Compassion Focused Therapy for Distressing Voice-Hearing and Beliefs in Psychosis

Please check back - future course dates will be posted in February 2024!


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 sensitised 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.

The emerging science and practice of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), with its roots in evolutionary psychology, attachment theory, and neuroscience, may offer a useful framework for approaching some of the challenges of helping people with psychosis, at each of the personal, professional, and organisational levels. 

Key Resource

Compassion for Voices

a 5-minute animated film 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 Dr Eleanor Longden, who provided the narration.