Compassionate Mind Training
Compassionate Mind Training (CMT) was initially developed to improve the mental health of people in psychotherapy; however, it has since been successfully adapted as a model to improve the wellbeing of the general public, and applied to support wellbeing of staff, teams and organisations across a range of sectors (e.g., healthcare, social care, charity, business, and education). In 2015, Dr Chris Irons and Dr Charlie Heriot-Maitland developed and ran the first 8 Week CMT course for the general public. The course built upon the pioneering work of Professor Paul Gilbert and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and was designed to bring many of the ideas and practices of CMT to non-clinical populations. This 8 Week CMT group has now been run in many countries across the world, and with a variety of populations, including: general population; health care staff; social care staff; parents; clinical groups (i.e., people with mental health difficulties); students; teachers.
In this course, we will start with an understanding of why compassion is important. The reality is that we just find ourselves here, in the flow of life, with a ‘tricky brain’ that can cause all sorts of problems for ourselves, our clients, our colleagues and our systems. A lot of what happens in our minds is not our fault, but it is still up to us what we want to do about it.
In the course, we will explore how our evolved minds can be orientated in certain ways depending on our social motives, and we will also consider the research that shows how orientating our minds towards compassion for self and others can bring a variety of positive mental and physical health benefits. We will then learn some techniques and practices to help us cultivate compassion in our personal and professional lives. We will combine exercises that may help us develop compassion to and from others, as well as to ourselves.
For more information about the 8-week Compassionate Mind Training course (Irons & Heriot-Maitland, 2021), see balancedminds.com/compassionate-mind-training-8-week-course.
- Course participants will learn how our minds are naturally susceptible to getting caught up in to negative thinking-emotion ‘loops’.
- Participants will learn about the ‘three emotion systems’ model, and how many of us can get stuck in emotional imbalance.
- Participants will learn what compassion is, what attributes help to facilitate it, what can block it, and how we can train our minds in it.
- Participants will learn that compassion can come in three different ‘flows’ – to others (compassion for others), from others (compassion from others) and to ourselves (self-compassion).
- Participants will develop skills to balance their emotions by developing skills in mindfulness and compassion.
- Hollins Martin, Beaumont, Norris & Cullen (2020). Teaching Compassionate Mind Training to help midwives cope with traumatic clinical incidents. British Journal of Midwifery, 29, 1
- Irons & Heriot-Maitland (2021). Compassionate Mind Training: An 8-week group for the general public. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 3, 443-463.
- Matos, Duarte, Duarte, Pinto-Gouveia, Pettrocchi, Basran, & Gilbert (2017). Psychological and Physiological Effects of Compassionate Mind Training: a Pilot Randomised Controlled Study. Mindfulness, 8(6), 1699-1712
- Matos, M., Duarte, J., Duarte, C., Gilbert, P., & Pinto-Gouveia, J. (2018). How one experiences and embodies compassionate mind training influences its effectiveness. Mindfulness, 9(4), 1224-1235.
- Maratos, Montague, Ashra, Welford, Wood, Barnes, Sheffield & Gilbert (2019). Evaluation of a Compassionate Mind Training Intervention with School Teachers and Support Staff. Mindfulness, 10, 2245-2258
- Santos, L., do Rosario Pinheiro, M., & Rijo, D. (2022). Compassionate mind training for caregivers of residential youth care: Early findings of a cluster randomized trial. Child Abuse Negl, 123, 105429. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2021.105429
Charlie is a clinical psychologist and Director of Balanced Minds. For 13 years he provided psychological therapies in the UK National Health Services (NHS), and then set up a private therapy practice in Edinburgh and London (and online) specialising in Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). Charlie continues to provide supervision, training, and consultancy in the NHS, as well as other organisations across multiple sectors, including healthcare, social care, education, and charities. As a researcher, Charlie has spent several years investigating CFT and the application of CFT for people who are experiencing distress in relation to psychosis. He has authored a number of academic papers and chapters on this subject, has given numerous invited talks, and is a recognised international trainer in CFT. He has co-authored a self-help book for voice-hearers called Relating to Voices using CFT.