February 2016 Tool of the Month

Each month we highlight some practical resources for therapists interested in compassion. Our aim here is to provide a brief overview and offer you a few resources where you can find out more information if these ideas are of interest to you.

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January 2016 Shame and Self-Compassion 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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Collaborative Case Conceptualization with Highly Shame-Prone and Self-Critical Clients

Case conceptualization with highly shame-prone and self-critical clients may often be thought of as case re-conceptualization. That is, clients with high degrees of shame and self-criticism often arrive in therapy with their own conceptualization of their problems, one that is often driven by fusion with the story that they are broken, damaged, incompetent, stupid, or in some way inadequate. For example, the client may state, “I’m not doing anything with my life. I’m basically a failure.” Or they may present self-critical ways of relating to internal experiences, for example, “I just want to stop being sad. It’s pathetic,” or even, “I hate my anxiety.” The goal of case conceptualization is to develop a new viewpoint that that is not based on a critical view of a self that needs to be “fixed.” This conceptualization forms for the core of the subsequent therapy contract. Furthermore, a collaborative re-conceptualization process may serve to loosen fusion with self-related content and begin the development of a new perspective on oneself that is more flexible, warmer, and more conducive to living a valued life.

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January 2016 Tool of the Month: The Self Compassion Scale, Short Form (SCS-SF)

In our previous Tool of the Month posts, we have written about two assessment measures we often give clients who are struggling with shame and self criticism, the Forms of Self-Criticising/Attacking and Self-Reassuring Scale (FSCRS) and the Fears of Compassion Scale. This month we highlight another self report measure, the Self Compassion Scale, Short Form (SCS-SF, Raes, Pommier, Neff, & Van Gutcht, 2011) that is part of our standard package of measures we give often clients at the outset of therapy. This 12-item measure provides a useful overview of how a client might typically respond to themselves during times of struggle. With questions such as “When I feel inadequate in some way, I try to remind myself that feelings of inadequacy are shared by most people.” and “When I’m going through a very hard time, I give myself the caring and tenderness I need.” the SCS-SF assesses various aspects of self compassion including one’s sense of a common humanity, mindfulness, and self-kindness.

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December 2015 Shame and Self-Compassion 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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Use of I/You Perspective Taking with Highly Self-Critical and Shame Prone Clients

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and its related theory of language and cognition, Relational Frame Theory (RFT), outline three ways of thinking about the self.  Self as process refers to the ongoing awareness of one’s experience and the description of thinking, behaving, feeling, and sensing. Self as content (i.e., the conceptualized self) involves describing and evaluating yourself, in the same way one might describe and evaluate an object--as something that has qualities. Self as context refers to the coming together of a set of the perspective taking (i.e., deictic) frames that relate to the ability to observe and describe from a perspective or point of view. Self as context refers to the ability to flexibly shift perspective as needed by the situation. It enables or facilitates many different experiences including empathy, compassion, and self-compassion. In a more traditional ACT viewpoint, this process was often referred to as the “observing self” and can involve contact with a stable, ongoing sense of self that transcends the content of one’s experience.

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December 2015 Compassion Tool of the Month

Each month we highlight some practical resources for therapists interested in compassion. Our aim here is to provide a brief overview and offer you a few resources where you can find out more information if these ideas are of interest to you.

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November 2015 Shame and Self-Compassion 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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Using and Debriefing Self-Report Measures of Shame, Self-Criticism, and Self-Compassion with Clients

A number of standardized assessments exist that may be useful in working with highly self-critical and shame prone clients. These measures can be used for obtaining initial normative assessments as well as tracking change in therapy over time. Some of these measures may even have predictive utility. For example, the hated-self subscale from the Forms of Self-Criticism and Reassuring Scale seems to respond more slowly to interventions aimed at reducing self-criticism, suggesting that highly self-loathing and self-hating clients may need more time in therapy to develop self-compassion. In our practice, we often give three measures to clients at intake and periodically throughout therapy. We typically discuss the results in some detail as part of their ongoing conceptualization. These are the three we give to clients:

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November 2015 Compassion Tool of the Month

Each month we highlight some practical resources for therapists interested in compassion. Our aim here is to provide a brief overview and offer you a few resources where you can find out more information if these ideas are of interest to you.

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