Brisbane Clinical Psychologist, Dr Katie Trickey, explains how Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) can help you to stop beating yourself up, and leave insecurity behind …
Are you struggling with self-criticism and shame?
Some of us have a tendency to beat ourselves up about the smallest thing. We feel ashamed of ourselves, or things that have happened to us.
These tendencies can result from relationships, in which others have been critical and made us feel small; or as a result of experiences in which we have felt different, inadequate or unacceptable.
Very often, these experiences are not of our making. However, the associated shame and self-criticism can cause anxiety and depression, or get in the way of us accepting ourselves.
Learning to Develop Compassion
Developing compassion helps us to navigate emotionally debilitating struggles, and the numerous trials of everyday life. In the past 20 years there has been an increasing amount of research showing how practising compassion can change the way we think, feel and behave.
It is easy for people to misunderstand compassion – as something soft, indulgent or weak. But compassion is actually one of the wisest and most courageous ways of being that we can aspire to. It helps people have the courage to address their most distressing thoughts and feelings, rather than trying to avoid them or managing them in self-destructive ways, and to think how to manage those feelings or problems for the best.
It is often a compassionate motivation that leads people to join the armed forces, emergency services or helping professions. If you think about people who are known for being compassionate – Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi, for example – these are not weak people. Quite the opposite; we remember them for their immense strength and determination to bring about justice and social change, and for enduring suffering along the way.
Whenever we want to help someone with their difficulties, or when we want to find a way through our own struggles, we are engaging with our compassion. The problem is that we tend not to remember to work from this motivation, and instead act out of anger, fear, shame, self-criticism and self-dislike. A compassionate approach can heal our turbulent minds and relationships.
Compassion is defined as: “A sensitivity to suffering in self and others, with a commitment to alleviate and prevent it”,
Compassion requires us to develop certain qualities of mind:
- The ability to pay attention to things that are difficult without turning away from them, avoiding them, switching off or using self-destructive methods of coping;
- The courage to turn towards our difficulties;
- The ability to be caring and helpful through learning the skills we need to help us work on our own difficulties, as well as those of others.
Introducing CFT: Compassion Focused Therapy
Compassion focused therapy (CFT), developed by Professor Paul Gilbert in the UK and Kristin Neff in the USA, is one of the most exciting new therapies to have emerged in recent years.
CFT can help you learn how to approach your difficulties and distress in a different way, to accept and support yourself and others in the best way you can, so that you can achieve your highest potential and a more contented life.
Author: Dr Katie Trickey, B Sc (Hons), MA (Hons), Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (UK), MAPS.
Dr. Katie Trickey is a Brisbane Clinical Psychologist with an interest in CFT: compassion focused therapy and other compassionate mind approaches. She has worked in both London and Australia, and enjoys helping individuals struggling with self criticism and shame.
To make an appointment with Clinical Psychologist Dr Katie Trickey, you can try Online Booking – Mt Gravatt or call Vision Psychology Mt Gravatt on (07) 3067 9129.
- Irons, C. and Beaumont, E. (2017). The Compassionate Mind Workbook. Littlebrown, London.
- Gilbert, P. (2009). The Compassionate Mind. Constable, London.
- Neff, K. (2011). Self Compassion. Hodder and Staughton, UK,