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Developing Your Compassionate Other

Developing Your Compassionate Other is an exercise taken from the Psychology Tools For Developing Self-Compassion audio collection. Being connected with your compassionate self encourages a pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting which can have a powerful, positive impact on our wellbeing and how we deal with difficulties. In this exercise, the listener constructs an image of a ‘compassionate other’, who can represent a mentor, guide, or perfect example of a compassionate person.

Audio

Languages available

  • English (GB)
  • English (US)

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Audio track (MP3)

A therapy audio track designed for skills development.

Audio script (PDF)

The script for a therapy audio track. Read along with an exercise, or record in your own voice.

Description

The ‘compassionate self’ is a part of us which can contain any strong emotional reactions in a wise and grounded way, and it can be cultivated and developed with practice. Being connected with your compassionate self encourages a pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting which can have a powerful, positive impact on our wellbeing and how we deal with difficulties. There are a variety of exercises that can be used to develop your compassionate self.

Being with people who we like and feel safe with can also provide a powerful experience of care, love, and support. Research indicates that we don’t actually have to be with somebody to take these benefits – just thinking about somebody that you’re close to can reduce your body’s physiological stress response, as well as reducing your blood pressure to the same level if the person was actually in the room with you. These research findings can be harnessed by deliberately developing images of compassionate figures, and using them to help us to experience feeling cared for and supported. Developing Your Compassionate Other is an exercise taken from the Psychology Tools For Developing Self-Compassion audio collection. This imagery exercise can be called many things – developing a compassionate friend, a compassionate mentor, a compassionate guide, a perfect nurturer, or a compassionate other.

Instructions

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.

References

  • Gilbert, P. (2014). The origins and nature of compassion focused therapy. British Journal of Clinical Psychology53(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 practice94(3), 443-463.
  • Leboeuf, I., Andreotti, E., Irons, C., Beaumont, E., & Antoine, P. (2022). A randomized controlled study of a French compassionate mind training. Mindfulness13(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. Mindfulness12(5), 1159-1172.