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Compassion-Focused Therapy: The Benefits & Science Behind It

By July 2, 2021July 13th, 2021Psychology

The Benefits of CFT & The Science Behind It

The United States is a country that is no stranger to turmoil and disease. Millions of people are struggling with thoughts and feelings of hopelessness, anger, resentment, depression, and fear. This is where CFT can come to save the day!

The rate of anxiety disorders has skyrocketed to levels that we have never seen before. It is no longer just the problems that our society faces on an individual level; it is now a problem for our society as a whole.

What is CFT

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) was developed by Dr. Paul Gilbert over 40 years ago to help individuals overcome their difficulties more quickly and successfully than traditional therapies do. CFT’s research-based approach involves understanding how to focus on compassion instead of self-criticism or anger towards others when they experience difficult emotions like shame or sadness. This allows individuals to work through their difficulties more easily and quickly.


What is CFT used for

CFT can be used for a variety of issues, including anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks; depression, anger management problems, or people who are struggling with low self-esteem. CFT has been shown in research not only to help individuals overcome these struggles but also helps them have better relationships with others as well.


What are the benefits of CFT

The benefits of using Compassion Focused Therapy include: overcoming negative thoughts about oneself faster than traditional therapy methods do, mental health improvements such as reduced levels of shame/guilt, fewer feelings of depression or hopelessness, higher self-esteem; it can improve interpersonal relationships by increasing one’s ability to connect emotionally and empathize which means they’re more like to be able to tolerate and work through conflict.

The Science Behind CFT

CompassionFocused Therapy is grounded in neuroscience research, which suggests that our brains are wired to be compassionate.  It is a therapeutic approach that helps people identify and then work on compassionate responses to their own personal struggles.

Scientists are beginning to understand the brain as an organ that has evolved over time in order for us to better understand our behavior with others as well. Our brains are also wired so we can feel compassion towards ourselves when struggling with difficult feelings such as shame or guilt. This wiring is what Compassion Focused Therapy seeks to utilize by helping individuals develop skills around self-compassion. This happens through mindfulness practices and other techniques which help them reconnect with more understanding of themselves instead of feeling disconnected from their experience like many do during times of hardship. Research shows this method may be used alongside traditional therapy approaches (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) but is not yet unclear which method is more effective.

CFT’s Three Systems

CFT proposes that human beings have three systems for managing their emotional states. Each system has different motivations, the focus of attention, thoughts, emotions, and body feelings. Each system is associated with different parts of the brain, and with different neurochemistry.

The three systems are called the Threat system (or Yes-No system), which is in charge of our fight or flight response when we feel threatened; the Drive system (or Thought/Talk system), which operates largely on messages coming from others and that often leads to self-criticism; and finally, the Care-Giving system (or Empathy to Distress system), which is the most used system and it operates on feelings of empathy.

Each person may be more or less sensitive to one system over another. For example, a person who has been abused in childhood might have shut down their “Yes-No System” because they had learned that fighting back was not an option. As a result, the person may be highly sensitive to messages from others and thus overly critical of themselves.

CFT helps people understand that thoughts are not facts and they can have different perspectives on things. The goal is for the individual to find their own balance between all three systems so they feel safe in their world again.

In order to understand and treat the three systems, it’s important for everyone to be aware of their own system preferences. People may find themselves drawn to one over another based on previous life experiences or personal values.


Research says

The research behind Compassion Focused Therapy is that people who are more empathetic are happier in general and have lower stress. Focusing our mindful awareness on the idea that our thoughts do affect the outcome of our lives so kindness is the way to go.

If you are an empath or a highly sensitive person, this type of therapy can be great. It has been shown to reduce anxiety levels and depression symptoms because it is rooted in compassion. This is where it is different from other cognitive therapies in the sense of processing all events through the lens of compassion. CFT focuses on working to understand a perspective of positively learning from the past self.

What does CFT consist of

CFT consists of various exercises and practices to help people develop their self-compassion skills. Such as; Self Awareness Practice, Experiential Exercise, Guided Imagery, Focusing the Compassionate Self on Others, and more.

These exercises help people understand themselves better. It helps people learn how to be kinder towards themselves. This is a much more sustainable way to manage emotional difficulties. It also focuses on the idea of self-compassion as opposed to shame, blame, or guilt. The individual works with the awareness exercises. They then begin to examine their unhealthy beliefs like in other therapies such as CBT, REBT, and DBT. They gradually learn to accept themselves as they are, including all their flaws.


CFT is not necessarily a stand-alone treatment. It has been shown in research to be most effective when used alongside other therapies. This is why Satori incorporates CFT exercises alongside DBT, CBT, and REBT.

The goal of CFT for people who use it to allow compassion to flow through them. Ultimately to create a more compassionate society.

Ensure you have the right tools and spiritual approach for retraining your brain. You have the power to transform your life and habits significantly. Satori is here to set the stage with what is right for you. Join us for a free trial of our latest course here!