Compassion Focused Therapy. Clinical Applications and Scientific Frontiers

Thursday 01, Friday 02, Saturday 03, Sunday 04 December 2022

After the success of the Compassionate Summit 2021, a 2nd edition arrives even richer in contents, practices and experiences!

The Compassionate Summit, now at its second edition, is an online event entirely dedicated to Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and its many applications in the clinical and research field.

CFT was developed by Prof. Paul Gilbert, a world renowned psychotherapist and researcher engaged for years in the scientific research on shame and self-criticism, trans-diagnostic elements of many psychological disorders. Thanks to a growing body of research data, CFT has become one of the most promising and effective therapeutic approaches for the treatment of serious psychopathologies including psychosis and eating disorders.

CFT adopts an evolutionary and bio-psycho-social perspective of psychopathology and its maintenance based on the imbalance of three emotional regulation systems in our brains: the threat, stimulus-seeking, and connection and safety systems – safeness.

It proposes a process of change (through rebalancing the emotional systems) that occurs through the activation and “training” of an innate motivational system (compassion, both for oneself and for others), which has been the focus of numerous neuroscience and psychophysiology studies for years for its positive effects on emotional regulation, self-criticism, our ability to mentalize, and even on our immune and cardiovascular systems.

We wish to gather the world’s leading experts and researchers in CFT and Compassionate approaches to share their research data, clinical vignettes, meditation practices, the various clinical applications of CFT with different clinical populations and in combination with other powerful therapeutic approaches (Compassion Focused EMDR, Compassion Focused Chairwork…).
Our aim is to create a network of clinicians who can integrate the principles of CFT in their own work and pave the way towards new applications of CFT.

The Compassionate Summit 2022 will be even more international, full of tools and clinical practice that can be used immediately, with many spaces for meditation and sharing between researchers and clinicians from different countries.

The summit will span over four days and begin with an introductory workshop in CFT led by Prof. Paul Gilbert and Dr. Nicola Petrocchi and Dr. Hannah Gilbert, designed to provide every participant with the basic knowledge needed to appreciate and further delve into the specific applications of CFT.
The following two days will be dedicated to talks and experiential workshops which will give participants the chance to keep up to date with the theoretical and practical applications of CFT to promote wellbeing (through a bio-psycho-social lens) and treat different clinical disorders.
The final day of the summit will all be dedicated to research: a call for papers will be addressed to the academic community so as to collect the most promising studies in CFT and give researchers an opportunity to present their data to a wide audience of clinicians.

The Compassion Focused Therapy Summit is open to all psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, counselors, coaches, mindfulness teachers and practitioners, teachers of yoga or movement, teachers, educators, managers, group leaders, students of psychology and medicine, who are interested in bringing a compassionate approach to their work.

Vision and Values ​​of the Compassionate Summit

The Compassionate Summit was born with a deep and shared desire: to see compassion be at the forefront of any therapeutic approach, to empower and support clinicians, coaches, counselors, mindfulness and yoga teachers, healthcare providers, patients and in general human beings, to give them a chance to be sustained by the wisdom of a compassionate approach, especially as the challenges we face as humanity become increasingly complex.

We imagine a world where the sufferings and difficulties we face in our personal and professional lives can be met with wisdom, tenderness and courage, where they can become a motive for communion rather than separation, where they can bring growth and commitment to action.

The Compassionate Summit wants to represent a spark in this direction, an opportunity to give space to those professionals who are engaged in the research and practice of Compassion Focused Therapy. We wish to learn and be inspired from their experience, letting them guide us in our own exploration of compassion and spreading their insight.

The Compassionate Summit is jointly organized by Compassionate Mind Italia and Formazione Continua in Psicologia.

Compassionate Mind Italia is a nonprofit association founded by Dr. Nicola Petrocchi, Ph.D., to bring forth the mission of the English Compassionate Mind Foundation, founded by Prof. Paul Gilbert. It aims to spread the practice, training and research of Compassion Focused Therapy in Italy. As such, it is the only Italian association to guarantee the same criteria and training standards as the English Compassionate Mind Foundation.

