Exploring self criticism and promoting self compassion

A workshop exploring the many forms of self criticism and how new research could help people quieten its voice is taking place at Plymouth University this autumn.

Hosted by the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences from 12-14 September, the three-day event is entitled Introduction to Theory and Practice of Compassion-focused Therapy for Shame-based Difficulties.

The workshop is designed to help delegates recognise the many forms and functions of shame and self-criticism; exploring these difficulties in the context of coping strategies. 

The event then draws on new research on the different types of positive practice that can help quieten the critical voice a person perceives. 

Open to anyone with a work related or personal interest in mental health and wellbeing, the days will explore the components of self compassion and how endeavouring to achieve it can facilitate and promote wellbeing. 

Mary Welford and Sophie Mayhew, the consultant clinical psychologists speaking at the event, said that on top of discussing how the new research could help, delegates would also be exploring the fears, blocks and resistances to self compassion.

They said: “Shame and self criticism can often accentuate and maintain disorders, as well as complicate and undermine standard therapies. One reason for such difficulties is that people may not have developed abilities to experience feelings of safe reassurance and self soothing. Many may have come from abusive, neglectful or critical backgrounds, and it becomes incredibly difficult to deal with such feelings of shame when that is engrained in your life.

"Compassion focused therapy and compassionate mind training were developed with, and for, people from such backgrounds to address chronic problems associated with shame and self criticism. The new research that has been undertaken by psychologists in this field explores the nature of different types of positive affect – activating versus soothing – and how these can help to facilitate and promote wellbeing.”

Dr Sarah Baldrey, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology at Plymouth University said: 

“Research has shown that compassion focussed therapy can have a profound impact on mental health, happiness and wellbeing. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming Mary and Sophie to help people understand how they can use and develop these skills.”

To book a place at the conference, visit the event page.