Applying the art and science of self-compassion to day-to-day therapy work.
This lucidly written guide integrates traditional Buddhist teachings and mindfulness with cutting-edge science from several distinct fields—including neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, psychotherapy outcome research, and positive psychology—to explain how clinicians can help clients develop a more loving, kind, and forgiving attitude through self-compassion.
The practice of self-compassion supports effective therapy in two vital ways: (1) It helps clients become a source of compassion for themselves; and (2) it helps therapists be happier and generate more compassion for their clients.
Researchers now understand that self-compassion is a skill that can be strengthened through deliberate practice, and that it is one of the strongest predictors of mental health and wellness. The brain’s compassion center, which neuroscientists call the Care Circuit, can be targeted and fortified using specific techniques.
Filled with illuminating case examples, Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy shows readers how to apply self-compassion practices in treatment. The first two chapters illuminate what self-compassion is, the science behind it, and why it is so beneficial in therapy. The rest of the book unpacks practical clinical applications, covering not only basic clinical principles but also specific, evidence-based techniques for building affect tolerance, affect regulation, and mindful thinking, working with self-criticism, self-sabotage, trauma, addiction, relationship problems, psychosis, and more, and overcoming common roadblocks.
Readers do not need to have any background in mindfulness in order to benefit from this book. However, those that do will find that self-compassion practices have the capacity to add new layers of depth to mindfulness-based therapies such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT),
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: Self-Compassion: What Is It and Why Is It Useful in Therapy?
Chapter 2: The Science of Self-Compassion
Chapter 3: Basic Clinical Principles
Chapter 4: Mindfulness of the Body: Techniques for Building Affect Tolerance and Regulation
Chapter 5: Mindfulness of Thoughts: Techniques for Building Cognitive Flexibility
Chapter 6: Unlocking a Client's Natural Compassion
Chapter 7: Using Compassion to Heal and Transform Suffering in the Past and Present
Chapter 8: Working with Stubborn Self-Criticism and Self-Sabotage
Chapter 9: Special Cases: Treating Trauma, Addiction, and Psychosis
Chapter 10: Overcoming Common Clinical Roadblocks
Chapter 11: Self-Compassion Practices for the Therapist
About the Author:
Tim Desmond, LMFT, is a psychotherapist and student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. He has dedicated his life to creating peace and compassion in the world through meditation, psychotherapy, conflict resolution and nonviolent social change. He travels regularly, teaching mindfulness and self-compassion practices to professional and popular audiences, including Yale Medical Center and the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He lives with his wife and son at Morning Sun Mindfulness Center in Alstead, New Hampshire where he teaches, writes and gardens.