Nicola Petrocchi is an active member of the English foundation, is a member of the English research committee and has been collaborating for more than 10 years with Prof. Gilbert in research projects on the effectiveness of CFT.


Paul Gilbert
Psychotherapist; founder of Compassion Focused Therapy; Prof. at the University of Derby, UK.

Nicola Petrocchi
Psychotherapist; founder and president of Compassionate Mind Italia; international trainer; Prof. at John Cabot University, Rome. 

Hannah Gilbert
PhD; medical anthropologist and lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Chris Irons
Clinical Psychologist, researcher, writer and trainer specializing in Compassion Focused Therapy. Co-director of Balanced Minds.  

James Kirby
Clinical psychologist; co-director of the Compassionate Mind Research Group; Prof. at Queensland University, Australia.

Angela Kennedy
Clinical Psychologist, specializing in the treatment of trauma; she has been a forerunner of developing trauma informed approaches to mental health in England.

Jon Taylor
Consultant forensic Psychologist and Psychotherapist; member of the Compassionate Mind Foundation and cofounder of the CFT forensic special interest group.

Kerensa Hocken
Registered forensic Psychologist; co-founder of the Safer Living Foundation (SLF); member of the Compassionate Mind Foundation and cofounder of the CFT forensic special interest group.

Stan Steindl
Clinical Psychologist; Adjunct Associate Professor at School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia. He is also co-director of the UQ Compassionate Mind Research Group.

Marcela Matos
Clinical Psychologist; faculty research fellow at the Centre for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (CINEICC), University of Coimbra, in Portugal; Chair of the Mind Portugal.

Deirdre Fay
LICSW, with decades of experience exploring the intersection of trauma, attachment, yoga and meditation.

Kate Lucre
Psychotherapist; supervisor specialized in the application of CFT to complex trauma; international trainer.

Dennis Tirch
Founding Director of The Center for CFT in New York; President of The Compassionate Mind Foundation, USA; Past-President and Fellow of The Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) and an Associate Clinical Professor at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

Laura Silberstein
Director of The Center for CFT in New York and board member of the Compassionate Mind Foundation, USA; founding member and Past President of the Women of ACBS SIG.

Darcy Harris
R.N., R.S.W., M.Ed. (Couns.), Ph.D., FT; Professor of Thanatology at King’s University College in London, Canada; faculty member of the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition.

Cristina Ottaviani
Licensed cognitive-behavioural Psychotherapist; Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome; Clinical and Health Psychology PsyD and PhD in Clinical and Experimental Psychology.

Beatrice Baldi
Graduated in Psychology; Yoga Trainer 500H RYT certified, specializing in Yoga Therapy; First level trainer in Compassion Focused Therapy; Certified in Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness.


Russell L. Kolts
PhD, Professor of Psychology at Eastern Washington University. Internationally recognized trainer in compassion-focused therapy (CFT).

Anna Rita Verardo
Psychologist and Psychotherapist, graduated from La Sapienza University of Rome, certified Trainer of the EMDR Europe association for adults, children and adolescents, member of the European committee for the application of EMDR to children and adolescents.


Thursday 01 December 2022 (Italian Time)

To know the exact time in your country, use this link 

Enter your city in the box on the left and the Italian time in the box on the right to check the exact time in your city!

The basics of Compassion Focused Therapy and working with depressed brain states

2.30pm-6.00pm Paul Gilbert, Nicola Petrocchi

Compassion focused therapy is rooted in an evolutionary understanding of the origins of our mental functions and in particular motives, emotions, competencies and behaviours. Central to human well being has been the motivation for caring particularly but not only in early life which is linked to various physiological processes. CFT helps clients to harness this motivational system when engaging in various therapeutic processes. This workshop will explore the basis of compassion focused therapy and how to use it in working with people who are depressed.

