Over the last 20 years, research has found that mindfulness training enhances the effectiveness of therapies aimed at alleviating both physical and psychological problems. While mindfulness increases both awareness and clarity, mindfulness alone is not sufficient to rewire your brain.
With psychological suffering, it is important to regulate our emotions. Compassion focused therapy (CFT) is an off shoot of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). It emphasises the difficulty in regulating our emotions given the way our brains have evolved and current environmental challenges.
With continuing challenges from our modern world and early trauma, our bodies and brains often register threat at some level. We so easily slip into fear, anger, depression or shame. Many of us cope by distracting ourselves, withdrawing or overcompensating via achievement, busyness or various substances and activities (e.g. gambling, shopping or overwork).
Compassion Focused Therapy emphasises kindness, compassion and social connections to regulate our over-stressed body-brain systems. Research shows that compassion alleviates anger, increases courage and resilience to anxiety and depression. CFT draws on the research and theory of Prof Paul Gilbert (UK). There is also a growing body of research from Dr Kristin Neff, Dr Christopher Germer, Dr Richard Davidson and Dr Thupten Jinpa (Standford).