Compassionate Letter Writing
Compassionate Letter Writing is an exercise taken from the Psychology Tools For Developing Self-Compassion audio collection. There are three ‘flows’ of compassion: having compassion for others, receiving compassion from others, and having compassion for yourself. In this exercise, the listener is encouraged to write a letter from their compassionate self, towards the parts of themself that are struggling.
There are three ‘flows’ of compassion: having compassion for others, receiving compassion from others, and having compassion for yourself. These flows are not all the same, and some people may find one flow easy and yet struggle with others. Practicing each of the flows of compassion can develop and strengthen our compassionate minds, and can helps us to understand more about our fears and blocks to compassion. Doing compassionate mind training exercises has also been shown to measurably reduce distress, shame, and self-criticism, as well as increasing wellbeing and happiness.
Compassionate Letter Writing is an exercise taken from the Psychology Tools For Developing Self-Compassion audio collection. Writing about things that we’re struggling with – whether that be stress, difficult feelings, or events that are causing us pain – can lead to better physical and mental health over time. This exercise requires only a piece of paper, a pen, and somewhere quiet to write. The listener is guided through the process of writing a letter from their compassionate parts to the parts of themselves that are struggling. Though the contents of the compassionate letter may vary, it process broadly works the same way as the other self-compassion exercises in this collection: the listener first notices, engages with, and tries to understand something they are finding difficult, and then, guided by wisdom and caring commitment, they do what they can to relieve whatever difficulties they are experiencing.
The Psychology Tools For Developing Self-Compassion audio collection is for anyone who wants to learn more about the ideas and practices of compassion focused therapy. It has been designed to be versatile, so it is suitable to support work with therapists who have been trained in compassion focused therapy, or to be used as a stand-alone collection of exercises. To assist the integration of the exercises into their clinical work, therapists can download the scripts for each exercise and use them in-session.
Individual tracks from the audio collection can be downloaded as .MP3 files, which can be played in most media player apps.
The simplest way to share an audio track with your clients is by using the Psychology Tools ‘Email a client’ function. After obtaining their consent, you can send it directly from this page by clicking ‘Send securely to my client’. Your client will receive a secure email containing a unique link, and when they click the link, they will be prompted to download the .MP3 file onto their device.
- Gilbert, P. (2014). The origins and nature of compassion focused therapy. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 53(1), 6-41.
- Gilbert, P. (2020). Compassion: From its evolution to a psychotherapy. Frontiers in Psychology, 3123.
- Irons, C., & Beaumont, E. (2017). The compassionate mind workbook: A step-by-step guide to developing your compassionate self. Robinson.
- Irons, C., & Heriot‐Maitland, C. (2021). Compassionate Mind Training: An 8‐week group for the general public. Psychology and psychotherapy: Theory, research and practice, 94(3), 443-463.
- Leboeuf, I., Andreotti, E., Irons, C., Beaumont, E., & Antoine, P. (2022). A randomized controlled study of a French compassionate mind training. Mindfulness, 13(11), 2891-2903.
- Savari, Y., Mohagheghi, H., & Petrocchi, N. (2021). A preliminary investigation on the effectiveness of compassionate mind training for students with major depressive disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Mindfulness, 12(5), 1159-1172.