We will explore the basic conceptual framework of CFT in terms of basic motives, emotional regulation systems cognitive competencies and behaviours, as well as the link between the evolution of caring behaviour particularly but not only via attachment and the cultivation of a compassionate mind. We will experience the practises for the development of a compassionate mind and self identity and understand how to apply compassion focused therapy principles for people with depressed brain states.

Friday 02 December 2022 (Italian Time)

To know the exact time in your country, use this link 

Enter your city in the box on the left and the Italian time in the box on the right to check the exact time in your city!

Compassion Focused Parenting

9.30am-10.30am – James Kirby

In this talk I will be presenting on the importance of compassionate motivation and how it relates to parenting and creating warm, positive and secure relationships with children. I will discuss the aims of a compassion-focused parenting approach, as well as data that has examined the links between compassion and parenting styles and child outcomes. Finally, I will present data on Compassionate Mind Training interventions that have been conducted with parents to help with self-criticism, to help mothers who experience birth trauma and/or difficulties breastfeeding, as well as to help co-parenting teams between grandparents and parents.

CFT For Emotion Regulation

10.45am – 11.45am – Chris Irons

In this talk I’ll outline how CFT can play a powerful role in helping to increase emotion regulation skills. We’ll also explore a model of emotion regulation that can be used as part of CFT to guide therapists and clients on how to assess, formulate and work with emotion regulation difficulties.

Bringing a compassion focused lens to EMDR processing

12.00pm – 1.00pm – Angela Kennedy, Nicola Petrocchi, Anna Rita Verardo

EMDR is a structured and effective method for processing traumatic memories that is based on the use of bilateral stimulation. Although this technique is evidence-based for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD ), more and more evidence emphasizes the influence of interpersonal (patient-therapist) and intra-personal (self-criticism and shame that the patient experiences in the course of therapy) relational processes on the outcome of the intervention. For the patient to feel safe, all social mentalities must function harmoniously.
Through this experience, which has, precisely, a corrective function, it is possible to make the patient understand how his or her symptoms stem from dysfunctional learning, overwhelming emotions and particular physical sensations.
Understanding the harmonious or disharmonious functioning of social mentalities is of fundamental importance for a thorough understanding of the clinical case and will allow for more effective therapeutic intervention according to the shared goal.
In this session we will look briefly at the specific themes of Compassion Focused Therapy that might help us address shame and trauma memories in a productive way in EMDR. This session will look at the role of positive emotion and attachments in healing and growth and explore a different language that engages people with shame/ relational based trauma. The session will outline one potential way of integrating these practices into EMDR, illustrating this with examples.

Compassion Forensic Practice & Trauma Informed Interventions

2.00pm – 3.45pm – Jon Taylor, Kerensa Hocken

This introduction to the forensic application of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) begins with a compassionate understanding of the origins of harmful behaviour. It outlines key considerations in applying CFT to those who commit serious offences including an approach to case formulation that is based on trauma sensitivity and draws on a compassionate understanding of the difficulties that can emerge from the survival strategies that human beings deploy under adversity and their links to criminogenic need. This workshop will outline the importance of attending to shame and self-criticism in understanding and working with harmful behaviour and illustrate how capacities for compassion helps individuals are able to lead non-harmful lives.

Trauma as Modern Day Bodhisattva Training: Compassionate Practices with Fears, Blocks & Resistances

4.00pm – 5.45pm – Deirdre Fay

Fear can be contagious, especially in times of uncertainty or when we’re physically, emotionally, and psychologically activated. When there’s trauma many lament not having a “training manual” on how to live this life when there’s no path already charted out for us. This is where we can draw upon the integration of attachment theory and the ancient wisdom traditions sculpting out an inner path to deal with external reality. A Bodhisattva is someone who deliberately chooses to transform their suffering into compassion. From this perspective, life/trauma is the training manual for us. Our task is learning to take those raw materials, learn the signals we get from inside ourselves, decipher the signals from the outside, exploring the matrix so we can choose who we want to be and how we want to respond to this very moment we are in.

