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Paul Gilbert OBE

£80.00 in our New Year Sale

Compassion Focused Therapy for a self critical mind

Now available 'on demand' so you can watch in your own time 


Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) was developed with and for people who have significant problems with shame and self-criticism often linked to difficult early life backgrounds. This workshop will guide participants to distinguish between shame-based self-criticism (self-attacking) from compassion focused self-correction. The workshop will cover an evolutionary understanding of the origins of self-criticism, the different forms and functions of self-criticism and their links to shame.

The workshop will look at the underlying fears behind self-criticism, how they differ from guilt and how to address them. Individuals will be invited to take part in a personal functional analysis of self-criticism which provides a framework for working with self-criticism and shame. The workshop will also briefly outline ways of cultivating our inner motives for caring and compassion which are major antidotes to shame based self-criticism.

Learning Outcomes:

1.  Gain an understanding of how evolutionary functional analysis advances client understanding of shame-based self-criticism and why shifting to compassion motivational processing alters the underlying mechanisms of shame-based self-criticism.

2.  Understand and be able to perform functional analysis on self-criticism

Insight into chair work relating to self-criticism

3.   Develop a compassionate approach to working self-criticism

Key texts

Gilbert, P., Clarke, M., Kempel, S. Miles, J.N.V. & Irons, C. (2004).  Criticizing and reassuring oneself: An exploration of forms style and reasons in female students.  British Journal of Clinical Psychology 43, 31-50

Gilbert, P., Durrant, R. & McEwan, K.  (2006). Investigating the relationship between perfectionism, forms and functions of self-criticism and sensitivity to put-down.  Personality & Individual Differences, 41, 1299-1308

Gilbert, P & Simos, G (in press) Compassion Focused Therapy: Clinical practice and applications. London. Routledge.

 For overview on CFT click here

Prof Paul Gilbert, Compassion focused therapy: Welcome
Prof Paul Gilbert, Compassion focused therapy: Welcome
paul gilbert.jpeg

Prof Paul Gilbert OBE

Evolution, Attachment and Compassion Focused Therapy
On Demand



Cognitive behaviour therapists have always recognised that many of our dispositions for certain kind of goals and motives (to avoid harm, to connect with others, develop attachment relations with the young and partners) along with our emotions and ways of thinking, are rooted in evolved mechanisms (Beck 1983; Beck et al., 1985, Marks 1987). This CBT workshop will outline how the evolution of attachment and other prosocial motives and behaviours created brain processes that are central to the regulation of emotion, and prosocial versus antisocial behaviour. The workshop will give a brief overview of CFT and how attachment concepts including proximity maintenance, secure base and safe haven underpin the development of a compassionate mind.   We will also explore the way these three elements support clients' capacity for differentiating different emotions tolerating and integrating different emotions. We will discuss some of the central practices of CFT, which are designed to stimulate these internal physiological systems and create a compassionate mind. Developing a compassionate mind and that self-identity then becomes a central therapeutic aim that is used to address difficulties such as self-criticism, shame, and trauma.

Who should attend:  

Ideally participants will have some working knowledge of CFT 

Leaning Objectives - participants will gain inside into 

  1. How evolution concepts can be applied to therapeutic process 

  2. The nature of attachment theory 

  3. The three major dimensions of attachment theory: proximity maintenance, secure base and safe haven and how these underpin the development of a compassionate mind

  4. How to use these processes to help clients to differentiate between difficult emotions, particularly the big three of anger, fear and sadness 

  5. Using internal attachment process to facilitate empathic engagement tolerance and transformation of difficult emotions 

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About Professor Paul Gilbert OBE


Paul Gilbert, FBPsS, PhD, OBE is Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Centre for Compassion Research and Training at the University of Derby.  Until his retirement from the NHS in 2016 he was Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Derbyshire Health Care Foundation Trust. He has been a practising clinical psychologist for over 40 years. He was a member of the British Governments’ first NICE guidelines for depression under the chairmanship of Sir David Goldberg (2002-2004). In 2003 Paul was elected president of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy. 

Over the last 20 years Paul has been dedicated to developing the evolution informed psychotherapy called Compassion Focused Therapy for which there is now growing evidence of efficacy from studies around the world. He is currently completing the training manual for this therapy. He has supervised many clinical psychology trainees and professionals and contributed to many clinical training programs. He has run numerous training workshops around the world.


Paul has held visiting professorships at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and University of Coimbra (Portugal). He is currently (from 2018) an Honorary visiting Professorship at the University of Queensland, Australia. 

He conducted his PhD during the 1970s on depression at the University of Edinburgh on cognitive factors in depression. His first book entitled Depression: From Psychology to Brain State (1984) highlighted the importance of integrating social and physiological processes into the understanding and alleviation of mental health and social problems. He has maintained that cross disciplinary, integrative focus in his research ever since. 

Publications and books

Paul has written/edited 23 books and over 300 papers and book chapters on evolutionary and contextual approaches to psychopathology and process focused interventions. Recently (2019) he edited a special edition of the journal Psychology and Psychotherapy on the need for integrative psychotherapies for the 21st century.  He has researched and published in a range of areas such as mood disorders, psychosis, problems of emotional regulation, shame and self-criticism and more recently compassionate mind training in schools. 

His latest book Living Like Crazy (2018) explores how our current (post agricultural) lifestyles are very different from the sharing and caring ones of our hunter gatherer early sapiens groups. While modern society offers comforts and relief from suffering particularly by medicine it’s social contexts, competitiveness tribalism can accentuate human (and animal) suffering. He highlights the fact that compassion must not be naïve about humanity but needs to come to terms with its dark side, because humans can be one of the nastiest and most vicious species that have ever existed. Some of this is outlined in the recent talk called compassion for the dark side

The Compassionate Mind Foundation

 In 2006 Paul established the Compassionate Mind Foundation as an international charity with the mission statement To promote wellbeing through the scientific understanding and application of compassion ( He has helped to establish number of sister Compassionate Mind Foundations in other countries. The Compassionate Mind Foundation has now developed compassionate mind training programme for schools and for business. 

The compassionate mind foundation now has developed two other domains of activity. In 2017 the Reed foundation awarded the foundation hundred £106,000 to develop a compassion training in schools. This was conducted both in the UK and in Portugal. Follow-up studies are exploring potential epigenetic changes associated with compassion training teachers.

A second domain of activity has been compassion in business and for leadership. Again the key theme is having a clear understanding of the evolution and physiological aspects of compassion. He on the board of the compassion and politicsorganisation.


Paul was made a Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 1993 in recognition of his book Human Nature and Suffering (1989) and other contributions to psychological science. In 2015 he was awarded the Monte Shapiro award for contributions to psychology He was awarded an OBE by the Queen in March 2011 for his services to mental health. He has been married for over 40 years with daughter and son and still tries to play guitar - but had to give up the leg spin bowling!

Prof Paul Gilbert, Compassion focused therapy: About

A sample of Paul's books

Prof Paul Gilbert, Compassion focused therapy: Gallery

The Nature of Compassion, Fear, Safe Relating and World Change

Paul's recent online lectures relating to COVID-19 

In this series of talks, Prof Paul Gilbert OBE, pioneer of Compassion Focused Therapy and President of The Compassionate Mind Foundation, will discuss how compassion can help us during this time of heightened anxiety and uncertainty, with a powerful vision for the future of our societies.

Prof Paul Gilbert, Compassion focused therapy: Text

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