Compassion Focused Therapy (Compassionate Mind Training), and Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing.
Compassion Focused Therapy (or Compassionate Mind training) helps people develop, activate and feel certain types of positive emotions. CFT helps people develop emotion focused experiences of self soothing to help regulate feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, fear, disgust, shame and self-criticism. CFT is a blend of therapies including Buddhist insights and congnitive-behavioural therapy and is informed by evolutionary psychology, attachment theory and neuropsychology research.
CFT targets activation of the soothing system so it can be more easily activated by an individual. It focuses on helping individuals feel safe and reassured which in turn can help them feel less self-critical. It helps individuals understand the nature and functions of their shame and self-criticism. It helps people reformulate their difficulties as coping strategies to deal with threat and self-protection, in a non-blaming way. CFT helps people learn new ways of developing self-soothing and self-compassion in order to better regulate their emotions, thinking patterns and behaviours.
CFT was designed to help people who have high levels of shame or self-critical thoughts, who may have low self-esteem or difficulty in feeling safe or reassured. They may have experienced early abuse or neglect and may have had few experiences of feeling safe, soothed, cared for or protected.
Clinical research suggests that some people, especially those who have had abusive or neglectful experiences or few memories of being lovable or safe, have difficulty in self-soothing. People who have high levels of shame and self-criticism often suffer from a range of psychological problems including depression, social anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders, post traumatic stress disorder or may have been diagnosed with "personality disorder".
Whether Compassion Focused Therapy is the treatment of choice for a particular individual depends on a number of factors:
The group is part psychoeducational and part experiential, in that participants will practice the new skills they learn within the group and then will be expected to practice them again at home (such as relaxation or compassionate imagery work). CFT involves a series of steps, including explanation of the model, helping participants make sense of their difficulties in relation to this model in terms of self-protection and threat processing, understanding the nature and functions of shame and self-attacking and learning the importance of developing self-compassion.
The individual will attend a compassionate mind training group once a week for 2 hours. The group session will run for 14 weeks and will have the same attendees throughout the duration.
Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapeutic procedure which uses bilateral stimulation to aid rapid reprocessing of disturbing emotional or traumatic material.
A number of replicated research trials have demonstrated that eye movements reduce the vividness of emotional and traumatic imagery. It is believed that the eye movements induced in EMDR mirror the natural eye movement process and occurs in the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase of sleep, during which information is processed naturally.
The aim of EMDR therapy is to enable the client to recollect the original traumatic material without distress and develop new adaptive beliefs about themselves in relation to the experience.
EMDR is a recommended treatment for individuals that have suffered traumas, sometimes referred to as Big 'T' traumas such as assault or Little 'T' traumas such as constant belittling by family members.
Usually a preliminary consultation will be used to assess whether the individual will benefit from EMDR or would be more suited to another type of treatment.