April 2015 Compassion Tool of the Month: Compassionate Color Exercise

Each month we highlight some practical resources for therapists interested in compassion. We don’t go into great depth about what we find, but encourage you to check them out if you think they’re interesting.

This Month's Find: Compassionate Color Exercise

Here is an exercise from The Compassionate Mind Foundation intended to foster a felt bodily experience of compassion. Some people may most readily experience compassion by focusing on compassionate phrases, others may be more easily moved by sound, others by smell or taste, others by tactile experiences, and still others by visualization. We find that it is helpful to explore these various routes to compassion with clients to determine what cultivates most feelings of soothing, comfort, warmth, or connection. 

Here is the script:

Engage in your soothing rhythm breathing and, when you’re ready, imagine a colour that you associate with compassion, or a colour that conveys some sense of warmth and kindness. Again, it might only be a fleeting sense of colour but when you are ready, imagine your compassionate colour surrounding you. Then, imagine this entering through your heart area and slowly through your body. Or you might prefer to think of colour like a mist or light that just flows though you. As this happens try to focus on this colour as having wisdom, strength and warmth, with a key quality of total kindness. Create a facial expression of kindness on your own face as you do this exercise. Now, as you imagine the colour flowing through you focus on the feeling that the sole purpose of this colour is to help you, to strengthen you and support you. Learning to focus on these experiences can be very helpful. If blocks and barriers arise (especially those linked to ideas that you don’t deserve it in some way) just recognise these ‘distractions’ and go back to focusing on your safe place or compassionate colour. Remember that we are trying to stimulate certain brain areas for you in these exercises – that is the point of the exercise. Don’t worry if your ‘distractions’ seem overwhelming at times, just gently smile to yourself, go back to soothing rhythm breathing, and try to stay with the exercise as best you can.

You can find a document containing the above script that you can print out, along with other scripts, here.

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