|“Abide” collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.|
While working on the above collage, I was listening to a talk by Paul Gilbert on compassion focused therapy. He spoke of originally using cognitive behavioral therapy in his psychotherapy practice, but noticed that some of his patients were having difficulties in their attempts to change their unhelpful patterns in thinking, belief, and attitude. The common element in this group was a certain amount of sternness and self-criticism. They seemed to be unable to show kindness or warmth towards themselves.
He talked about the evolutionary and developmental reasons for this harsh inner voice and then explained how Buddhist psychology and neuroscience helped him think about creating more compassionate inner voices, more warmth and kindness. As he put his ideas into practice it seemed that his psychotherapy practice was becoming more effective. His experience is that using compassionate mind training helps people develop an inner warmth, safeness and self-soothing so that they have the tools to successfully work with their depression, insecurities, and stresses.
At about the 32 minute mark in this talk, he guides his audience in some breathing exercises to access the parasympathetic nervous system, and some neutral vs. friendly exercises to help the audience experience the difference between the two. Then he started focusing on compassion, helping his audience find their inner wisdom and compassionate selves.
It was a lovely experience to listen to the talk while working with art materials, highly recommended. I may need to do this some more, practicing a little more self-compassion and art.
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