Talking Points:

  • Attachment theory describes the how relational distress comes from inconsistent attention in getting our needs met
  • Problem for most adults is we’ve gotten so used to pushing away our needs so we can’t identify it anymore – or the need is misidentified. We effectively learn to mute – or warp – our basic longing for connection.
  • When needs aren’t met we’ve developed threat-based protection strategies which can keep out that which we so desperately long for.
  • Differentiate the 5 Layers of the Body: Learning to somatically attune, harness internal experience, and name those experiences can downregulate the old habits of distress.

Closing meditation session

5.45pm – 6.00pm

Saturday 03 December 2022 (Italian Time)

To know the exact time in your country, use this link 

Enter your city in the box on the left and the Italian time in the box on the right to check the exact time in your city!

Becoming a different version of yourself: How to use embodiment practices to work with shame in CFT

9.30am – 11.15am – Marcela Matos, Stan Steindl

Compassion focused therapy (CFT) was developed, in part, to work with the painful, trans-diagnostic experience of shame. Shame itself is characterised by various feelings, thoughts, focus of attention, bodily sensations and motives, which together represent the brain and body pattern of the Shamed Self. In CFT, one way to work with shame is through the experiential process of embodiment. First, the CFT therapist may work gently with the client to embody the Shamed Self, thus cultivating mind awareness, insight and understanding of shame, how it is expressed, and how it may influence their experience of life now. Next, the CFT therapist then works with the client to develop the practice of pattern switching, in other words, shifting from the brain and body pattern of the Shamed Self to the brain and body pattern of the Compassionate Self, and develop that version of the Self to work with the experience of shame and related life difficulties. This presentation will provide a brief background of the theory and research around shame, shame experiences, and shame memories, as well as the careful application of embodiment exercises to explore shame and work with shame via the Compassionate Self.

Setting the compassionate compass: how to cultivate a compassionate motivation in the clinical practice

11.30am – 12.45pm – Kate Lucre, Nicola Petrocchi

In CFT, it is crucial to help patients understand and embody the concept that compassion is a motivation, and not simply a soothing emotional state. In fact, as a recent paper stated, shifting into compassion does not mean swallowing a pill of benzodiazepine. Choosing compassion does not soothe the pain away, but it recruits the soothing system physiology to help us better navigate the suffering that we might face, and to give us the stability and the courage needed to fully open to it, while strengthening our prefrontal cortex in the process. This clarification is important not only from a theoretical perspective, but also in terms of practical instructions and clinical procedures that can definitely be more effective when we (and the client) see compassion not as a fixed state to reach and perpetually reside in, but as a motivational orientation that can and needs to be constantly and deliberately chosen.

In this deeply experiential talk Kate and Nico will show how different compassion focused techniques (for example, Compassion at the mirror, role taking, tonglen) can be used in a real session as a way to access the compassionate orientation and overcome blocks and resistances to compassion.

Overcoming Anxiety with Compassion Focused Therapy

2.00pm – 3.00pm – Dennis Tirch, Laura Silberstein

Anxiety disorders are some of the most prevalent problems in the world, and our pandemic-era reality has intensified these problems, immensely. How can we best meet the challenge of a traumatized global community struggling with the tyranny and complexity of our “always-on, 24/7, better-safe-than-sorry” threat detection system? Compassion Focused Therapy provides us a clear path to overcoming anxiety, and a step-by-step program for learning to live with greater courage and ease. Dr. Dennis Tirch (author of The Compassionate Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety) and Dr. Laura Silberstein Tirch (author of How to Be Nice To Yourself) will guide you through a deeply experiential, informative and user-friendly mini-workshop. Over the course of this training you will learn everything you need to begin integrating CFT for Anxiety into your practice. Techniques such as Compassion Focused Exposure and Response Prevention, Compassion Focused Imagery for Anxiety and Compassionate Flexibility Training will be explored in depth. Role-play exercises, intimate didactic work, and immersive guided meditations will all be a part of this retreat-like mini-workshop. All of these methods can help liberate your clients from anxiety, and they also can help you better deal with the stress of working with human suffering, unlocking your own compassionate resilience. This mini-workshop is suitable for practitioners at all levels of experience, and a prior knowledge of CFT theory and practice is not required. Materials for further practice, such as recordings of meditations, worksheets and downloadable content will all be provided so that this mini-workshop can be more than a short-lived training experience, and can serve as a foundation for your further Compassion Focused practice in dealing with anxiety, worry and fear, for your clients and yourselves. To learn more about the workshop facilitators, please visit

