Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is an integrative approach aimed at increasing compassion towards the self and others. It combines ideas from neuroscience, psychology, evolutionary theory and a range of other perspectives to create a unified approach. It was developed to help people with high levels of self-criticism and shame that did not respond to standard CBT. It proposes that we possess three affect regulation systems that need to be balanced for us to affectively regulate emotion; the threat system, drive system and soothing system. Problems arise where systems are out of balance (e.g., where the threat system is overdeveloped, and soothing underdeveloped). Compassion Focused Therapy can be applied to a range of difficulties, and at Spectra Psychology Scotland it is particularly used to help people who have experienced complex trauma associated with high levels of shame (e.g., childhood sexual abuse).

For a more detailed description of this intervention including underlying theory, please visit and