April 2015 Research Update

Every month, we scour the scientific literature for interesting studies that have practical implications for therapists working with shame, self-criticism, or compassion. Below are a few of our favorites for this month:

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Noticing Compassion Daily Reflection

Research shows that behaviors that we track are likely to change as a result of self monitoring. This strategy can be used to develop more awareness of self-critical tendencies and foster daily experiences of self-compassion. We adapted Kristin Neff's self-compassion scale to a daily format that asks people to reflect on their level of self-compassion once per day. This measure can also be used to assess change over time, if the therapist wants to use it in that manner.

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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.

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March 2015 Research Update

Every month, we scour the scientific literature for interesting studies that have practical implications for therapists working with shame, self-criticism, or compassion. Below are a few of our favorites for this month:

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Feeling the impact of self-criticism

People who are chronically self-critical often become numb to the effects of their self-criticism.

Through closely attending to the emotional reaction to self-criticism, people can begin to feel the real impact of this way of relating to oneself. Doing chair work where the critical side is enacted can sometimes begin to elicit the emotional reactions of shame, hurt, helplessness, or sadness that are created by a harsh way of being with oneself. At this stage it's often useful to support the client in developing a sense for the harm being created by self-criticism.  This handout I created (adapted from emotion-focused therapy) can help clients to explore this in their daily life. It guides them to pause, feel, and explore the impact of self-criticism as it occurs in their life. 

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March 2015 Tool of the Month: The Self-Compassion Break

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.

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Healing Betrayal Trauma with Compassion

Last week, The Compassionate Mind Foundation listserv discussed the issue of working compassionately with a client experiencing feelings of betrayal, anger, and shame in her relationship with her parents. This client seemed to be experiencing a pattern typical of survivors of betrayal trauma in which, when she allowed herself to experience any anger toward her parents, the anger would always be followed by beliefs that she was betraying her parents with her anger, and then she would feel shame.

Dr. Russell Kolts chimed in with some clinical wisdom worth sharing about how he would bring compassion to this situation. Here is some of what he said:

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February 2015 Research Update

Every month, we scour the scientific literature for interesting studies that have practical implications for therapists working with shame, self-criticism, or compassion. Below are a few of our favorites for this month:

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Self-Critic Job Description Exercise

Here is an idea for an exercise to help clients defuse from their self-critic. This exercise could also help to assess the workability of listening to the critic. What is the fundamental objective of the critic? Is it actually effective at meeting that objective? Is the critic's objective aligned with the client's values? 

We have created a self-critic job description handout if you would like to try this exercise with your own clients.

Here is an example using my own self-critic.

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February 2015 Compassion Tool of the Month: Wisdom and Love Meditation

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.

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