Talking Points:

  • Our evolved compassion motive, with its emotions and competencies, can help us to regulate our threat system and overcome problems with anxiety.
  • Cultivating compassion can take place in a systematic and accessible way, and this can lead to greater courage and psychological flexibility.
  • Exposure and facing our fears need not be just white knuckling our way through distress. Mindfulness and compassion training can empower us as we face the things that scare us, and allow us freedom from anxiety, worry and fear.

Compassion Focused Therapy for Grief

3.15pm – 4.15pm – Darcy Harris

Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) is of specific interest in situations of loss, grief, and bereavement due to the intensity of the work and the need to provide clients with a secure base from which they can begin the process of rebuilding their lives after a significant loss.

Compassion-based approaches are especially useful for loss experiences that have a protracted course, where individuals must live with ongoing loss and grief over a long time, and where there is no foreseeable end. These approaches are also very helpful to address grief that is accompanied by shame, disenfranchisement, and exhaustion.

This session will merge together theory and practice from CFT with current research and theory related to grief therapy, identifying what is foundational in clinical work with grieving individuals and the ways that CFT is uniquely situated to address the needs of the bereaved and the clinicians who support them.

Applying Compassion-Focused Therapy in the Treatment of Problematic Anger

4.30pm – 5.30pm – Russell Kolts

Helping our clients work with anger can be challenging. In this talk, I’ll introduce why I think CFT is a great fit for helping individuals who struggle with problematic anger, and we’ll explore how to understand and approach anger treatment from a CFT perspective. We’ll consider why anger problems are so difficult for people to work with, how to help our clients shift from avoidance to taking responsibility for their angry behaviors, and explore ways to support, model, shape, and train clients in compassionate strengths that will help them in working with their anger. We’ll also introduce ways to utilize the compassionate-self practice in helping our clients work with anger triggers.

Meditative session

5.30pm – 6.00pm

Sunday 04 December 2022 (Italian Time)

To know the exact time in your country, use this link 

Enter your city in the box on the left and the Italian time in the box on the right to check the exact time in your city!

Compassion Focused Therapy and the world of Research. Data from a meta-analysis

9.30am – 10.30am – Nicola Petrocchi, Cristina Ottaviani

Nicola Petrocchi and Cristina Ottaviani will coordinate this last day of work entirely dedicated to the presentation of some of the most advanced scientific research frontiers on the clinical applications of Compassion Focused Therapy.

Research Symposium

10.45am – 12.15pm – Researchers

10.45am – 11.05am – Deanna Varley – The relationship between attachment in adulthood and fears of compassion

11.05am – 11.25am – Laura Santos – Compassion Focused Therapy for the caregivers

11.25am – 11.45am – Ruben Sousa – Changes in the Soothing system’s HRV patterns after the delivery of the PSYCHOPATHY.COMP program in young offenders

11.45am – 12.05pm Maria Di Bello – Compassion in the body. Physiology of prosociality

12.05pm – 12.15pm Q&A 

CFT and LGBTQ+ – Q&A and Conclusions

12.15pm – 1.00pm – Nicola Petrocchi, Roberto Baiocco, Hannah Gilbert

Terms of Participation

The event will be Thursday 01, Friday 02, Saturday 03 and Sunday 04 December 2022, for a total of 18 hours of specialistic training. All recordings will remain available for 12 months.


  • 18 hours of training
  • Unlimited Access for 12 months
  • Certificate of attendance