence
Through the use of "self-compassion breaks," where you take time for yourself regularly to show kindness and care toward yourself, those who practice Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) can build more self-confidence in addition to an enhanced sense of self-esteem.
This enables you to accept yourself--flaws included--without any criticism or judgment so you can feel good about yourself no matter what situation comes your way now or later.
Enhances Quality Of Life
Last but not least, CFT can lead to an improved overall quality of life by providing you with the tools you need to cope with difficult situations in healthier ways than before--ultimately leading to greater satisfaction with life overall!
How To Practice Compassionate Self Care
The practice of compassionate self-care requires individuals to step back from their own thoughts and feelings in order to observe them without judgment or criticism before responding with kindness and understanding.
Here are examples of ways you can practice compassionate self-care on a regular basis:
allowing yourself time for internal reflection
seeking support from friends, family members, spiritual leaders
engaging in activities that bring joy, such as listening to music or spending time outdoors
practicing mindful meditation
engaging in physical activity like yoga
expressing gratitude for what you have
setting healthy boundaries around activities that are not beneficial for your well-being, such as overworking or excessive drinking
taking regular breaks throughout the day
seeking professional help if needed
making small changes on a daily basis toward leading a healthier lifestyle overall
The Wise Self's Compassion-Focused Therapy: A Path to Greater Self-Love